Cynthia Nixon Pays Rockaway a Visit

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Two days before Earth Day, on Friday, April 20 at the YMCA, former Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon, now 2018 gubernatorial hopeful, came out full force with an entourage to pitch to Rockaway why she is the best candidate to put New York State on the map as the leader in a clean energy economy and 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.

Before Nixon took center stage to reveal her bold climate platform: “A Just Transition For New York,” with the exception of Rockaway Beach Civic Association (RBCA) President, John Cori, the other speakers hailing from various backgrounds throughout NYS, came out with an impassioned cry on why the state needs Nixon in and Cuomo out.

Cori just simply expressed his concerns about fortifying Rockaway’s waterfront against another Superstorm Sandy and his skepticism about the expansion of the already existing Williams-Transco Pipeline in Rockaway’s waters. He said, “Sandy was a big game changer, and I definitely believe that we need to fortify our waterfront communities. Another big problem is that we have big capital companies trying to force a gas pipeline down our throats. The Williams Transco Pipeline is in the next phase, and they’ve basically bought out many organizations in our community, who can’t really fight against the pipeline as they have accepted money. We really need to think forward, and I appreciate Cynthia’s thought process on the whole issue.”

Juxtapose Cori’s presentation to other speakers such as Heather McGhee, president of public policy organization, Demos, and equity thought leader and advocate, who said, “I am bowled over by the bold, courageous leadership and vision that Cynthia Nixon has shown on the issue of climate change. For the past three years, Governor Cuomo has refused to support bold clean energy legislation. The Senate Republicans have refused to allow a vote on the floor and the governor has done zero to change that dynamic. Cynthia’s plan is a game changer that will unite black and brown communities ravaged by Sandy in Queens and upstate rural communities still recovering from Tropical Storm Irene. Together, this brave movement can fight for a vision that will say without any doubt to members of the business community that there will be no more fossil fuels in NYS’s future because we ain’t buying it.”

Another speaker, Matthew Miles Goodrich, political director at Sunrise Movement, a self-described movement of young people uniting to stop the climate crisis, said, “Sunrise is proud to endorse Cynthia Nixon because she is not afraid to say or do what the governor won’t. She is not afraid to stand up to corporate polluters and make them pay for the damage they inflict on our communities. She is not afraid to join my generation in calling for an end to the corruption of our politics by a few wealthy self-important men. I am here because I reject that homes in the Rockaways must flood in order for the lights on Wall Street to turn on. I am here because I believe that Democrats are not Democrats at all unless they take money from the fossil fuel industry. I am here because when the sun rises on primary day, I believe Cynthia Nixon will be the next governor of NY.”

After more rallying cries for “Nixon not Cuomo” by the remaining speakers, Nixon opened with the following Iroquois saying, “In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.” She then rehashed her personal experiences with Hurricane Sandy. “On the eve of Sandy, I was home with my wife and our children (in Manhattan). It was horrible, but we were able to get our kids to safety. Here in Rockaway, people did not have that luxury,” Nixon said.

Some components of Nixon’s plan:

  • Transition to 100 Percent Renewable Energy. According to Nixon, “NY currently only gets four percent of its electricity from solar and wind. Our current Governor committed to 50 percent renewables by 2030 – but only for electricity, not carbon emissions coming from major sources like transportation and buildings.” (Note that hours after Nixon’s speech, Cuomo released a statement about a multi-faceted plan to reduce the state’s energy emissions, increase annual electricity savings to more than three percent by 2025 and pour $36.5M into training for clean energy jobs.)
  • Passing the Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA), which calls for the state to transition to clean energy across all sectors, including transportation and buildings, by 2050. According to The New York Times, this bill, which offers directives, goals and oversight, but little practical advice, passed the Democrat-dominated Assembly, but died in the Republican-controlled Senate.
  • Reject All New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure. Nixon stated, “Cuomo says that fracked gas is a so-called bridge to a renewable future, while all of our best scientists say that fracked gas is a bridge to nowhere. Investing in new fracked gas infrastructure marks us into decades of more emissions that we cannot afford and poses serious health risks for surrounding communities. That is why I am so appalled that Governor Cuomo won’t stop the proposed Williams pipeline that costs nearly a billion dollars. This unnecessary and expensive pipeline will transport fracked gas within a mile of Staten Island and will hit us right here in Rockaway. This is not a path to a 100 percent renewables, this is a path to continuing climate disaster.”
  • Hold Corporate Polluters Accountable & Make Them Pay. “Every time the fossil fuel industry pumps a ton of carbon dioxide or methane into our air, a New Yorker pays the price, whether it is an asthma attack or another Superstorm Sandy. As governor, I will work with the state legislature to make corporate polluters pay

for their damage to communities and to our planet with a polluters’ tax, holding these big oil and gas companies accountable for climate change. I pledge to take zero contributions from the oil, gas and coal industry, and instead prioritize the health of our families, our climate and our democracy over fossil fuel industry profits,” Nixon said.

Though Nixon’s plan seemed utopic and even puerile in nature, one local resident agreed that something needs to be done, but questioned if Nixon is the one to do it. He said, “I think this all sounds great, but what she wants to do is going to ruffle a few feathers in Albany and Wall Street, and who is going to pay? Us the tax payers. A polluters’ tax? Not on my watch. We are so dependent on oil, you think the oil industry is going to let a polluters’ tax fly? Nope!”

As a bevy of people surrounded Nixon, congratulating her on her initiative, this same resident piped up with “What about the Cross Bay toll? This is what I came to hear about.”

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