Nixon, Teachout knock on Kingston doors

Zephyr Teachout and Cynthia Nixon. (Photos by Phyllis McCabe)

Just days before the Sept. 13 Democratic Party primary, Cynthia Nixon and Zephyr Teachout were in the area, going door-to-door in Kingston last Sunday to tout their bids for the Democratic nomination for governor and attorney general respectively.

Both spoke before a crowd of about three dozen on a tolerably warm summer afternoon at Citizen Action’s Grand Street headquarters.

“The Mid-Hudson valley has real progressive spirit,” Nixon said. “We are going to hit a thousand doors today and that’s how we’re going to win. … We can have a New York that works for all of us.”

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Nixon is running a progressive campaign challenging incumbent Andrew Cuomo. If elected, she promised the Empire State would surpass California in its progressive programs and its challenging of President Trump and congressional Republicans. “We need to make New York the capital of the resistance,” she said, to cheers. She also said she would end the cash bail system, and legalize marijuana for general use. “First and foremost, it’s a racial justice issue,” she said. Nixon, an actor best known for her role as Miranda on the popular pay-cable sitcom “Sex in the City,” also pledged to strengthen rent regulations across the state, not only in New York City. “We need to stop the spread of gentrification across New York State.”

Sunday marked Nixon’s third visit to Kingston. “I think [Kingston] is a city that’s been very hard hit by gentrification, where people are really being pushed out of their homes for the need for regulation and greater accountability by landlords,” Nixon said, noting that the Kingston City School District is a plaintiff in a lawsuit to force the state to more equitably fund small-city school districts. “It’s a very activist community too — our campaign has put down some real roots here.”

Teachout, a Dutchess County resident, author and law professor who failed in a bid for Congress two years ago, said the premise of her campaign is simple: “The wrong people are in jail.” She pledged, if elected, to focus on white-collar criminals both in the public and private sector, advocate for the abolition of ICE and work to improve things for minorities in the criminal justice system. “I will not forget the horrors of mass incarceration I saw” as a death-penalty lawyer earlier in her career, Teachout said.

Endorsed by The New York Times, the New York Daily News and The Nation, she also stressed that she’s not taking any donations from corporate or real-estate interests. Teachout faces a crowded field on Sept. 13 with some big names: Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, New York City Public Advocate Tish James and Leecia R. Eve will also be on the ballot.

Teachout and rising progressive star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City, who made national waves by upsetting Democratic incumbent and House potentate Joe Crowley in June’s congressional primary, are set to appear at a rally this Friday at noon at SUNY New Paltz’s Multipurpose Room.

There is one comment

  1. Susan

    This is one reason, I would not vote for Nixon. “I think [Kingston] is a city that’s been very hard hit by gentrification, where people are really being pushed out of their homes for the need for regulation and greater accountability by landlords,” Nixon said, noting that the Kingston City School District is a plaintiff in a lawsuit to force the state to more equitably fund small-city school districts.

    In my opinion, this statement is a mischaracterization of the gentrification problem. School taxes are paid by property owners and if the local school taxes keep going up which they always seem to do, property owners need to raise rents to help pay for them. On top that, many new homeowners are renovating buildings that have had little or no work done on them for more than 30 years. This is costly. Building repairs and maintenance is not cheap either, and then of course, there are the inspection fees that the City of Kingston now charges the owners of two-family dwellings. While Kingston is being slowly gentrified, it pales in comparison to New York City, particularly Brooklyn where real estate developers gobble up the waterfront properties to build luxury apartment buildings for the well-heeled foreign investors. The real issue for upstate New York is the lack of jobs that pay a healthy wage.

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