Andrew Cuomo, a fixture in New York Democratic politics—due in part to his father, legendary former governor Mario Cuomo—is, now that he has officially (finally) announced his candidacy for governor, branding himself as a “new Democrat” and an “outsider.”
His choice of a lieutenant governor candidate, which he announced today, is intended to reinforce that idea.
Robert Duffy, 55, is currently the mayor of Rochester, an office he has held since 2006. During the campaign, he presented himself as someone “outside” the Democratic Party, and he did not just win, he trounced his opponents, and also outspent them nearly 10 to 1.
When campaigning, Duffy told union leaders, “I am committed to not balancing budgets on the backs of working families,” and, “I will use my bully pulpit to protect the rights of workers to organize, and respect picket lines and legal job actions.”
In that speech, given on June 5, 2005, Duffy said he would consider strengthening the city’s “living-wage laws,” which subsidize developers who pay higher salaries to workers.
There are a few things that may work against Duffy’s image as an outsider. His 2005 campaign manager was the former county leader Molly Clifford, and his media was done by Paul Novak, the same guy who did ads for State Senator David Valesky. Also, his polls were run by Global Strategy Group, which notably are the same people who’ve been hired by establishment figures like Eliot Spitzer, Andrew Cuomo and countless others Democrats already in office [updated from earlier version].
While Duffy has been in office, his major legislative push has been to take control of the public school system in Rochester, using a model for restructuring that is similar to what has recently taken place in New York City, Washington, D.C., and other cities.
Duffy also pushed for a “results-oriented” system for measuring city services.
“The program establishes performance indicators that will allow us to track how well we are utilizing available resources and delivering services to the public, and provides earlier detection of trends or emerging problems,” he said.
Before elected office, Duffy was a police officer, rising to the rank of deputy police chief. During his 2005 race, Duffy said he wouldn’t seek the local police union’s endorsement, citing a “difference” with their leadership.
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