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Andrew Cuomo – Democrat

Candidate has returned a questionnaire

Age: 60
Occupation: Governor of New York
Education: Fordham University, B.A.; Albany Law School, J.D.
Lieutenant Governor: Kathy Hochul

Andrew Cuomo has served as governor of New York State for two terms and, prior to that, was the state Attorney General for one term. Before seeking elected office, he was the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for four years in the Clinton administration. As governor, he championed the passage of the Marriage Equality Act, enacted stronger gun control laws, established paid family leave, and raised the state minimum wage to among the highest in the country. Recently, he championed free college tuition for qualified applicants and signed an executive order enfranchising people on parole through conditional pardons. He also worked closely with Citizens Union to enact legislative redistricting reform.

On the other hand, Citizens Union has criticized Cuomo over prematurely closing the Moreland Commission in the midst of its investigation of public corruption, not doing enough to advance ethics reform, and permitting a lack of transparency around billions of dollars in each year’s state budget.

However, in his interview with Citizens Union, Cuomo committed to supporting a “database of deals,” which would list all taxpayer subsidies to corporations, and track the state’s return on investment. He also committed to support changing the state law that shields police disciplinary records from the public and said that he would push voting reform in his third term. While acknowledging concerns, Citizens Union endorses Andrew Cuomo in this race because of his extensive experience in New York State government, his administration’s many accomplishments, and with the expectation that he will honor his commitment to advance these reforms.


Howie Hawkins – Green

Candidate has returned a questionnaire
Age: 65
Occupation: Retired UPS Worker
Education: Dartmouth College
Lieutenant Governor: Jia Lee

Howie Hawkins is a politician and activist who has run for various offices in New York, including, most recently, for Governor in 2014, where he earned almost five percent of the statewide vote. His priorities are to move New York State to 100 percent clean energy by 2030, ensure that there is adequate housing throughout the state, and improve access to quality education by ending high-stakes testing and creating tuition-free public colleges. He would also push for the passage of the New York Health Act, which would establish a universal single payer health plan. In an interview with Citizens Union, Hawkins emphasized the importance of CU’s election reform issues like consolidating state and federal primary days, and establishing Election Day voter registration. He also supports restructuring both the BOE and JCOPE to be nonpartisan, and giving them more resources. In the area of ethics, he supports limiting legislators’ outside compensation and enacting campaign finance reform. Hawkins deviates from Citizens Union’s agenda in his opposition to reforming the state special election process to be nonpartisan, and making mayoral control of New York City schools permanent. Citizens Union believes Howie Hawkins is very knowledgeable of and has good ideas for improving state government, and commends him on his years of civic advocacy in New York.


Stephanie Miner – Serve America Movement

Candidate has returned a questionnaire
Age: 48
Occupation: Former Mayor of Syracuse
Education: Syracuse University, B.A.; SUNY Buffalo, J.D.
Lieutenant Governor: Michael Volpe

Stephanie Miner is an attorney and the former Mayor of Syracuse, having served from 2010 to 2018 before reaching her term limit. Her priorities are to institute nonpartisan redistricting of political boundaries, reform the electoral process to improve access to the polls, eliminate economic development programs and invest resources in traditional infrastructure, and establish truly independent ethics oversight of state government. Miner also believes that the state should take over all Medicaid costs from counties and will seek to do that over five years. Miner supports all of Citizens Union’s questionnaire items and emphasized the importance of voting reform because she views voter turnout and civic engagement as essential anti-corruption tools. In addition to exploring ethics reform, Miner would empower the attorney general to investigate public corruption. Stephanie Miner has extensive government experience and deep knowledge on a broad range of issues. While endorsing her opponent, Citizens Union was taken by Miner’s interest in finding novel solutions to problems in government and willingness to work across the aisle, and believes she has much to offer the state.


Marc Molinaro – Republican

Candidate has returned a questionnaire
Age: 42
Occupation: Dutchess County Executive
Education: Dutchess Community College, A.A.
Lieutenant Governor: Julie Killian

Marc Molinaro is the Dutchess County Executive, having served previously in the state Assembly and as Mayor of Tivoli. His priorities include reducing taxes to stimulate job growth, combating public corruption through statutory changes and a Moreland Commission, and advocating for those with special needs. He is also focused on revitalizing the Metropolitan Transit Authority by modernizing the subway system, expanding bus services, and protecting MTA revenue sources. In an interview with Citizens Union, Molinaro emphasized the importance of preventing corruption in the legislative and executive branches and, when asked, said he would support empowering the Attorney General to investigate such corruption. He has also proposed legislation to enhance oversight of government procurement and economic development projects, and expand open government mechanisms like FOIL. Molinaro supports most of Citizens Union’s questionnaire items, but opposes reforming the state’s partisan special election process and restructuring the state Board of Elections to abolish the strict two-party division of governance. Molinaro also opposes automatically re-enfranchising people on parole and automatic voter registration. Citizens Union was impressed by Marc Molinaro’s conviction and his interest in collaborating with a broad range of stakeholders, but does not support him in this race due to his opposition to a number of key reforms.


Larry Sharpe – Libertarian

Candidate has returned a questionnaire
Age: 50
Occupation: Business Consultant/Owner, Neo-Sage Group
Education: University of Maryland, B.A.
Lieutenant Governor: Andrew Hollister

Larry Sharpe is a business consultant and entrepreneur who narrowly lost the bid to become the Libertarian vice presidential candidate in 2016. His priorities are to encourage settlement in New York State by reducing taxes, repeal the New York SAFE Act, which regulates firearms, enhance municipal home rule, and reform the family court system. Sharpe also discusses finding revenue sources for infrastructure projects, including MTA improvement, in novel ways like selling the naming rights of bridges and tunnels. In an interview with Citizens Union, Sharpe stated the importance of transparency in government spending and procurement, and reforming the way economic development grants are awarded. Sharpe supports most of Citizens Union’s questionnaire items, but said that voting reform was not a priority of his. He also opposes enacting a salary raise for state legislators and limiting their outside compensation, as well as the public financing of state campaigns. Citizens Union does not support Larry Sharpe in this race because his positions on several reform issues did not appear to be clearly defined, or were at odds with Citizens Union’s.

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