New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has not given up on Amazon just yet.
The technology company originally planned to build half of its second headquarters in New York City and the other half in northern Virginia.
Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), and other state and local officials courted the company and were thrilled with its decision to build in New York City. The project would have created approximately 25,000 high-paying jobs and boosted the city’s economy.
But Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was the most high-profile opponent of Amazon’s New York City plans. Some progressive state and local officials opposed Amazon’s plans because they didn’t like the financial incentives the company would have received and they worried about gentrification and sky-rocketing rent in the city.
Amazon stunned the nation in February when officials announced they were canceling their plans for headquarters in Queens, New York City, because of the opposition.
Although Ocasio-Cortez gloated about her victory that cost the city 25,000 jobs, she’s been on the defensive ever since against widespread criticism.
Cuomo, however, apparently hasn’t given up on Amazon and is defying Ocasio-Cortez. He’s been in communication with Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos personally and even wrote him a full-page letter, according to a report from The New York Times.
Cuomo, “who was staggered by Amazon’s decision to pull out of its plans to come to New York City, is working intensely behind the scenes to lure the company back, even connecting with Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, to make a personal pitch,” The Times reported.
The outlet noted that the governor “has had multiple phone conversations with Amazon executives, including Mr. Bezos, over the past two weeks,” citing “two people with knowledge of the efforts.”
“Mr. Cuomo did not offer a new location but rather guarantees of support for the project, one person said. Amazon executives gave no sense the company would reconsider,” The Times added.
But the open letter, which the governor didn’t sign, promised that Cuomo “will take personal responsibility for the project’s state approval.” The letter also apologized to Bezos for the “rough and not very welcoming” response from some lawmakers.
The Times published the letter — which 40 New York union leaders, officials and business owners all signed — as a full-page ad on Friday.
“We know the public debate that followed the announcement of the Long Island City project was rough and not very welcoming. Opinions are strong in New York — sometimes strident,” the letter read. “But when we commit to a project as important as this, we figure out how to get it done in a way that works for everyone.”
A spokesperson for Cuomo told CNBC that “the state Senate made a terrible blunder — everyone, including their members, knows it — and 75 percent of New Yorkers affirmed it; the governor will take over the process and can comfortably assure Amazon the approval will get done.”
Cuomo and other New York lawmakers were furious with Ocasio-Cortez and other officials opposed to Amazon’s NYC plans.
The governor blasted the “small group [of] politicians” who “put their own narrow political interests above their community” in a statement at the time of Amazon’s withdrawal.
Those politicians “should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity,” Cuomo insisted.
Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) tweeted that it was “absolutely disgraceful” that Amazon was “driven from New York by left-wing progressive politicians.”
“Terrible loss of jobs for New York workers and [the] New York economy,” King added.
Absolutely disgraceful that @Amazon is driven from New York by left wing progressive politicians. Terrible loss of jobs for New York workers and New York economy.
— Rep. Pete King (@RepPeteKing) February 14, 2019
Even Jodi Seth, Amazon’s head of policy communications, told NBC News in February that the company blamed a few specific New York politicians for its decision.
“It wasn’t any one incident,” Seth said. “It was that the environment over the course of the past three months had not got[ten] any better. There were some local and state elected officials who refused to meet with Amazon and criticized us day in and day out about the plan.”
“If you talk to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, it’s ‘Never Amazon,’” Seth added. “If you talk to [New York City Councilman Jimmy] Van Bramer [a Democrat], it’s unions.”
Check out more in the video below: