Senator John DeFrancisco

Scott Willis / WAER News

Republicans are seeking political advantage in the federal corruption trial of Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo’s former closest aide.  One of the governor’s opponents is pressuring Cuomo to answer some of the revelations in the trial about how state business was conducted, and whether a pay to play “atmosphere” was created.

Senate Deputy Majority Leader and Republican candidate for Governor John DeFrancisco stood outside the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan on a windy winter day.

Scott Willis / WAER News

After months of consideration, Syracuse-area state senator John DeFrancisco made it official Tuesday evening in a crowded room of more than 100 supporters at a hotel in Salina.

"There's just too much at stake to sit on the sidelines.  New Yorkers need a leader that they can trust.  That's why, with your support, I humbly announce my candidacy for governor of The State of New York," DeFrancisco said to cheers and applause.

Gov. Cuomo's flickr page

New York is coming off a year of what Governor Andrew Cuomo calls great economic growth and social progress. 

"Crime is down statewide, we have a cleaner environment, we have a fairer criminal justice system, we have more high school graduates who are attending colleges, we have preserved more land than ever before, enacted a more progressive tax code, launched the most ambitious building program in the country."

Karen DeWitt / WXXI News

At an event that’s become increasingly rare in state politics, two politicians from opposing parties sat down together and had a civil discussion about issues facing New York.  And their names are certainly familiar to Central New Yorkers.

Democrat and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, along with Republican State Senator John DeFrancisco spoke in Albany during a forum about state issue and politics.

To have a vibrant civic dialogue is important,” said Miner. “The fact that it’s been missing, we’ve all suffered for it.”

Olivia Proia / WAER News

State Senator John DeFrancisco and disability rights leaders are expressing frustration with Governor Cuomo after he declined to sign a bill that would have made it easier for residents with disabilities to make their homes more accessible. It’s the third time Cuomo vetoed Universal Visitability legislation.

DeFrancisco calls the reasons for Cuomo’s veto “ridiculous,” and apologized to those who’ve advocated for the measure over the past three years. 

Taylor Epps / WAER News

A State Senator from Central New York wants homeowners to get tax credits of $2,750 to allow those with mobility issues to retrofit or build a new home.  The Universal Visitability tax credit legislation was most recently passed by the State Legislature during the 2017 session.  John DeFrancisco says the $5 million program would be spread across five years.


What are the prospects that Republican State Senator John DeFrancisco of Syracuse will challenge Governor Andrew Cuomo for Governor? 

DeFrancisco says he first wants to see if he can gain enough support from republican committee members and is traveling across the state to get the word out about his vision for the state.  He feels that it’s a critical time for him to decide whether or not to run.

"While population throughout the United States is growing, we had a net loss.  That means are voting with their feet.   They're expressing how they really feel by leaving the state.  That confirms what I've heard from  especially small business owners and people worried about their job, and seeing their kids not coming back to the state.” 

The Senator says that voters want to be confident about elected officials and thinks Cuomo has a credibility issue.

"If you talk to most New Yorkers who have any  involvement in politics, I would like to find out who, give me one person...have them call me, who trusts Andrew Cuomo to be truthful when he says something.  It's just not the case.” 

DeFrancisco feels that Cuomo likes to take credit for projects such as the recent expansion of the subway system on 7th Avenue in New York.  However, he alleges that the Governor distanced himself from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority when problems occurred.

“… but, then, you don’t a few months later say that it’s not you (Governor Cuomo) that’s running the Metropolitan Transportation Authority; it’s all (Mayor Bill) de Blasio’s fault, even though you appoint the Chairman to that group and you have a substantial influence over the majority of that group.  So, that’s the type of thing, I think, that people get tired… I know I do, of hearing things one day and then a totally opposite spin on something the next day because it achieves a political result.”

Karen Dewitt

The legislature finally ended its 2017 legislative session, after the Assembly voted overnight on a privately negotiated omnibus bill, and the Senate finally finished on Thursday afternoon. The messy process drew condemnation from both sides of the aisle.

Both Democrats and Republicans condemned an end of session that included the governor calling an extraordinary session of the legislature to deal with expiring laws, private meetings between Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders, and rank and file lawmakers kept in the dark about the details.

Karen DeWitt / WXXI News

The New York State legislative session is drawing to a close, and Democrats and Republicans are digging in on the remaining issues of 2017 including a measure to extend the New York City Mayor’s control of the public schools, which has now been linked to a number of diverse issues effecting people in the rest of the state.