All three candidates vying to replace retiring Brooklyn Assemblywoman Joan Millman blasted Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a debate last night–with two saying outright they supported his long-shot Democratic primary challenger Zephyr Teachout, and a third saying she was undecided.
At a candidate forum in the basement of Duryea Presbyterian Church in the Prospect Heights neighborhood, district leader Jo Anne Simon, union lobbyist Pete Sikora and dark horse civil engineer Doug Biviano took turns bashing Mr. Cuomo. The governor controls the board of the State University of New York system, which in turn runs Long Island College Hospital in the district–and many locals blame Mr. Cuomo for the medical facility’s impending closure and conversion to condominiums.
“The governor has been enormously against the community on LICH,” said Ms. Simon, adding she was she was still unsure who to support. “I’m watching Zephyr Teachout’s campaign very closely.”
Mr. Sikora and Mr. Biviano, on the other hand, were completely unambivalent.
“Undecided, really? Teachout, no question,” said Mr. Biviano, noting Mr. Cuomo’s relationship with the family that owns the Fortis Property Group, which won the bidding war to buy and develop the hospital. “Cuomo took tens of thousands of dollars from people associated with Fortis.”
Mr. Sikora had some mild praise for the governor for signing same-sex marriage into law, but attacked him over his center-right fiscal policies and the reports that his aides interfered in the workings of the anti-corruption Moreland Commission. Mr. Sikora enthusiastically said he would vote for Ms. Teachout.
“He’s failed to reform Albany. The Moreland Commission revelations have been just terrible,” said Mr. Sikora. “I broadly don’t agree at all with his approach on economic issues.”
Mr. Sikora’s endorsement is especially notable because he has the backing of the Working Families Party, which vetted and prepared Ms. Teachout for challenging Mr. Cuomo on its ballot line–but then endorsed Mr. Cuomo at its June convention. Ms. Teachout launched her campaign for the Democratic line immediately after failing to obtain the WFP endorsement.
Mr. Sikora’s campaign office is the WFP’s Brooklyn headquarters.
Update: Mr. Sikora sought to point out Thursday that though he intends to vote for Ms. Teachout, he also praised the governor for pushing gay marriage through the legislature, not just for signing it, in addition to praising his work on green banking, supportive housing, and gun control during the debate.