When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo first came into office seven years ago he was viewed as a moderate who ever since has inched further left.
He’s raised the minimum wage and expanded a version of free college tuition for middle-class families. But recent policy moves, including uniting Senate Democrats and a proposed plastic bag ban, are seen by some as a fending off of his progressive challenger.
The governor’s been criticized for lurching further left and moving in on progressive issues that have been taken up by Cynthia Nixon, who announced her candidacy in March.
Here’s a look at some of the issues they’ve sparred over in recent weeks.
March 29, Nixon
Nixon tweeted out a video about the Independent Democratic Conference, a group of senators who broke with mainline Democrats in 2011 and formed a power-sharing agreement with Republicans in 2012 to give the GOP control of the Senate.
Watch Edie Falco (!) explain how the fake Democrats in the IDC are preventing NY from being a real blue state. This September, we can defeat every single one of them â and the Governor who enabled them. h/t @thecreateresist pic.twitter.com/7OHsRsQoQl— Cynthia Nixon (@CynthiaNixon) March 29, 2018
April 4, Cuomo
Cuomo and legislators announced the dissolution of the IDC at a news conference at his Manhattan gubernatorial office.
“What we’re saying here today is, we have a common enemy, and the common enemy is defeating Trumpâ¦and their agenda,” Cuomo said. “So, we call for Democratic unity for the greater good.”
April 4, Nixon:
In the candidate’s first national television interview on “The Wendy Williams Show,” Nixon called black women the “backbone” of the Democratic party and said that “we need to let them lead.”
April 23, Cuomo:
Cuomo announced initiatives to address high maternity-mortality rates among African-American women.
April 11, Nixon:
Nixon has strongly supported legalizing marijuana, calling it a social justice issue and a “key front in the racist war on drugs.”
“There are a lot of good reasons for legalizing marijuana. But for me it comes down to this: We have to stop putting people of color in jail for something that white people do with impunity,” Nixon said. “If there was more political courage coming out of Albany, we would have done this already.”
April 20, Cuomo:
A Cuomo spokesman said the Governor would support Sen. Chuck Schumer’s federal bill to decriminalize marijuana for recreational use. Cuomo has previously opposed legalizing marijuana and in February 2017 called it a “gateway drug.”
April 21, Nixon:
Nixon said Cuomo has not done enough to increase the state’s use of renewable energy as
“At a time when Donald Trump has pulled out of the Paris accords, we can lead not only for our own state, but we can show the nation how to lead in renewable energy,” Nixon said.
April 21, Cuomo:
As Nixon and about 1,000 environmental activists arrived at the Capitol, Cuomo announced a proposal to ban plastic shopping bags throughout the state. A spokeswoman also pointed to the governor’s strong environmental record, which includes banning hydraulic fracturing for natural gas and moving to shutter the Indian Point nuclear plant.
“The blight of plastic bags takes a devastating toll on our streets, our water and our natural resources, and we need to take action to protect our environment,” Cuomo said in a statement.
Cuomo aides said the proposal had been in the works for months, well ahead of Nixon’s entry into the governor’s race. But some noted that in 2017 Cuomo killed a proposal that would impose a 5-cent fee on plastic bags in New York City.
Single-use plastic bags are trash that pollute our land and water.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) April 24, 2018
Itâs time to ban them statewide. pic.twitter.com/C8aKm7lXUm
April 26, Nixon:
Nixon called on Cuomo to end the use of tests in job evaluations. She said using standardized test scores to judge teacher performance has led to more standardized testing, which has prompted many parents statewide to opt their children out of state tests.
“A few years ago Andrew Cuomo described teacher evaluation based on high stakes testing as one of his greatest legacies,” Nixon tweeted. “Now he’s hoping that parents and teachers have forgotten all about it. Enough of the delays and excuses: it’s time to repeal the [Annual Professional Performance Review] now.”
A few years ago Andrew Cuomo described teacher evaluation based on high stakes testing as one of his greatest legacies. Now heâs hoping that parents and teachers have forgotten all about it. Enough of the delays and excuses: itâs time to repeal the APPR now.— Cynthia Nixon (@CynthiaNixon) April 26, 2018
April 26, Cuomo:
Legislation to end the use of state test scores in job evaluations for teachers and principals was introduced hours after Nixon’s call to end the practice.
“We have been working the legislature and education community for months to address this issue and would like to reach a resolution this session,” said Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi.
Cuomo has sought to make evaluations for teachers and principals more rigorous, including the use of student performance.
In 2015, the state, with a strong push from Cuomo, changed its requirements for evaluations, placing a greater emphasis on student test scores.