When Cynthia Nixon walks into the room, she is at once recognizable yet unfamiliar. To many, Nixon is better known as Miranda Hobbs, the cynical lawyer from the hit show Sex and the City. In many ways, I have grown up with Nixon—or should I say, Miranda—guiding me through life’s awkward dating scenarios with her three girlfriends in tow. I watched from afar as Miranda navigated uncomfortable break-ups, an unplanned pregnancy, and laughable first dates in New York City. While I may know the character of Miranda Hobbs, the fact is the woman now standing before me is very different. Nixon—an American actress-turned-aspiring politician—is running to be the first female governor of New York state.
For those quick to dismiss Nixon’s run for governor because of her acting background, Nixon’s response is plain and simple: “I didn’t grow up with much money,” explains Nixon. “I grew up with my mom in a one bedroom, five-story walk up, and started acting in order to pay for college because my family wasn’t able to afford it.” While many starlets can remain disconnected, floating untethered in the stardust of fame, Nixon—a born and bred New Yorker—is rooted in the reality of living in this city and state.
At the all-female club and co-working space, The Wing, the energy in the room is crackling before Nixon even comes into view. Women pile into sunset colored chairs, eager to hear Nixon speak to her political values and progressive campaign goals. While we may all hold a special place in our hearts for Miranda Hobbs, we are collectively more excited to hear the real Cynthia Nixon speak today. At a time when our country is fighting aggressive immigration policies and the egregious laws of President Donald Trump, a progressive female politician such as Cynthia Nixon is a real rockstar. Sex and the City be damned.
In walks Nixon, donning a smart pantsuit—reminiscent of Hillary Clinton—and sporting her red, cropped haircut paired with a warm smile. At age 52, Nixon—now married to education activist Christine Marinoni—remains passionate about activism.
“I’ve spent a few decades now fighting for LGBTQ equality all across this country, but particularly for marriage equality across New York state,” says Nixon. “I have a four-decades-long history of speaking out, and fighting for abortion rights, and for the last 17 years I have been fighting for better public schools in New York state.”
With less than two months to the Democratic primary in New York, Nixon is running against Governor Andrew M. Cuomo who has held his position since 2011. Cuomo—age 60—is a formidable candidate who is now leading the polls, according to The New York Times, by 36 points, although his favorability rating has slipped from 54 to 49 percent in recent polling.
At a time when women are rising up across industries and running for office in waves, Nixon is keen to challenge the status quo and bring new ideas to New York politics.
If there was one moment that really was the spark for me where I said, “okay, Goddamn it, I’m really going to run,” it was the moment that Donald Trump was elected,” says Nixon. “We need somebody to offer New Yorkers a real progressive alternative because—as we’re seeing across New York state and other parts of this country—in this moment of history when you offer people a real progressive alternative to the entrenched, corporately owned old boy’s club, they will show up and embrace that change.”
Of the many important issues that Nixon is fighting for in her campaign (none of which is closer to my heart than the improvement of the damned subways here in New York City), women’s reproductive freedom is one of the most crucial. Since assuming office, Governor Cuomo has failed to pass the Reproductive Health Act, which takes abortion out of the criminal code, or the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act, which allows women regular access to birth control. Should she win, Nixon is adamant about passing both acts immediately.
“The fact is, New York is a place where women used to come to access abortion and now, New York women are traveling out of state because if they find themselves in need of a late-term abortion, it is hard to find a doctor here who will perform one since abortion is still in the criminal code,” explains Nixon. “Doctors [in New York] performing late-term abortions are afraid they can be arrested and incarcerated as a result.”
With each passing answer, the women in The Wing burst into applause, nodding in fervent approval of every word Nixon is saying. Yes, we need to protect women’s reproductive rights! Yes, we need to dismantle the aggressive Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that is terrorizing immigrants! Yes, Goddamn it, we need to fix the crumbling NYC transportation system where train cars dating back to before the 70s are still in use!
As Nixon continues her uphill climb to New York governor, we are reminded of the simple truth that more women are needed in office to spark change, defend our rights, and represent our needs.
“I think it’s something that we don’t instill in our daughters enough, the idea that you can run for office and the idea that you can hold power,” says Nixon. “We need to change that.”
Learn how to volunteer, support and get involved in Cynthia Nixon’s campaign here.