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DeFrancisco critical of Cuomo's traveling State of the State plans

Ellen Abbott
WRVO News File Photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to take his yearly State of the State address on the road this year, instead of delivering the speech to lawmakers in Albany. That is not sitting well with Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse).

DeFrancisco says traditionally the message is supposed to be given the first full day of the legislative session, which this year would be January 4. Cuomo, though, won’t be offering his view of how New York State is faring to lawmakers that day. Instead he’s taking the legislative message to six regions across the state, starting Jan. 9.

“But he doesn’t even let anybody know where he’s going to be," DeFrancisco said. "That is to me the ultimate Hutzpah. In other words, we’ll let you know and you find out where I’ll be at the right time, and come and see me.”

Cuomo’s take on the State of the State has been an evolving one. Early on, he shed his predecessors' tradition of speaking to lawmakers in the Assembly chambers, instead giving the speech in cavernous venues complete with special guests and audio visual components. The governor’s office says these regional speeches will give him the opportunity to announce local initiatives and proposals. 

DeFrancisco believes they're purely political, with Cuomo expected to run for a third term next year.  And it doesn’t help that lawmakers and the governor have had icy relations recently.

"There’s a lot of bad blood for the vetoes, for the way he tried to get legislation passed in a quid pro quo for a pay increase," DeFrancisco said. "So, maybe he does want to avoid the legislature, but the legislature will be around as long as he’s around and well beyond when he’s around and he can’t avoid us forever.”

The governor’s office hasn’t announced the schedule for the regional State of the State speeches yet.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.