Former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has been challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo for years with her criticism of his economic development policies. The New York political sphere has been abuzz with rumors that Miner might jump in to the Democratic gubernatorial primary against Cuomo – even though actress Cynthia Nixon is already challenging the governor from the left. At the “Four Women in a Room” event on April 30, Miner said that she still hadn’t made a decision about running, but was in the midst of the decision-making process. After the event, I spoke to Miner about what the process looks like, her current position as a visiting scholar at New York University and her thoughts on GOP Rep. John Katko, whom she considered challenging.
C&S: You’ve said that you’re in the process of deciding whether to run for governor. What does that process look like?
SM: I’ve been giving a lot of speeches, and getting a lot of phone calls, and talking to people. It’s a process where you have to evaluate what you think your particular skills are, and what you think the issues are and can you bring the kind of passion behind those issues and skills to effectuate change?
C&S: How are you liking it at NYU?
SM: I love it. It’s been a great, great experience. I have had more snow days at NYU than I ever had at Syracuse. But NYU has been delightful, and I really enjoyed the class. The class is on financing urban governments, and I had the whole syllabus done. And then the Trump tax law passed, which impacted everything, which made me have to go back through the syllabus and change it. And (it) also made it so timely that everything that we were talking about in class and in the lessons were ripped from the headlines, to paraphrase “Law and Order.”
C&S: You declined to run against Rep. John Katko. How do you think that race is going?
SM: I think that the Republicans’ agenda in Washington is much more radical than anything President Trump has espoused. They’re doing real damage to our country, short-term and long-term. And John Katko, personally he’s a fine individual, but he is enabling a power structure that is tearing apart our social policy and is not meeting the needs … that we as a country have, that New York state has, from supporting the tax law, to waffling on health care. I think he’s going to be held accountable for the decisions that he’s made.
C&S: Do you have a self-imposed deadline for when you’ll make a decision to run for governor?
SM: I don’t, but obviously there are deadlines. I don’t have a self-imposed one. I think we’re in such a dynamic time that the old rules don’t apply. And in a lot of ways that feels very heartening to me, that the old rules don’t apply, and I think people are really hungry for a democracy and a system that represents them. And for a long time we’ve had just the status quo getting empowered and getting rewarded. What we’ve seen happening in Washington has inspired people to say, “I have a voice in this democracy and I want to be represented. I’m no longer going to sit on the sidelines.”
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