“Sex and the City” actress Cynthia Nixon has announced she is challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the New York Democratic primary, focusing on education as her political raison d’être.
— Cynthia Nixon (@CynthiaNixon) March 19, 2018
Nixon is a champion of many progressive causes, from LGBT rights to abortion, but redistribution of education funds is the main issue she’ll use to rally New Yorkers to her side. In a USA Today interview in August of last year, Nixon said Cuomo hasn’t done enough to address disparity in New York’s schools.
“Governor Cuomo likes to say that, ‘We spend more per pupil than any other state,’ and that is actually true, but the only reason that is true is because we spend so much on the kids in our wealthiest districts,” Nixon said. “That gap now between our richest schools and our poorest schools are wider under Governor Cuomo than it has ever been before, and that’s got to stop.”
Nixon’s interest in education activism seemed to take off when, after ending a 15-year relationship with Danny Mozes, the father of two of her children, she began dating education activist Christine Marinoni. The two women became engaged in 2009 and were married in New York in 2012.
Nixon soon became one of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s top Hollywood supporters, and her wife worked in his Department of Education, developing plans for community engagement. Marinoni has since left her position, purportedly to support Nixon’s campaign against Cuomo.
It’s not surprising that Nixon isn’t keen on Cuomo since she’s close to de Blasio and supported him for over a decade. It’s no secret that de Blasio and Cuomo, in the words of Vice, “f–king hate each other,” and it’s likely de Blasio will throw his weight behind his fave celeb in her campaign against his archnemesis.
Besides being famous for the role as Miranda in “Sex and the City,” Nixon is a spokeswoman for the progressive labor-backed group Alliance for Quality Education, speaking out on “systemic educational racism,” which, as the alliance website says, “has shortchanged school districts serving Black, Brown and immigrant students, resulting in the underfunding of high need schools for students of all races. To overcome educational racism, New York State must provide equity by fully funding schools.”
The Alliance for Quality Education supports a number of initiatives, including teacher diversity and culturally responsive education, in which students see their race reflected in the school curricula. “Education justice,” the group says, “is racial justice.”
Cuomo has answered critiques about his education policy by pointing to increasing school spending in one of the nation’s already highest-spending states. As reported in USA Today, “Under Cuomo, the state has increased education aid by $6.1 billion, or 31% since 2011, his state budget in January said. The $26 billion in state aid to schools is the most in New York history and by far the most per capita in the nation. Cuomo’s office said 70% of the state’s increases in school aid have gone to high-need schools.”
The executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education believes the actress would do a better job bringing economic equality to New York’s schools. “Cynthia Nixon would really excite people who care about public schools and people who think we need progressive leadership in New York state,” Billy Easton told USA Today. “New York is way behind the rest of the country when it comes to inequity between rich and poor in our public schools, and Cynthia is making that an issue that needs to be addressed.”
While progressivism in education could be the ticket to the governorship, there might be a bigger, more pressing issue to attract those New York voters—like Nixon bringing some light to the ongoing feud between her co-stars.
After all, who doesn’t want peace?