“At the end of the day, we are one. We are upstate we are downstate but we are one. We are Latino we are African-American but we are one. We are New York City and we are Buffalo but we are one. We are democrat and republican but we are one.  … It’s the promise that we inherited from our parents, and the promise of New York that we’re going to pass on to our children, and the promise, my friends, that we are going to make a reality in this great state working together.” — Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address

At a meeting a year or two ago, the Republican Party Chairperson argued that the GOP deserved support because it was the only barrier to submerging upstate interests in a flood of downstate concerns. This is the politics of fear, the politics of divisiveness.  Are upstate and downstate interests really so different that upstate voters ought to support one party and downstate voters the other? I believe this idea serves the interests of politicians but not the people.

Many of us came to NY-23 from NYC or other cities; many of us moved to the NYC metropolitan area to find work.  Did we change our stripes when we moved here or returned here? I think not.

On Friday, March 21, Republican Senate Leader Dean Skelos abruptly left a meeting with Governor Cuomo and other legislative leaders complaining that others were concerned only about appeasing NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio.  Skelos later said that someone–presumably Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver–was overly focused on NYC.  Skelos may have a point, but he would do better to discuss his views openly rather than pointing the finger at others–the politics of divide and conquer.

New Yorkers have much in common. Surely citizens of NY-23 have more in common with other New Yorkers than we have with citizens of some red states, TX say.  We should resist efforts to divide us.  We do better when we make common cause rather than seeking to get the better of one another.

© William Hungerford – March 2014


About whungerford

* Contributor at where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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19 Responses to Upstate/Downstate

  1. solodm says:

    Would it were that simple. It is not. This is a very different political atmosphere than I have ever witnessed. We can agree to disagree, but what result does that bring? We still disagree, and nothing changes. Yes, compromise is a beautiful if not necessary thing. It puts me in the mind of the saying that there are always two sides to a story. But, to achieve that comprise, not only do both sides have to listen, but both sides need to agree on at least partial release of their dearly held ideals, hopes and beliefs. I don’t see desire or ability on one side of the aisle. The side that always says NO.


  2. whungerford says:

    The current Congress has achieved little while refusing to act in the public interest. Governor Cuomo, even though we may not be pleased with everything he has said or done, has achieved much. The stirring ideals in Cuomo’s speech would be empty promises if he hadn’t been effective.


  3. whungerford says:

    An article by Jon Campbell and Ashley Hupfl in today’s paper reports that a majority of New Yorkers support Gov. Cuomo’s plan to educate inmates while a minority upstate do. One wonders why. It may be that our politics are topsy-turvey: politicians like Tom Reed and Tom O’Mara tell us what to think.


  4. BOB McGILL says:

    Down staters want to educate inmates because most inmates are from down state ! Cuomo knows that it is just one more way to get votes from the Black and Hispanic population.


  5. whungerford says:

    Bob, if educating prisoners is a good idea as most of us believe, where they used to live should be irrelevant.


  6. BOB McGILL says:

    Should be but it AIN”T !You are forgetting the mama and papa and wife,girlfriendssssssss, and kids and grandma & pa. I’ll bet if you promose one inmate an education you could get 20 votes easy. 🙂


  7. BOB McGILL says:

    Imprisoned In New York
    by Andrew Beveridge, Feb 19, 2004

    Twitter  Criminals are among New York City’s most popular exports. According to a recent study, about 44,000 state prisoners, or two-thirds of the entire state prison population, are from New York City. Yet only 3,000 of these inmates are in state-run jails that are actually located in New York City. The rest are trucked up to state-run prisons upstate. While inconvenient to their relatives, their relocation is a huge benefit, both economically and politically, to rural counties upstate at the expense of New York City.

    44,000 X 20 = 880,00 possible votes


  8. whungerford says:

    Bob, if educating prisoners is a good idea, it shouldn’t matter why Governor Cuomo supports it.


  9. BOB McGILL says:

    All prisons built since 1982 have been constructed upstate. There are so many inmates in sparsely-populated rural counties upstate that nearly 30 percent of all new residents in Upstate New York in the 1990s were prisoners, according to a Brookings Institution study. Upstate gained 21,000 new prisoners during the decade, an increase that was accompanied by a growing number of prison staff, as well as inmates’ relatives. Upstate has a larger share of prisoners than the nation as a whole — 1.1 percent of its population in 2000, compared to just 0.7 percent of the U.S. population.”


  10. BOB McGILL says:



  11. whungerford says:

    A majority of New Yorkers.according to the article by Jon Campbell and Ashley Hupfl in today’s Gannett papers.


  12. BOB McGILL says:

    ALBANY — Hoping to cut down on recidivism rates, Gov. Cuomo on Sunday announced a plan for New York state to again begin funding college courses for inmates.

    “Giving men and women in prison the opportunity to earn a college degree costs our state less and benefits our society more,” Cuomo said.

    Cuomo made the announcement at a church event in Albany tied to the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus. Currently, New York’s inmate population is 49.2% African American, 24% Hispanic and 24.1% white.

    Prison inmates are eligible for mainly high school-level courses. They used to be eligible for state college tuition assistance money until the program was stopped by then-Gov. Pataki in 1995.

    But State Sen. Martin Golden, a Brooklyn Republican and retired NYPD officer, opposes diverting taxpayer dollars for inmate college courses and is skeptical it will reduce recidivism.

    “I got my degree at Attica — that will be the new bumper sticker slogan, Golden said.

    HAVING FRIENDS THAT HAVE BEEN IN PRISION, i CAN TELL YOU IT WON’T WORK ! Besides college degrees are a dime a dozen and most can’t find work anyway.


  13. BOB McGILL says:

    NO ! Jon Campbell and Ashley Hupfl say a majority of New Yorkers but I bet they did not ask all 19 or so million, so how do they know. 🙂
    Your problem is you believe everything you read in newspapers.


  14. whungerford says:

    Yes, Bob–the authors site a Sienna College Poll. Here it is:–%20FINAL.pdf


  15. BOB McGILL says:

    county-New York city
    Number Sentenced During Three Years of Sentence (Felony and Misdemeanor Probationers)Year 2006
    Number Sentenced – 10,252
    Percent Arested for VFO— 11.8%
    Percent Arrested for Drug Offense 10.8%
    Percent Arrested for Other Offense 15.9%
    Total Percent Re-Arrested Within Three Years 30.8%


  16. BOB McGILL says:

    I live about 15 miles from a prison. I know most of the local law enforcement officers, I have my own poll !!! 🙂 Most polls are fixed ! MINE IS NOT !!!!!!!!!! 🙂


  17. BOB McGILL says:‎CachedSimilar
    June 15, 2011 OCA Report on The Future of Probation in New York State – Phase
    I: … Reduced recidivism rates are evidenced in all categories, including …‎CachedSimilar


  18. BOB McGILL says:

    Article published Sep 25, 2006
    Experts say prison sentence often last resort
    Tribune Staff Writers
    St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak thought Dion M. Berry Jr., whose street
    name is “Hellboy,” deserved 30 years in prison for dealing cocaine near Riley High School.
    But Superior Judge Jerome Frese cut th
    ” No matter how much the public clamors for it, they do not believe prison rehabilitates many people. On the contrary, the judges think it often leaves defendants worse off.”
    St. Joseph Superior Judge John Marnocha agrees.
    “I don’t believe that there is rehabilitation in prison,” Marnocha said. “I don’t know that there ever was. I think that what you’re doing when you put somebody in prison is you’re simply warehousing them and keeping them separate from society, period.”

    and the cop standing here thinks you are WRONG ! 🙂


  19. Pingback: One in four Americans want their state to secede from the U.S., really? | New NY 23rd

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