By Don Glynn
Niagara Gazette — The trio of area state lawmakers who continue to capitalize on Democrat Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's popularity in the polls are finding that a number of their Republican colleagues on Capitol Hill have climbed on the same bandwagon. It's just smart politics, as they say.
State Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane, Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-Buffalo, and Assemblyman John D. Ceretto, R-Lewiston, have obviously hitched their own wagons to Cuomo's star power.
A 15-second television spot promoting Grisanti's re-election bid features Cuomo expressing profound thanks to the senator for supporting the University of Buffalo's 2020 plan to improve higher education and spur economic development. (By the way, despite all the rage over Grisanti's crucial support to pass the same-sex marriage law, the senator seems to have the edge in his run for re-election next month.)
In a lot of his campaign material, Maziarz reminds voters that he has worked closely with the governor in a number of ways, particularly to bring the highly touted Nik Wallenda wire walk over falls to fruition.
Assemblyman Ceretto always aligns himself with the governor as well and it apparently has yielded some dividends. In one TV ad, Cuomo is seen hugging the lawmaker from Lewiston.
All of this cross-aisle schmoozing surely irks the party loyalists and ward heelers who generally dislike any blatant opportunism. It could be even worse, of course, if those aisle jumpers became full-fledged turncoats.
What's really at stake here is the GOP trying to retain control of the Senate. At the same time, as veteran political analyst Tom Kaplan of the New York Times notes, Cuomo doesn't seem all that interested in helping the Democrats retake control of the Senate. Perhaps he is concerned that some inmates will end up in charge.
BRAGGING RIGHTS? While it's true that the nation's jobless rate has been declining over the past year, Gov. Cuomo can hardly claim any progress at resolving that problem in the Empire State.
In fact, according to the federal household survey of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by August (the latest figures available) New York's rate has reached 9.1 percent from 8.2 percent when Cuomo was sworn into office
The hardest hit area appears to be the Bronx where the jobless rate is nearly 14 percent. In Orleans County, the vanishing manufacturing jobs and government payrolls have forced the unemployment to more than 11 percent.
As you might expect, the governor's staff isn't about to accept those figures. Instead, they contend the situation has improved across the state,with a job growth of 1.4 percent in the 12-month span.
Incidentally, if there's any doubt about Cuomo's long-term career plans, check out the governor's schedule in the final weeks of the presidential campaign. He is committed to visiting several state on behalf of President Obama's re-election drive.That obviously contradicts Cuomo's earlier pledge "to stay away from national politics" to avoid having his out-of-state trips interpreted as a run for higher office.
PARTING SHOT: Two customers leaving a popular Lewiston restaurant were chatting on how the business had obviously dropped off.
"How come there's nobody in that place?" one customer said. His friend replied, "Maybe it's because they let the bartender go."
MONEY TALK: Overheard in Player's Lounge, Niagara Street: "That Judge Judy on TV makes more than $45 million a year! Only Alex Rodriguez gets more to sit on the bench!" — an irate New York Yankees fan.