Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s tenure in Albany was marked by spates of productivity and chronic tension with the New York state Legislature.
According to many lawmakers, the former governor frequently used heavy-handed tactics to get his way in negotiations, including threats and bullying.
So Gov. Kathy Hochul’s first State of the State address on Wednesday appeared to strike at least one lawmaker as a breath of fresh air when compared with the annual stemwinders packed with executive branch achievements that her predecessor was known for.
“The fact that she, being the chief executive officer of this state, spent so much time repeating the word ‘collaboration’ during her speech; the fact that she gave a nod to her legislative colleagues, indicates to me that we are definitely on a different track,” state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins told Capital Tonight.
But Hochul’s address was not completely embraced by legislative Democrats. One example? The governor’s child care proposal was described by Sen. Jabari Brisport as “dramatically inadequate." Brisport has done a lot of work on the issue, including holding multiple hearings around the state and writing a report that calls for universal child care.
But Stewart-Cousins underscored the importance of the negotiating process.
“Everything she laid out we get. We want universal child care. It’s always a matter of the money,” she said. “How we get there is a matter of negotiation; but the fact that we all want to get there is a good place to start.”
When asked if she would endorse Hochul in her run for governor, Stewart-Cousins said it wasn’t yet time for politics.
“I don’t see a reason not to, but as I said, we are beginning our governing partnership now,” Stewart-Cousins said. “I think there’s time for the politics part of it, but we’re doing the governing part and we certainly have a lot to do.”