ALBANY – Cynthia Nixon brings her campaign for governor to Buffalo Wednesday in search of left-leaning voters who can give her a boost in the uphill battle to unseat Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
Nixon, an activist and actress, will host a morning economic roundtable with grassroots and community leaders at the Augustin “Pucho” Olivencia Community Center in Buffalo.
Since launching her campaign in March, Nixon has slammed Cuomo’s economic development policies, saying they have been too focused on expensive, corporate-welfare style benefits. In her first interview with a daily publication last month with The Buffalo News, Nixon also focused criticism on the way in which the Buffalo Billion program was awarded.
One of the key contracts – the solar plant project at RiverBend – will be front and center in a pay-to-play corruption trial that starts in a federal courtroom in Manhattan in June. Six people are on trial in that case, including three former top executives with Buffalo’s LPCiminelli.
“It’s time for a smarter approach to economic development," Nixon said in a written statement on Tuesday.
“Instead of massive corporate giveaways and unnecessary tax breaks – with no strings attached or accountability for creating the jobs promised – we should be ensuring any and all economic development dollars are tied to a concrete plan with concrete deliverables, including investing in Buffalo’s people, real jobs and infrastructure," she added.
Nixon, who announced her gubernatorial bid five weeks ago, is making her first trip to Buffalo as a candidate. She recently secured the backing of the leadership of the small but influential Working Families Party; Cuomo has a wide lead over Nixon in recent polls, though she has been closing the distance among registered Democrats who she and Cuomo are battling over in advance of this fall’s party primary for governor.
Nixon supporters – and a good many Democrats when speaking privately – say Nixon’s presence has had an impact on Cuomo, as well as state policies pushed by the governor. Since her campaign started, Cuomo has announced a series of new initiatives aimed, especially, to soothe liberal voters in a blue state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by two-to-one.
That Nixon will bring to Buffalo a message to change the state’s economic development policies is noteworthy. Cuomo for years has held out state money he has directed at Buffalo redevelopment efforts as a success story.
“We also need to adopt a bottom-up approach that includes the community in the decision-making process, to make sure economic development projects are meeting local needs and serving local populations," Nixon said Tuesday.