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State convention touts the "new" Democratic Party

By Mark Scott

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-904416.mp3

Buffalo, NY – There are plenty of signs at the State Democratic Convention in Rye, New York, touting the "new Democratic party."

The party's choice for governor, Andrew Cuomo, seemed to downplay the issue when he addressed reporters in New York City Wednesday. He says it's not really a re-branding.

"What the Democratic Party is all about is growth and change," Cuomo said. "It's a new day. There are new problems that need new approaches. And that is what's meant by the new Democratic Party."

Erie County Democratic Chairman Len Lenihan is attending the convention. When asked about the "New Democratic Party" theme, he said the party will be going in a new direction.

One change from the "old" Democratic party seems to be the willingness of Cuomo and his running mate Robert Duffy to take on a powerful constituency -- the public employee unions. Duffy has battled with union leaders in Rochester over some of his controversial proposals, including his call for more control of city schools. Cuomo says he respects that.

"Yes, he tangled with public employee unions," Cuomo said. "Guess what, we're going to be tangling with public employee unions going forward."

For now, the Civil Service Employees Association says it won't be endorsing Cuomo or any other gubernatorial candidate, anytime soon.