Cynthia Nixon has drawn headlines for challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic gubernatorial primary from a more liberal position. But how does that translate into her policy proposals? Here’s everything you need to know about Nixon’s political views.
Before her 2018 campaign, Nixon’s most visible civic role was of public-education activist; she was often spotted at rallies and protests in support of the city’s public schools. As a candidate, Nixon has proposed a $7.4 billion education plan, which would include $700 million expansion of child care subsidies, a new program to pay for college and more access to social services. Her “College for All New York” plan would grant free tuition to 170,000 more students in the State University of New York and City University of New York systems each year, with a $600 million price tag. She supports Mayor DiBlasio’s plan to change admission requirements to NYC’s specialized high schools, a move she says would increase opportunity for underserved minorities. (Cuomo’s office contends that New York already spends the most per student of any state in the nation.)
Nixon proposes a “millionaire’s tax,” or additional tax on people making more than $300,000 a year, to pay for her education and transit programs. She also calls for raising corporate income tax rates and raising taxes on corporations that buy back their own stock.
3. The subway
Nixon has made New York City’s ailing subway system a central issue of her campaign. She has been intensely critical of Cuomo’s stewardship of the crumbling system, which is beset by chronic delays and repairs. Her plans: Adopt congestion pricing (i.e. tolls on cars in the busiest parts of the city) and the millionaire’s tax to pay for repairs, and replace MTA chairman Joseph Lhota, who opposes that tax because it would raise his own rates. (Cuomo argues there aren’t enough votes in Albany to pass those proposals.)
4. Reproductive rights
Nixon is a vocal advocate of abortion rights; she brought a coat hanger to one rally and spoke of her mother’s illegal abortion. She has criticized Cuomo for not doing enough to pass the Reproductive Health Act and the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act.
Nixon has dubbed Immigration and Customs Enforcement “a terrorist organization” and calls for the agency to be abolished. “ICE has strayed so far away from its mission. It is supposed to be here to keep Americans safe but what it has turned into, frankly, is a terrorist organization of its own that is terrorizing people who are coming to this country,” she told NY1 in June.
6. Marijuana legalization
Nixon favors legalizing weed, largely because people of color have been disproportionately punished for selling and possessing it. Her campaign gave out bongs at 4:20 one day. She has been credited with moving Cuomo to the left on the issue.
Perhaps Nixon’s biggest gaffe came in the campaign’s closing days. During a photo op at Zabar’s on Monday, she ordered a cinnamon-raisin bagel with cream cheese, lox, red onion, tomato and capers. Social media — and plain old media — freaked out over her combination of a sweet flavored bagel, not plain, with those savory fixings. The New York Post called it “the strangest bagel of all time” and an editor at Food & Wine tweeted it was “basically criminal.” Nixon’s taste may be questionable, but her NYC bona fides are not: She was raised on 75th Street. (We taste-tested that bagel, by the way.)
Voters go to the polls this Thursday, Sept. 13.