FINGER LAKES—Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Coumo and his three daughters stopped in both Montour Falls and Penn Yan, Thursday, Aug. 19, as part of his campaign tour. The stop in Montour Falls lasted 30 minutes, drawing around 100 people. Montour Mayor Donna Kelley spoke first, outside of the Montour House. She said she has looked over Cuomo’s plan and was impressed. Kelley asked Cuomo to “help take our concerns back to Albany.” “Make New York state the Empire State again,” she said, before turning over Cuomo’s introduction to the attorney general’s own daughter, Mariah. When Cuomo spoke at the podium, he said people in Albany are too focused on politics, and not the people. He said that government just doesn’t work this way. Cuomo added it hasn’t always been like this, citing when his father, Mario Cuomo, was governor. “What made the Empire State the Empire State was never the government,” he said. Cuomo explained the focus should be on creating jobs. However, he added knowing what to do is easier than how to do it. He said electing a new governor is only part of the process. Cuomo said people need to organize, and to demand change. After visiting Montour Falls during the day, Josh Vlasto, Cuomo’s press secretary, said the current attorney general also visited Watkins Glen International.
Most supporters were already inside Milly’s Pantry in Penn Yan when the current New York State attorney general arrived while a group protesting hydrofracking carried posters outside the building. One of Cuomo’s three daughters, Michaela, introduced him to the audience. The three girls are on the campaign trail with their dad. One of the candidate’s first comments was directed to Milly Bloomquist. He said, “Thank you for all you have done and for inspiring us to do more. So many people still struggle for the basics.” Bloomquist has been providing food for local residents for more than 50 years. Cuomo launched into his brief comments noting, “This election is probably the most important for the state in modern political history. We have to get it on track or other states will pass us. We’ve got to get the government to work. It doesn’t work for the people. We have lost the trust of the people. When the trust is lost, it’s lost its power. This is not a perception problem, it’s a reality problem.” Cuomo then outlined his five point program, titled “The New NY Agenda.” His plan includes cleaning up Albany, getting our fiscal house in order, rightsizing government, NY works and NY leads. Cuomo continued, “Electing a new governor will not solve everything.” He said change will happen when the people demand the government change. After outlining some of the highlights in New York history, he concluded, “This is just a blip. We built the greatest state in the nation once. We can do it again.” Following his comments, Cuomo spoke individually with all audience members who wished to have a word with him. Several members of the audience shared their comments about the visit following the presentation. Yates County Democratic Committee chairperson Carolyn Schaeffer said, “I was extremely happy with the turnout. The more people who came to meet the candidates the better.” Several local lawmakers attended the program. Penn Yan Village Trustee Richard Stewart said, “I learned some pointers like consolidation. There are 17 taxing groups in Yates County. We can work on it.” Yates County Legislator Patrick Galvin said, “His message is so New York citizen, not Democrat or Republican. New York State has to be fixed. He really impressed me.” One member of the audience, estimated at more than 100 people, Gretchen Parsells, said, “He gives me hope.”
Protesters were on East Elm Street as the contingent prepared to leave Penn Yan. Some called to Cuomo, and while not responding to specific questions, he said, “There are two sides to hydrofracking; economic potential and physical harm. We expect the DEC report at the end of the year. We need a report that lays out facts to make sure drilling is safe.” With that the Cuomos and the candidate’s aides climbed into the campaign vehicle and rolled out of town to continue the goal of visiting all New York counties prior to the election.
According to Toxics Targeting, an environmental database owned by Walter Hang, “Andrew Cuomo supports extraction of Marcellus Shale Gas in New York. He must be greeted by huge crowds at every campaign stop. He must be hounded into supporting withdrawal of the draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (dSGEIS).” Hang has spoken out against fracking, including in Pulteney concerning the now-dropped drilling waste water injection well. Rachel Treichler, attorney and hydrofracking protester at the Penn Yan visit, said that statewide there is a movement against hrydrofracking for natural gas, involving “thousands of people.” “We want Cuomo to take a stand against it,” she said.