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Cuomo talks up Long Island state Senate candidates and assails Trump  

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo addresses supporters during

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo addresses supporters during a New York Democratic Party campaign event at the Tillis Center for the Performing Arts on the C.W. Post campus of Long Island University in Brookville on Monday. Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo rallied Monday at LIU Post with eight Democratic State Senate contenders, sharing a nine-point plan to protect the suburbs and “flip the state Senate" from Republican control.

More than 200 party supporters joined the governor at the Tilles Center in Brookville. Monday night, the governor spoke before 350 at a Democratic fundraising dinner in Holbrook.

Cuomo has made a major push this year for a Democratic Senate majority in the wake of President Donald Trump’s  policies and progressives’ efforts to push the governor to the left. Currently, Republicans hold a one-seat advantage.

At LIU Post, Cuomo said Long Island Democratic candidates for Senate are putting forward  an "agenda to say, 'this is exactly what we are going to do.' ”  Cuomo said the effort's aim is to counter what he predicted would be scare tactics by Republicans to claim Democrats will raise taxes and increase spending.

“We’ve kept state spending down to 2 percent,” Cuomo said “It was Democrats who put the first property tax cap in state history.”

The nine-point plan includes keeping the 2 percent property tax cap, and demanding New York City pay a fair share of MTA taxes. Cuomo's plan also includes $150 million in infrastructure spending, an initiative to protect clean water, modernizing the Long Island Rail Road, keeping public schools adequately funded, and protecting abortion rights by codifying Roe v. Wade into state law. The plan also calls for ethics and voting reform, funding to battle MS-13, and a “Red Flag” gun-protection bill to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals.  

 “Suburban Democrats can say anything they want, but this pledge is a farce,” said Scott Reif, a GOP Senate spokesman. "Anyone who takes this pledge seriously will get exactly what they deserve. Only Senate Republicans will cut taxes, protect schools and deliver Long Island's fair share.” 

The rally was aimed at helping Democrats in key races where Cuomo has played a role in enlisting candidates such as Suffolk Legis. Monica Martinez (D-Brentwood), former Legis. Lou D’Amaro, Suffolk Water Authority Chairman and former Suffolk lawmaker James Gaughran, and North Hempstead Town Board member Anna Kaplan.  Cuomo said New York needs to elect a Democratic State Senate to counter President Donald Trump, a GOP-led Congress, and judicial picks who advocate weakening labor laws, environmental protections and women’s reproductive rights.

Reif countered that Kaplan's board raised property taxes 5 out of 6 years on the town board, Gaughran's body raised property taxes by 49 percent, and Martinez approved budgets that raised taxes and fees by nearly $100 million.   

The governor also warned that the GOP-controlled U.S. Senate will confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court because they are “cowards … who are all Trump mini-me’s.”

He also said the FBI probe of sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh is flawed.

“Who ever heard of an FBI investigation directed by the White House?” he asked. “It’s not an investigation but a fig leaf to hide behind.”

Later, Cuomo lashed out at Trump during a speech to 350 Democrats at a party dinner at Villa Lombardi's in Holbrook that party officials said raised $400,000.

"His whole strategy is divide and conquer," Cuomo said of Trump. "But you can't divide us. We're 19 million people from all over the world. … We do live together as one. That's the New York story." 

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