An Open Letter to the Working Families Party Leadership

Dear Dan Cantor and other members of the Party Leadership;

I am happy to see the party taking a stand against the Governor and finally seriously consider not giving him our endorsement. For too long this conservative in liberal’s clothing has been able to count on the support of well intended progressives afraid of handing over the reigns of our great state’s executive branch to a Republican. He has sat back smug and content in his certainty that he would be picked as the lesser of two evils. Over and again we have watched him drag his feet on promises and in some cases utterly betray us. Our state government, already embarrassingly corrupt has become only more brazen in its disdain for working class men and women since he came to office. That is why I hope you do more than just consider withholding our endorsement, but deny it altogether.

This is a man who promised us greater equity in our schools. We were told that the gap would be closed and the funding that had been drained from our schools, especially in our poorer districts, would be returned. We have yet to see that happen. Instead of putting money back into our schools he backs tax cuts for investment bankers and large estates. These are not the values of a party whose very name demands our elected officials fight for the most vulnerable in our state.  These are the values of a man more interested in protecting his own campaign finances and the interests of the moneyed elite he is used to associating with.

Since before his election he has thumbed his noses at us. He has attacked the unions  since his first campaign for governor, the unions that have been the backbone of our party since its beginning. He has even attacked us on behalf of his allies in the business community, all while NYT columnist laughably cry for him over the $2 million the unions can muster to “attack” him (a pittance compared to what his friends spend trying to destroy us.) Andrew Cuomo has enjoyed our support despite all this, and that has to end.

It has to end because he only pays lip service to ending corruption in Albany, offering up our friends as scapegoats while the truly corrupt wine and dine Democrat and Republican alike. He deliberately spins his wheels on Fair Elections. He plays politics with the environment and job killing monster that his high volume horizontal fracturing (known far and wide simply as fracking.) It has to end because he has shown us that he cares not at all for working families, and even less for Working Families.

At any time in his tenure as our governor he could have acted on truly progressive change, giving corruption a real fight and saving the economy for working New Yorkers. Due in no small part to our efforts he had a legislature that could have passed our agenda and turned New York into the leader it is supposed to be again. Instead he sat idly by as the IDC betrayed their party and their constituents and handed the elite a very early Christmas present.  I think it is time to put the clout we have built, clout that gave NYC its first truly progressive mayor in decades, to good use and remind Andrew Cuomo who he serves.

That is why I am asking you not to simply deny him our support but to offer that support to a candidate who will fight for our values. He is union man who has never given up, even though the talking head pawns in the main stream media have done their best to belittle him if they bother acknowledging him at all. Howie Hawkins is assured the endorsement of the Green Party, I think we need to give him a fighting chance and throw in with him as well.

I have been registered in both parties at one time or another, and a member of the WFP once (and will be again in the future.) I know our parties are often viewed as rivals for the same progressive base. All the more reason, I think, to remember that we are fighting for most of the same causes and values. With the Greens grassroots base and passion and our hard-earned muscle made of honest, hard-working activists I believe Howie has a legitimate chance. At the very least we can bloody Prince Andrew’s nose (metaphorically of course) and remind him he cannot ignore the interests of middle class and poor New Yorkers.

We are not in this alone. Increasingly young Democrats also find themselves frustrated with the Governor. Two such young people, Jennifer Thorpe-Moscon and Taylor Yu, both Brooklyn residents active in the party have said they would vote for a progressive challenger to the Governor. They are not alone. More and more the working class is seeing Cuomo for what he is, a champion of those who would steal their wages, raise their rent, and poison their water.

This is a moment where we can win real change for New York. Democrats and WFPers alike are fed up not just with Andrew Cuomo, but any of those who have received their love only to have it passed along to the likes of the IDC. I truly believe that merely making the governor sweat this election is itself a worthy goal. He needs to be made to feel vulnerable so he remembers the Democrats need their progressive base. If nothing else I am sure a nail biter of an election will raise some eyebrows at the DNC.

That said I think we can do more than that here. I think Howie Hawkins, with the help of our well-trained team, has a real chance to win. Imagine that, a real progressive governor. We deserve that, all of us. Each and every New Yorker, whether Working Families, Democrat, Green and yes even those Republicans who may disagree with it, deserve that. They deserve a hard-working, honest governor who will fight for all of them and not just the top tenth of a percent. We can give that to them if we have the courage to face a petulant governor’s wrath. He has already taken multiple swings at us and our friends, it is time to swing back.

In Solidarity;
Christine Noble


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