Gov. Andrew Cuomo likes to talk about how he is a Queens guy—how he grew up in the borough, cruised up and down Queens Boulevard, went to Catholic schools here. There is no question that his formative experience in central Queens shaped his personality and worldview in many ways.
But he should heed the comments from several Queens elected officials who told Gerson Borrero in this week’s “Bochinche” column that Cuomo may be a little out of touch with the borough’s changing landscape. The elected officials are all too afraid to speak on the record because they know they will suffer backlash from the administration that has infamously been self-described to operate under two speeds, get along or kill. But there is merit in what they are saying.
You can’t rest on your laurels in the modern political world. You need to do the work. You need to be seen. You need to experience Queens for what it is now. Rep. Joe Crowley learned this the hard way. He is a progressive Democrat with a record of achievement, much like Gov. Cuomo. In the end, he lost because Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was more present. She worked harder for the win.
If elected officials who are likely to be some of Cuomo’s most vocal supporters are telling reporters that the governor is “out of touch” and he is not “exciting the base,” he should listen—especially since he has a clear record of success about which he can inform voters.
The anecdotal evidence we are hearing on the streets and from elected officials has piqued our interest. The Queens Tribune will be going into the field with a poll in coming months, ahead of the primary, to see if the perceived lack of enthusiasm for Cuomo around the borough is true. And if so, where.
In the meantime, we encourage Gov. Cuomo to consider reacquainting himself with the borough of his birth. Maybe ride the 7 train for a few stops. Or walk down Jamaica Avenue. Heck, even hop across the East River from his Manhattan office and see the growth of Long Island City. Normally, we’d suggest he take in a Mets game, but we are not cruel.
We think he might be surprised at what he sees—and how much the voters appreciate the effort.