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Zephyr Teachout challenges Cuomo

Zephyr Teachout
Contributed photo

By Fritz Mayer
July 2, 2014

ALBANY, NY — With a large campaign war chest and good poll numbers, it seems that Gov. Andrew Cuomo would be a tough candidate to beat in his effort to become the Democratic candidate for Governor of New York for the second time. But a law professor named Zephyr Teachout is going to try.

Two weeks ago, Teachout announced that she would be running against Cuomo, with her running mate Tim Wu, who will vie for the lieutenant governor slot. In order to do that, they will have to collect 15,000 valid signatures from registered Democrats by July 10.

Teachout has attacked Cuomo as being too closely associated with the wealthy and powerful at the expense of everyone else. An entry on her website says, “Big money interests today have even more power than they did when Andrew Cuomo took office. We have a campaign finance system that hands the wealthy few immense sway over our state government. The result is a government that responds to the one percent, not to the rest of us. That’s why our public schools get starved, while the rich get tax breaks.”

She also has a strong stand on protecting the environment, and says the state should “ban fracking, clear and simple.” Teachout further writes, “An intricate system of public subsidies keeps dirty sources of energy artificially cheap, which means that companies and individuals will keep relying on them. We must revamp these incentives to promote renewable sources: solar, wind and hydro. California, for example, has changed its policies so that it is now cheaper to buy solar energy in the state than it is to buy coal.”

On the adoption of medical marijuana, Teachout found another reason to attack the governor, saying “Yesterday Gov. Cuomo agreed to a watered-down version of the Compassionate Care Act after years of fighting more robust reform. The result is a confusing patchwork of punitive marijuana laws. Our state is the worst for marijuana arrests in the nation and overwhelmingly punishes working-class New Yorkers of color. Although the deal is a step forward, it’s unconscionable that Gov. Cuomo continues to play politics with an issue that could bring immediate relief to sick and vulnerable New Yorkers.”

Teachout’s campaigning has generated a lot of press coverage and caught the attention of the Town of Callicoon Democratic Party, which has endorsed her and Wu. The committee wrote, “We believe Ms. Teachout and Mr. Wu will fight for middle class New Yorkers who are being squeezed by a broken system that favors Wall Street over Main Street.