We haven’t done a lot of political coverage around here lately, but we’re changing that going forward, and we’re coming out swinging: Autostraddle would like to endorse Cynthia Nixon for Governor of New York State; I would personally like to never evacuate a smoking subway car again, nor would I like to watch a pissing contest over a deer that takes precedence over actual governance. It would not have been hard for me as an individual to endorse any Democrat that isn’t Andrew Cuomo (the unjust funding of public schools is, for me, enough; I’m an educator), but luckily for all of us Cynthia Nixon, a very qualified queer, has stepped in with a platform that is truly endorsement-worthy. Here’s a short list of my favorite parts.
Actually Funding Public Schools
Nixon went to public school and so do her children. I feel very strongly about public schools all over this country; I took advantage of public education right up through my undergraduate degree, and I believe everyone all over the country, regardless of economic status, should have EVEN BETTER than what I got (and I benefitted from an excellent education). Here’s an excerpt from her website on the topic of funding public schools:
That year, Cynthia joined thousands of parents in successfully organizing to stop almost $400 million in cuts to New York City schools. The following year, Cynthia joined with parents across the State to win a long-term solution for the enormous under-funding of low-income school districts, the large majority of which serve communities of color.
In 2007, that solution came in the form of Foundation Aid, a state funding formula that increased funding for primarily high-need, low-income school districts. However, that additional aid came to a screeching halt under Governor Cuomo. In his first year in office, he refused to continue payment on the new funding formula and instead enacted a $1.3 billion cut to schools. The education cuts went to fund an enormous tax cut to the wealthy and corporations.
Making Pot Legal For Everyone, Instead of Just for White People
A lot of you have been asking about my position on marijuana. Here it is. pic.twitter.com/iEKLHgClFN
— Cynthia Nixon (@CynthiaNixon) April 11, 2018
Our drug policies are an excuse for slavery, and it has to end; this is at least a step in that direction. Also, I really would like some of that sweet, sweet pot tax to help fund our public schools, see above. Colorado is still working out the kinks on that one, and we have the opportunity to build on their knowledge.
Fixing the Subway that is Disintegrating Before Our Very Metro Cards
We pay $2.75 per ride (or $3 for a single ride ticket should you not already have a metro card) for a service that largely doesn’t work! Last summer was dubbed The Summer of Hell with regards to all train transportation in this city. The idea seems to be to charge riders more and more for things that don’t function in the hopes that our money will mean the MTA can make the trains function. This seems… ludicrous, actually. We need governmental intervention on this one. From Nixon’s website on fixing the MTA:
With eight million rides a day, subways and buses are the lifeblood of New York City. Instead of meeting growing need, subway performance has declined, with delays almost quadrupling — from 20,000 per month in May 2012 to 76,000 in January 2018. On-time performance hovers at a failing 60%, much lower than any other transit system in the world. Trains now move slower than they did in 1950.
The Governor of New York is in charge of the subways. And for eight years, straphangers have been neglected and ignored by the current administration. The way he’s handled this issue for his first two terms should completely disqualify him from a third.
We don’t have any choice but to fix our subways. The Governor has kicked this can down the road for eight years because it doesn’t affect him or his wealthy donors. New Yorkers deserve better than to be stuck in a perpetual signal delay. We need to start moving forward.
Please do see her website for a pretty detailed look at how she plans to fund the subway fix, which includes taxing private vehicles entering Manhattan during high traffic times and actually taxing rich people. It’s also worth noting that, while Nixon makes more money yearly than Cuomo and you would expect Cuomo to, therefore, be more in touch with the plight of the every day New Yorker, Cuomo seems to not understand that many people need to ride the subways; he won’t even get on the metro for a photo op.
Single-Payer Health Care
With the current federal administration’s repeated efforts to degrade healthcare at a national level, we need to focus on creating bastions in the form of state-level single payer healthcare. Nixon’s website features a study that says single payer, while funding it is a bit nebulous for now, will reduce the overall healthcare spending in New York State by 15%. It also brings up the IDC — a cabal of Democrats that caucus with Republicans and was recently “disbanded” in a deal brokered by Cuomo that Nixon pressured him for. The IDC is and has been a huge problem that people don’t talk about near enough. We have some local candidates who are challenging IDC incumbents; having a Gubernatorial candidate who understands that the Cuomo deal doesn’t make them less problematic seems really important, especially when it comes to single-payer. From her website:
Over one million New Yorkers are currently uninsured and millions more are under-insured. That’s why I endorse the New York Health Act. The New York Health Act would create a single-payer, ‘Medicare For All’ system. It has passed the New York State Assembly four years in a row, but every time it’s been blocked by the Republican State Senate which is bolstered by rogue Trump Democrats known as the IDC.
Every single New Yorker can have good health care, with no copays and no deductibles. But first we have to start sending Democrats to Albany who stand with people, not corporations.
With the country staring down a possible Kavanaugh nomination, we need to shore up Roe v. Wade in individual states. Thus far, Cuomo has not done that. Nixon favors taking abortion out of New York’s Criminal Code, codifying Roe v. Wade in our state law so that, regardless of what happens at a national level, New Yorkers of all genders can access abortion. She also has an eye to rural health care, which honestly not many folks talk about—her current plan is to expand what sorts of clinicians can perform abortions, so folks in rural areas have the same sort of access we have in New York City. She also wants to require employers to cover contraception in the State; contraception reduces the need for abortions overall. She also covers, and this is amazing, sex education, which is very important to me. From her website:
We must ensure all students receive comprehensive sexuality education, including LGBTQIA-inclusive information. We must ensure that teachers are assigned specifically to teach health—and that they provide medically accurate information and the skills needed to avoid STIs and unwanted pregnancy.
And lastly, she’s all set to figure out why people of color are more likely to die during childbirth. Once again, from Nixon’s website:
Women of color are four times more likely to die because of pregnancy or childbirth than white women. Low-income women face even higher rates of maternal mortality — 67 percent of maternal deaths from 2012 to 2013 were women with Medicaid insurance. We must strengthen health insurance for all New Yorkers by expanding Medicaid, prenatal education and social support. We must pass legislation to create a Maternal Mortality Review Board to collectively assess this dangerous disparity in maternal mortality and review each death to help inform methods for practitioners to reduce the number of women dying in pregnancy. Most important, we must develop quality-improvement toolkits and metrics to enact the recommendations of the review board.
A Few Other Things That Aren’t In Her Platform, But Are Really Important
— Nadya (@NadyaStevens) August 15, 2018
Nixon is a queer woman with a trans kid. She sits on the ground and listens to Black women. Those things matter. And those things matter ESPECIALLY when a candidate is coming from a background that does not feature politics as its central pillar. Listening to (and being a part of) marginalized communities matters in an era where even the glowing progressive candidate has often thrown folks from marginalized communities, including anyone who has ever been in possession of a uterus, under the bus. The ability to integrate what Nixon hears into her platform, even when it doesn’t or doesn’t have to directly affect her, is honestly the primary reason I am not concerned about her lack of experience in politics.
Concerns You Might Have, And Why We Think She’s Great Anyhow
We’ve covered Cynthia Nixon before, and not every single moment of her debate was a shining moment for her. For example, Nixon released five years of tax returns while Cuomo released 20. Those tax returns demonstrate that she has taken tax deductions to reduce the amount she has to pay (but who doesn’t), that she funded New York City’s Mayor DeBlasio’s campaign and that her wife worked for the Department of Education in a job that DeBlasio gave her. She resigned when it became clear that Nixon would be running for governor. It’s important to note that Nixon’s wife, Christine Marinoni, was successful in the sphere of education advocacy for quite a while beforehand and was, likely and simply, a good person for that job. Having watched the weird feud between Cuomo and DeBlasio play out (we all remember the deer), I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing that there be a positive relationship between the Governor of New York State and the Mayor if its largest city, as long as we are all aware of her past campaign donations.
And for those who are “sick of actors getting into politics,” I do have this question to pose: are people not allowed to change careers, or is it only the women who shouldn’t do it? Does being an artist mean that you are inherently unqualified to perform intellectual tasks or take on leadership roles? Why would it be bad that I was rooting for a Gubernatorial candidate to win the Tony for The Little Foxes a couple years back? Reader, Nixon did win that Tony; The Little Foxes was spectacular and so is this platform. Please vote in New York State’s Democratic primary this Thursday, September 13th if you are registered as a Democrat. And if you vote in that primary, well. We like Cynthia Nixon for the job and we think you will too.
Disclaimer: my family is acquainted with Zellnor Myrie, whose campaign website I have linked to in this article. My personal knowledge of the candidate has made me aware of the candidate, but I would be excited about his campaign regardless.