In her New York State primary battle against Governor Andrew Cuomo, Zephyr Teachout labels herself a "traditional Democrat", writes Tom Wrobleski of The Staten Island Advance.
Teachout is a constitutional and property law professor at Fordham Law School, who addressed the Staten Island Democratic Association on Tuesday night. Her platform is education and infrastructure improvements and an interest in high-tech and small business initiatives.
Teachout said that she is against the Common Core curriculum, stating that it is anti-democratic and that teachers and parents need to be involved with deciding on learning standards. She touts affordable, high quality education, and on Hurricane Sandy recovery, she wants more resilient systems.
"Our systems are so fragile right now," said Ms. Teachout, who was born in Seattle and raised in Vermont, where she was a teacher's aide working with special education students.
Teachout says that she has received more individual contributions than the incumbent. However, Cuomo boasts $35 million in his election coffers. Teachout retorted, according to Joseph Spector writing for The Hudson Valley Journal News:
"He has support from corporations and wealthy donors, but his filing suggests he has a pretty weak showing with people," Teachout told Gannett's Albany Bureau.
Eager to be on the docket, Teachout filed three times as many petition signatures as were needed. She also called out Cuomo for saying that he would have a Women's Equality Line at the voting precincts. She states that she would have done more than Cuomo has done to get the 10-Point Women's Equality Agenda passed in the Senate. Republicans resisted a piece that would have strengthened abortion rights.
"This is using sort of after-the-fact political machinations to try to show some kind of symbolic support when he could have shown real support at a time that really mattered," Teachout said.
Cuomo , since taking office in 2011, has legalized same-sex marriage, passed a very tough gun-control law, and has increased minimum wage in the state of New York, says Jon Campbell writing for Democrat and Chronicle.
He has also attempted to decrease bank and corporation taxes, has begun tax-free zones for some businesses, but has failed to change state campaign-finance laws. Teachout hopes she will be able to use all of this to boost her chances.
It doesn't help Teachout's campaign that a recent poll found Cuomo is well-liked by New Yorkers, especially by his own party supporters. Teachout is undaunted.
"Look, if this race was about just money and name recognition and nothing more, then it's a difficult race," Teachout said last week. "But if the race ends up being about what New Yorkers and New York Democrats actually envision for the future they want for the state, there's an extraordinary opening here."
Teachout is also for a higher minimum wage and public funding for schools. She is not the only candidate challenging Gov. Cuomo.
In order to force a primary, comedian Randy Credico, chess expert Sam Sloan, and virtual unknown Racquel McPherson have submitted petitions. Howie Hawkins from Syracuse is running on the Green Party line.
The primary will be held September 9, with the general election to follow November 4.