New York State Comptroller and Democratic gubernatorial candidate H. Carl McCall addressed approximately 75 students and members of the Cornell community yesterday in Kaufman Auditorium.
McCall — introduced as the “next governor” by Josh Roth ’03, a member of the Cornell Democrats — addressed recent concerns facing New York and proposed how he would solve them if he is elected.
McCall first discussed the effects that the Sept. 11 events will have on national policy. He said that the tragedy will “test our resolve” in two ways. Specifically, McCall said, “We have to make sure that people who wear turbans and beards are not castigated.”
In addition, McCall warned of the dangers of restricting free speech, including unpopular comments criticizing the government and military actions.
He also said that New York will face the challenge of rebuilding its financial center and of addressing the problems that existed before Sept. 11 which have since been exacerbated.
McCall spoke specifically about New York’s budget problem, or as he stated, “the absence of a budget,” making reference to Gov. George E. Pataki’s refusal to negotiate with the legislature.
He noted that the legislature’s “bare bones budget” has reinforced problems with education, specifically funding shortages in Buffalo, Syracuse and Yonkers, adding that: “We don’t have the leadership needed [to remedy these problems], and New York as a state is adrift.”
This is where McCall hopes to come into the picture by running to be New York’s next governor.
When asked by students Michael Alcavan ’05 and Chris Sasiadek ’05 how he would propose to remedy the financial and social problems he mentioned, McCall proposed attracting new businesses to western and upstate New York, increasing public awareness of the importance of a strong budget and making higher education a priority.
Ryan Horn ’02, chair of the College Republicans, disagreed with McCall’s assessment of Pataki’s leadership. “Pataki will pull a better budget [in the long run], which will include lower taxes and a smaller government, [than any other candidate would],” he said.
McCall also touched on issues pertaining to students. He talked, for instance, about the need to increase funding for the state-subsidized schools at Cornell, which he suggested the current governor “is not committed to.”
He also endorsed Jamison Moore ’04 in his run for the Fourth Ward of the Common Council.
McCall additionally emphasized the need for student involvement in politics, noting, “young people can be agents of change” as he recalled their involvement in the civil rights and anti-war movement.
He concluded by thanking the audience for their “early commitment to politics” and “for their early willingness to make politics of a part of [their] lives.”
Students from several campus organizations attended the speech.
Adam Crouch ’03, president of the Cornell Civil Liberties Union, said after the event that he supports McCall’s opposition to the death penalty and New York’s Rockefeller crime laws.
Mike Moschella ’02, former president of Cornell Democrats and chair of Students for McCall, said, “It will be an uphill battle, but McCall is used to uphill battles. I am optimistic of McCall’s chances.”
“He’s a extremely strong candidate, but based on the political conditions in the wake of the 11th, it may be hard to unseat a two-term incumbent candidate. People do not want change now,” Mark Greenbaum noted.
Henrik N. Dullea ’61, vice president for University relations, attended the event and exchanged jibes with the candidate from his seat in the back of the auditorium.
“I am delighted to have candidates running for state offices at Cornell, I look forward to having other candidates come — [candidates] such as [Andrew] Cuomo [the other Democratic gubernatorial candidate] and maybe even Pataki,” Dullea later told The Sun.
As of now, the group has yet to make arrangements to bring other candidates to campus, according to Alexandra Sanchez ’03, president of the Cornell Democrats.
The College Republicans will begin to mobilize support for Pataki next semester, according to Horn.
Archived article by Jamie Yonks