ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – After three days and six stops, Governor Andrew Cuomo has officially finished giving his State of the State Address.
The year, the democratic governor ditched the tradition of delivering a single address, instead making multiple stops around the state to discuss issues local to each stop.
The governor started Wednesday in Syracuse, speaking to that region around 11 a.m., and then made his way to the UAlbany campus at 2 p.m.
So far, the governor has laid out proposals to modernize state voting laws to incorporate early voting and same day registration. He has also proposed raising the age to stop prosecuting 15 and 16-year-olds as adults. In an effort to help out the middle class, Cuomo says he wants to offer free SUNY tuition to families earning less than $125,000 a year. Cuomo has also proposed setting aside $2 billion to upgrade aging infrastructure and protect drinking water. On Monday, Cuomo came out in favor of expanding ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft state-wide.
The theme from Governor Cuomo’s Wednesday speech is “Upstate Matters.”
“At the end of the day, upstate [or] downstate, we’re one state,” Gov. Cuomo said.
It was a full house in the main theater on UAlbany’s campus, but not many lawmakers were in attendance. Newcomer to the assembly Mary Beth Walsh is one of the few who did decide to come.
“I struggled a little bit with whether I was going to come, but I’m glad I did,” Walsh said.
She says she thinks lawmakers can find common ground with the governor on several things including bringing ride sharing to the rest of the state, along with the announcement of a 750-mile Empire State trail and more money for state infrastructure. However, Walsh still has questions.
“The devil is in the details, a lot of these ideas sound good but it’s always, how is it going to get paid for?” Walsh said.
On a local level, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy says he’s excited about the trail that will come through the county, but he does wish Cuomo had rolled out these plans directly to lawmakers like in years past.
“They should have showed the respect and done it there first and then gone out to the state,” McCoy said.
Barbara Bartoletti with the League of Women Voters was happy to hear about Cuomo’s 10-point ethics reform proposal but says things like term limits and limiting outside income are non-staters.
“That is actually a dead on arrival in the legislature,” Bartoletti said. She says now is the time to get the ball rolling on big ticket items like ethics reform.
“Next week, we see a budget coming out,” Bartoletti said. “These two government entities need to really work together this year.”
Cuomo vowed to a standing cheering crowd that he plans to continue moving upward.
“In New York, we say it in one word, and that is excelsior,” Cuomo said.