The following is an expanded third item from my “Albany Insider” column on Monday:
Two potential Democratic primary challengers to Gov. Cuomo are teaming up with affordable housing advocates to attack the governor for not doing enough to protect tenants.
Former Hudson Valley state Sen. Terry Gipson, who already has created a 2018 campaign committee, and City Councilman Jumaane Williams, who says he’s been approached about challenging Cuomo, say a push for tougher rent laws should be a key issue in the 2018 gubernatorial campaign.
Williams and Gipson are accusing Cuomo of caring more about landlords and developers, who make up some of his biggest donors, than tenants. Housing advocates have been critical of the renewal of rent regulation laws that they argue doesn’t go far enough in protecting tenants. They have also been critical of tax credits issued to wealthy developers.
“Instead of protecting the people of New York, Andrew Cuomo has been protecting the profits of his donors and failing to strengthen the rent laws,” Gipson said.”New Yorkers deserve a governor for the people – a governor who will stand up for tenants and affordable housing.”
Williams, who is currently focused on running for City Council speaker, said as Cuomo helped resurrect a lucrative affordable housing tax credit for rich developers, the city and state have lost thousands of rent-regulated apartments.
He credited Cuomo with creating a state tenant protection unit, but said it “has only become necessary because the governor has failed tenants in every way possible.”
Williams also recently got together with another potential Democratic challenger to the governor–Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner.
Former state Sen. Terry Gipson
Williams and Gipson are teaming up with affordable housing groups gearing up for a statewide campaign in 2018 to pressure Cuomo to advance more protections for tenants in the coming legislative session and during the campaign.
Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi defended the governor’s housing record.
“It was the Governor who pushed for and twice passed, with Assembly Democrats, the strongest tenant protections in a generation, created the (Tenant Protection Unit) in his first year in office that (resulted) in 6,019 buildings and 61,789 units being placed back under rent stabilization, created a landmark $ 20 billion affordable housing and anti-homelessness program, and replaced 421a with an Affordable NY program that pays decent wages to working men and women,” Azzopardi said.
“Some critics may be proud of their lousy command of the facts, but I don’t see how that inspires confidence in anyone,” Azzopardi added.