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Andrew Cuomo urges minimum wage hike, paid family leave

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo visited three New York City churches Sunday to promote his mission to enact paid family leave and pass a $15-per-hour minimum wage, announcing that more than 100 faith leaders statewide had endorsed his “Fight for Fairness.”

“It’s hard to hear all of these great stories of millionaires when the vast bulk of society is going backwards,” the Democratic governor told the congregation of the Christian Cultural Center in East New York, Brooklyn. “That’s the problem. That’s what’s driving the anger and that’s what they’re playing with in politics.”

He said raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2021 from the current $9 is not about politics but helping working-class families.

“It is simple. It is math,” Cuomo said. “There is no philosophy. There is no Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative.”

He added that 12 weeks of paid family leave would enable New Yorkers to be with a new baby or dying parent in an economy that “requires you to work all the time.”

The megachurch’s senior pastor, the Rev. A.R. Bernard, is joining Cuomo’s team of advocates to pressure the State Legislature. Lawmakers will consider the two measures in the next few weeks, Cuomo said.

Cuomo also touted the support of the influential leaders of the two other houses of worship he spoke at Sunday: the Rev. Floyd Flake, of the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York in Jamaica, Queens, and the Rev. Dr. Calvin Butts, of Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem.

More than a dozen Long Island faith leaders are signed on to Cuomo’s “Fight for Fairness,” including Bethel A.M.E. Church in Copiague’s Pastor Keith Hayward, the Congregational Church of South Hempstead’s the Rev. Patrick Duggan and Long Island Council of Churches’ the Rev. Tom Goodhue.

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