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Editorial: Upstate NY deserves a debate, too

Editorial: Upstate NY deserves a debate, too

Editorial: Upstate NY deserves a debate, too
Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a news conference Sept. 14, 2018.
Photographer: Jeenah Moon/The New York Times

More than 8.2 million people.

Almost 52,850 square miles, roughly 97 percent of the state’s land area.

Fifty-five of New York’s 62 counties. 

General Electric. IBM, Kodak, Xerox, GlobalFoundries and thousands of other companies large and small.

A top-10 national producer of cow milk, apples, grapes, onions, sweet corn, tomatoes and maple syrup.

Major cities: Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester and Albany, the state capital.

The largest contiguous park in the entire country.

New York’s only NFL football team and one of its three NHL hockey teams. Fourteen Division I colleges.

This is the segment of New York state, outside New York City and Long Island, that was completely ignored in the past two debates for governor.

The two televised debates involving Gov. Andrew Cuomo — including Wednesday’s statewide debate with Republican Marc Molinaro — included exactly one question that in any way addressed upstate New York (a publicly funded stadium for the Buffalo Bills).

In her column on Thursday, Sara Foss articulated the flaws of the most recent debate, including the moderators failing to maintain control over the exchanges between the candidates and allowing Gov. Cuomo to monopolize the direction and tenor of the debate.

Even if the debate had been conducted properly by its hosts and even if both candidates had adhered to every rule and stuck strictly to the issues and the questions posed by the moderators, the debate still would have been completely useless to those 8.2 million people living in upstate New York.

Not one question was asked about the disparities between the upstate and downstate economy or how each candidate planned to address the concerns of upstate residents. No question was posed about the flailing business climate. Nothing was said about the Southern Tier’s economy. No questions were asked about Adirondack Park’s economy or environment. Nothing was said about helping urban centers like Schenectady, Albany and Troy with their crime, taxes and education problems. 

Last we checked, the governor represented both downstate and upstate. 

Upstate residents deserve to have the candidates for governor debate issues important to upstate’s particular needs.

There are still 10 days left until the election, still plenty of time to arrange a another debate between Cuomo and Molinaro. Still plenty of time to give upstate New Yorkers their due.

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