By Mary Scott
On January 10th, 2017, ten Briarcliff students were invited to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State Address at SUNY Purchase. The students were Olivia Banc, Sam Driver, Ava Goldwyn, Madison Hennessey, Kelly Marchese, Steven Orientale, Andres Sanchez, Mary Scott, Charlotte Segal, and Sophie Underwood. The students were entered in a competition and were randomly selected to attend the speech. Governor Cuomo had recently announced his plan college payment plan and invited students from many schools to attend the event.
Governor Cuomo talked about his achievements in the past and propos- als for the future. He discussed how tourism is a major economic benefit in the state of New York, how New York State was the first big state to offer marriage equality, and how the project to rebuild the Tappan Zee has finally been successful. He then went on to explain his many proposals for the upcoming years. For example, he proposed to make the Empire State Trail, a walking/biking trail from New York City to Canada and from Albany to Buffalo. It would lead to many new jobs and an increase in the already booming tourism. Cuomo also discussed how he wants to lower property taxes in Westchester. He proposed to do this by combining many of the 425 local governments by sharing re- sources such as snow plows and garbage trucks. This would lead to less spending which would require less taxation. Finally, another one of his major policies was to offer college tuition for free to instate schools to those who receive less than $125,000 annually. At this point, people began to stand up and clap and soon after, everyone was on their feet giving him a standing ovation. This speech was an amazing opportunity for the students to experience government action first hand. As stated by Charlotte Segal, “It was very exciting to learn more about my governor. It made me feel like a much more informed citizen.”