Cynthia Nixon responds to talk of NY governor run, blasts Andrew Cuomo

ALBANY -- Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon on Tuesday acknowledged she is being encouraged to run for New York governor next year and blasted Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his record on education funding.

Nixon, who has been active in New York politics in recent years, said on the "Today" show, "There are a lot of people who would like me to run. And I think for a variety of reasons, but I think the number one is education."

Nixon has been vocal in pushing for more equality in how New York spends more than $26 billion a year on its public schools, and she didn't reject a possible run for governor when asked on the show.

She said the state's education funding is something "parents all across New York state talk to me about."
Nixon, 51, who lives in Manhattan, has been floated in recent days as a possible Democratic primary challenger to Cuomo next year when he plans to seek a third term.

Other potential Democratic challengers include Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and former Hudson Valley state Sen. Terry Gipson.

But Nixon's star power and potential to rally the New York City liberal base against Cuomo has drawn particular intrigue, and Nixon used the national platform on the "Today" show to criticize Cuomo's record on education.

"Governor Cuomo likes to say that, ‘We spend more per pupil than any other state,’ and that is actually true, but the only reason that is true is because we spend so much on the kids in our wealthiest districts," Nixon said.
She has supported the contention by labor-backed education groups that the wealth gap between rich and poor schools in about $10,000 a year. The problem is due in part to property taxes: Wealthy districts have more tax dollars to use for schools than poorer districts.

But Nixon charged that Cuomo hasn't done enough to address the issue.

"That gap now between our richest schools and our poorest schools are wider under Governor Cuomo than it has ever been before, and that’s got to stop," Nixon continued.

Under Cuomo, the state has increased education aid by $6.1 billion or 31 percent since 2011, his state budget in January said. The $26 billion in state aid to schools in the most in New York history.

While Cuomo has argued that the school funding formula has been increasingly focused toward poor schools, education groups said more needs to be done -- and at least one group is encouraging Nixon to run.

"Cynthia Nixon would really excite people who care about public schools and people who think we need progressive leadership in New York state," said Billy Easton, executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education, a labor-backed group.

"New York is way behind the rest of the country when it comes to inequity between rich and poor in our public schools, and Cynthia is making that an issue that needs to be addressed."

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