2018 Election Simulation Kicks Off: Meet the Candidates for Governor of NY

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By: Nataniela Zavlun, Edison Park, Min Hyeok Shin, Ariana Vernon, Kristen Zhou, Copy Editor and Staff Writers

Every year, Townsend Harris High School hosts an election simulation, in which seniors represent candidates that are running in state and national level elections. This year, Democrat Andrew Cuomo and Republican Marcus Molinaro are the leading candidates in New York’s 2018 governor election.

Andrew Cuomo, represented by senior Max Kurant, has been the New York Governor since 2011 and is running for his third term.  During his time in office, he has implemented marriage equality, instituted the fifteen-dollar minimum wage, provided tuition free college through his Excelsior scholarship, promoted gun safety, and granted paid family leaves. According to Max, if re-elected, Governor Cuomo plans to continue lowering the tuition for CUNY and SUNY schools, invest billions of dollars into making affordable housing for the homeless, and give more funding to impoverished school districts to improve the quality of the security and education provided there.

“I want to help people on the bottom rise their way up and be socially mobile and just have a better quality of life, that’s what all of my policies are about,” said Max.

On his role representing Cuomo, Max commented, “As a person who’s been politically active because I’ve been on a number of political campaigns, I think educating people on what our current governor’s policies are is really important…I want to show why Governor Cuomo is the most qualified candidate, and I want him to have a big presence. I have visited a lot of classrooms already and I want to have bake sales and such things to get my name out there.”

Running against him, Marc Molinaro will be represented by senior Joshua Villas. According to Joshua, Molinaro intends to directly address the problems faced by New Yorkers by lowering tax burdens, creating more programs for special needs, improving the efficiency of the MTA, reducing the corruption in New York by establishing term limits for political figures, and ensuring that the most qualified candidates are elected for government positions.

 Joshua states that he chose to represent Molinaro because he thought it would be fun to have an important role to play. In reaction to the experience so far, he said, “I feel that the reactions I get from people while playing Molinaro are pretty positive. The students ask good questions and I’m able to answer them well.”

His strategy of winning the election is to be an “entertaining candidate” while knowing the information necessary. He claims, “My candidate is for the people, and most of all, ‘I am it.’”

Following the mayoral elections last year, many students have expressed their high expectations for this year’s election. Junior Emily Yan explained, “ Last year it left me not knowing who would win since the candidates were all informative.” At this point in the election, even freshmen have heard about it, and feel that it is a smart way to make students more politically aware. Freshman Sophia Park said,“I am excited for it because I want to see who would win the mock election compared to the real one… I think it is a good way to get everyone involved and learn more about the candidates.”

Now that the election simulation has officially started, the candidates are focused on running their campaign in an eye-catching way that meets their teachers’ expectations. By creating campaign ads and personalized speeches in debates, these benchmarks guide the candidates to run a campaign “to the best of their ability and as closely to the real world candidates as possible,” said teacher Jaime Baranoff.  With the simulation having an unclear rocky start, candidates Molinaro and Cuomo are catching their footing and taking off. “We’re finally there and I think we’re in full swing.”