On March 19, former Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon announced that she is running for governor. Many know Nixon from her acting endeavors, but may be wondering why exactly she is choosing to venture into politics. As Nixon described in her campaign video, she loves New York, in which has resided for her entire life, and wants to help remedy some of the issues faced by the state.
Nixon made her candidacy announcement via social media, releasing a video describing the goals for her campaign and the impetus behind her candidacy. Nixon opened the video by describing her love for her native state, saying:
New York is my home. I've never lived anywhere else. When I grew up here, it was just my mom and me in a one-bedroom fifth floor walkup. New York is where I was raised and where I'm raising my kids. I'm a proud public school graduate and a prouder public school parent ..."
She then went on to reflect on some of the issues she has seen her state face, indicating that she has chosen to run for governor because she wants to offer a new approach to helping tackle these issues.
I was given chances I just don't see for most of New York kids today ... our leaders are letting us down. We are now the most unequal state in the entire country, with both incredible wealth and extreme poverty ... Something has to change. We want our government to work again. On health care, ending mass incarceration, fixing our broken subway. We are sick of politicians who care more about headlines and power than they do about us.
While Nixon is perhaps most well-known for her acting career, she also has a history of working to advance progressive causes, according to Vox. She's worked to promote and protect LGBT rights, participating in campaigns across the country to help legalize gay marriage. According to Chalkbeat, Nixon has also been an enormous public education advocate, pushing for increased funding for public schools in the state.
Indeed, in a New York Times article from May 2013, Nixon's Sex and the City co-star Sarah Jessica Parker discussed her friend's foray into progressive advocacy and noted that she believed Nixon was well-suited for the work. “She’s incredibly bright, and she understands that there is an opportunity for her to be a voice when others might not have that opportunity, " Parker told the Times. "Cynthia can stand in the front at a rally and speak because she will bring attention; she will have a presence that creates curiosity.”
Nixon will face two-time incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary. As POLITICO described, Nixon will likely position herself to the left of Cuomo, characterizing her ideas as more progressive than those of the current governor.
Nixon has already begun strongly criticizing Cuomo. The candidate did not mince words during a speech she gave in Albany on March 26 while in the capital to lobby for education funding. As the New York Times reported, Nixon repeatedly called Cuomo a "bully." She also appeared to condemn him for seemingly making empty promises, saying “In a few days, or maybe sooner, Governor Cuomo will walk out of that room and do what he always does: promise big, get some headlines ... and ultimately hand all the power over to his buddies in the Republican Senate.”
Overall, it is clear that Nixon has a very different vision for New York than that of Governor Cuomo — and that her passion for the state and background of advocacy work could serve to bolster her campaign. If she is elected, Nixon will be the first openly gay and first female governor of the state.