We're the team fighting against the powerful and entrenched old boys club that runs New York state-- we're running for Governor and Lt. Governor in the Democratic Primary. We're doing this to go after the extreme corruption that has taken a hold of our democracy and economy.

Zephyr has spent over a decade in politics, working on campaigns and as a corruption activist and law professor who was cited in the dissent opinion in the Citizen's United Supreme Court case that allowed unlimited political spending by corporations. Tim is a lifetime internet freedom fighter and the "father" of net neutrality.

Incumbent Andrew Cuomo is under the cloud of a major scandal involving corruption and his anti-corruption commission, and his running mate, Kathy Hochul, has been avoiding the press because of her long-standing anti-immigrant views. We recently prevailed against Gov. Cuomo's legal challenges to kick us off the ballot, twice! (Cuomo's team plans to appeal.)

We have had more individual donors in one day than Cuomo has had in the past month, and, most importantly, people are excited about what we're doing. Our platform is simple: we believe in an economy and democracy that works for all of us, not just the wealthy and well connected. We believe in small class sizes, banning fracking, pro-immigrant politics, and a small business economy. A Teachout-Wu administration would directly confront big cable, and big banks, and other monopolies that are choking our economy and democracy. We're traditional democrats and trust-busters with 21st century ideas.

We believe that entrenched power must be challenged and uncorrupted, smart, fearless ideas can fix what ails us.

Our campaign has been possible because of people. If you're interested, here's how to help:

1)Please sign up to be a part of this campaign: 2) We're running a crowdfunding campaign to help us push back on Gov. Cuomo's legal challenges: 3)If you can volunteer -- dev, design, phone calls, letters to the editor, sharing with friends, and more -- please let us know --

Our bios:

Ask us ANYTHING, we love reddit and we can't do this campaign without all of you.

Comments: 274 • Responses: 35  • Date: 

suldrew28 karma

What's your plan to stop further consolidation and monopolistic behavior in the media industry? What can/will you do in Albany to promote competition in internet access so New Yorkers aren't stuck with the likes of Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner?

Tim_Wu52 karma

First, I think New York State should be much more active in controlling the merger of giant media cos. For a starter, New York should clearly block the Comcast - Time Warner merger, pronto. In fact I would say the State has a duty to block it.

By our calculations, TWC-Comcast will cost New Yorkers as much as $1.6 billion per year in higher rates. It also will damage New York industries, like tech and content creation. All for what? So Comcast can make more money. That's not what I'd call "in the public interest."

Second, I think, ideally, municipalities ought take the lead in offering alternatives to the big guys. Internet access is a utility and we've been far too lax about just letting it be a profit center for cable and telcos.

chilluminati5 karma

Can we please get google fiber. In ANY region of the state. Albany, because of all the local colleges would be a great place to start.

Tim_Wu5 karma

Yes, Google fiber should come to New York State and I hope to they do.

Reddit-Mark24 karma

Will you continue to advocate for net neutrality in office?

If so, how do you plan on preventing the FCC from carrying out their agenda?

Tim_Wu27 karma

Of course! How could I not?

Net Neutrality is a principle as much as anything. Therefore, all that the state does should respect the principle.

Right now I am personally working hard, behind the scenes, to try to convince the FCC, and convince others to convince the FCC, that they need to adopt some form of strong Net Neutrality rules this year.

SlyLlama19 karma

Three questions, How do you plan on fixing the "three men in a room" problem as well as the overall corruption with Albany politics going on today?

What is your stance on marijuana law reform in New York?

Would you support and push for an amendment to the NY constitution to allow for voter initiatives and recall elections?

edit: wording

Tim_Wu20 karma

First -- I think we definitely need more checks and balances, including an independent Lieutenant Governor who has his own agenda. I've written a white paper on this very topic. It is not the entire answer. Zephyr is saying more.

Froklsnt11 karma

I am not a member of the Democratic Party because I believe that the party system itself has become an avenue of corruption. As such, I cannot vote in the Democratic primary in New York, regardless of my support for your campaign. Do you support open primaries, or alternative voting methods to our "first-past-the-post" system, which would discourage two party politics?

Regardless, you'll have my vote in November, even if I must write it in. Thank you.

Tim_Wu16 karma

The Party system: Can't live with it, can't live without it. The problem with exempting yourself from the party system is that so much of what matters in US politics is at the primary level.

mattham108 karma

Tim, if you were to beat Kathy Hochul in the primary and the governor beats Zephyr, would you be open to running as his running mate on the November ticket?

Tim_Wu13 karma

First, I am 100% loyal to Zephyr. After all it was the "Teachout-Reachout" that got me into this.

Second, and importantly I am running as an INDEPENDENT Lieutenant Governor. That means I regard to position as independent of the Governor, and believe I will not need to follow orders, but rather I view it as an independent constitutional office. (Zephyr agrees with this).

Therefore, were I to win, I would join the Democratic ticket with Cuomo.

Danny-Denjennery8 karma

Just how expensive is campaigning?

Tim_Wu19 karma

The answer is: expensive. But in weird ways. One reason it is expensive is that running has meant we have to defend lawsuits. We've been using a crowd-funding effort to try and fund this:

But we need more donors.

Second, is the need to buy old media ads in the most expensive market in the US (if not the world). That is what costs the millions (if we had them).

Weirdly, what is not expensive is the most valuable of all. Labor & staff We have attracted large numbers of volunteers, and people willing to work for reasonable wages, because they believe in the cause.

So in the end it is a little perverse. The most valuable thing: labor, is actually priced below market, while the expenses are things like ballot access, lawsuit defense, and, if we can afford it, old media ads. It seems backward to me.

OswegoWriter8 karma

As a former Upstate New Yorker, I have... many questions.

  1. Do you feel that your policies and platform agenda will benefit regions of the state that feel disenfranchaised when compared to "The City", and have very little love for Albany?

  2. Do you support municipal-level initiatives to develop internet access as a utility, for example, or would initiatives like that have to develop at the state level (given oversight, regulation, etc)?

  3. Would you fight 100 duck-sized Gov. Cuomos, or one Gov. Cuomo-sized duck?

Tim_Wu23 karma

The duck question is back! I gave this a lot of thought, and I still stand by my old answer that the one Cuomo-sized duck would be easier, because the 100 duck sized Cuomos would get behind you and kick you off the ballot. (We're still on appeal). Other two questions in a sec.

Tim_Wu19 karma

  1. I absolutely support municipal-level initiatives to develop utility-style internet access !! Its such an obvious level at which to solve the problem of cheap reliable internet access. As you probably know, there have been efforts to ban such projects for reasons that are utterly indefensible

Tim_Wu12 karma

Yes absolutely! I feel that Albany's approach to regional development is mainly about handing out tax credits to try and gain political loyalty

Upstate New York was once among the richest areas in the US, and it is ripe to make a comeback. As a matter of fact I'm reminded of New York city in the 1970s -- which everyone was sure was a lost cause. But everyone got together -- business, gov, state gov, etc., and saved the city. We can do the same thing in upstate.

Jux_7 karma

What's the biggest thing you could blow the whistle on?

Tim_Wu13 karma

Moreland Commission. Oh wait, the NY Times already did that.

Tim_Wu13 karma

2 There are probably more scandals hiding in the Port Authority

rakelllama2 karma

Can you speculate for us? I'm curious about Port Authority Scandals.

Tim_Wu3 karma

This particular Port Authority scandal, involving both Cuomo and Christie, did not get much attention:

"An article published in The Record on Sunday, which was based on interviews with eight people involved with the Port Authority and New Jersey politics, suggests that Christie aides David Wildstein and Bill Baroni stage-managed the Port Authority’s toll hike proposal to the advantage of Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Wildstein and Baroni resigned from the agency amid the lane closure scandal."

PhalanxAlex7 karma


Tim_Wu2 karma

Let me take on question two. Does New York State really think the Atlantic City model is the key to long term economic development? I think that pretty much says it.

ktetch6 karma

As Vice Chair (and former Chair) of the US Pirate Party, I've experienced my own share of ballot access issues. Do you think a major issue with US politics today is the EXTREMELY high barrier to entry in most states for new candidates and parties to challenge the entrenched status quo. And is reform here more, as or less important than campaign finance reform?

Andrew US Pirate Party Vice Chair, Pirate Party of Georgia Vice Chair

Tim_Wu7 karma

Agree strongly that the challenges presented by ballot access has become an incumbent protection scheme.

We are crowdfunding to face some of our ballot problems:

beernerd6 karma

How do you eat your pizza? With a knife and fork, or folded in half?

Tim_Wu6 karma

There are other options. ! Myself I eat it sideways.

Tim_Wu5 karma

I guess I should clarify. Sideways means, I sort of eat some of the crust first. Then I go after the tip. Then back to the crust. Back and forth like that you see.

wpatter65 karma

Having "seen the dirty behind-the-scenes", what would you say to a young idealistic kid who is thinking about getting into politics to try and make a positive change?

Tim_Wu11 karma

Go for it. A quote from Louis Brandeis:

It is customary for people to berate politicians; to speak with horror of those who take an active interest in elections. But after all, the politicians, even if their motives are not of the purest, come much nearer performing their duties as citizens than the so-called "good" citizens who stay at home.

One of the Public School Association workers who was recently urging a woman to call her husband's attention to the necessity of voting received the following answer:

"Oh, John won't vote. He says he will have nothing to do with dirty politics."

It is men like this John, not the machine politicians, who are responsible for all of the bad government that we get and the only thing we have to do in order to get good government is to make the men and women of Boston feel the dishonor which they bring upon themselves and upon the city by neglecting their obvious duty to vote and vote intelligently.

alent12345 karma

i believe in a lot of your platform as well

question is how will you deal with people who don't? that's politics and working with people with different viewpoints than you

Tim_Wu12 karma

Honorable disagreement is part of politics and a healthy republic - I think it is key to keep that in mind! So I would say respect for those who disagree is the starting point.

My experience working in Government is looking hard at the facts is often useful for overcoming disagreements when you're dealing with a serious issue. After that, there can still be disagreement, but facts can solve a lot.

This assumes reasonable people. Some people are just inclined to attack or be difficult and there's really nothing that can be done about that.

boreskes5 karma

Tim and Zephyr, How do you take your bagels?

Tim_Wu9 karma

I eat a bagel a day. I buy from Brooklyn bagels (in Chelsea). I like plain and sesame.

I make my own bagel sandwiches which usually consist of (1) bagel, (2) tomato (3) mustard or mayonaise (4) fish, pork or steak

_DEAL_WITH_IT_4 karma

What made you both want to attend law school?

Did you decide to attend law school because you wanted to become involved in politics later, or maybe practice law the rest of your lives, or something else?

Tim_Wu3 karma

When I decided to go to law school, I was working in a laboratory trying to be a scientist, and I realized that I wasn't good enough. However, I thought I was a decent writer and thinker so I went to law school. Basically as a failed scientist.

I had no plan. Honestly. I sort of wish I did.

net_neutrality_quest4 karma

Net Neutrality question: Why should I (or the content provider of the service I am using - e.g. Netflix) not have to pay more if I use more internet if I currently pay more if I use more electricity?

Tim_Wu5 karma

That's actually not a Net Neutrality issue. Net Neutrality is mainly about carriers blocking traffic, or putting sites in a slow lane.

Metered pricing, to my mind, would be okay, if done fairly.

vee-lociraptor3 karma

What is your favorite type of fast food?

If you could go on vacation anywhere, where would you go?

Tim_Wu8 karma

Dumplings are my favorite fast food.

Tim_Wu7 karma

I'd go back to Antarctica. Actually, no, I'd go to the North Pole. Via Greenland ideally.

dansplain3 karma

3 easy questions: 1) Do you think that "Zephyr Teachout" is one of the top 3 coolest names ever? 2) Have you done Teachout breakouts? (If not, congratulations, there's your million $ idea) 3) Are you going to moderate the MIT anti-corruption symposium, Citizens Rising, on 9-19?

Tim_Wu7 karma

  1. It is the $1 coolest name ever.

  2. She does Teachout - Reachouts. That's how I became her running mate.

  3. I can't answer # 3 for Zephyr, but I'm going to guess she'll be running in the general then

poliscijunki3 karma

How can we bring more high-tech jobs to upstate New York?

Tim_Wu8 karma

New York is the historic and original home of America's high tech industry --- IBM, Xerox, Kodak, and General Electric. It was the Silicon Valley of the early 20th century.

IT CAN RISE AGAIN!!! And take its rightful place.

There are, however, no magic bullets. We need to study comprehensively what conditions will lead upstate to grow. I believe that as New York City high tech continues to develop, it will spread northward.

A few more keys are: (1) Proper funding for public higher education. High tech sectors always gather around universities. (2) Creating spectrum testbeds -- places where the usual spectrum regulations don't apply (3) Good, cheap broadband.

There's more but this is a strart

clenchner3 karma

What is the best thing about the campaign so far?

Tim_Wu3 karma

Working with our talented team

WillPE3 karma

I'm interested in your views on the job status of legislators in Albany. Do you think the part-time status and accompanying low pay contributes to the corruption NY politics is known for? How could we change this system?

Tim_Wu5 karma

Yes -- people have been trying to change this since the 19th century and they keep failing. Too many people go into New York politics in pursuit of a small buck. If it was a fulltime, well paid position, it would attract much better candidates.

forcemon2 karma

How will you combat big banks and big cable and the other monopolies? How will you combat corruption?

Tim_Wu4 karma

Corruption: Reform campaign finance. Enforce the laws.

Big entities: enforce the antitrust laws.

two_off2 karma

What are you doing in your campaigning to get more young voters to the polls?

Tim_Wu4 karma

Went to Young Manhattan Democrats today to campaign and encourage people to come out. Come September, we're hoping to get friendly campus Democrat groups to get out the vote.

If young democrats vote on Sept 9, we win. Its as simple as that.

velinath2 karma

Oh, wow. I didn't know you guys were doing an AMA. I've been a supporter of your campaign since I found out you were running.

I'm a Buffalo resident, and am wondering how I as an individual can help you gain exposure in New York in order to put together a serious challenge in the primary. Any thoughts on how people here can help increase your name recognition?

Tim_Wu2 karma

I'm working hard to get to Buffalo -- I need an invite basically! Hopefully I'll be there next week or the week after.

As for name recognition, I think we need a song.

"Wu Wu Wu ---- Teaaaccccchhhhhout. Wu Wu Wu --- Teeeaaacccchhhout"

How is that? Needs music.

AtSoapboxO2 karma

How have the successes and failures of various Tea Party candidates like David Brat (taking down Cantor) influenced your strategy and approach?

Tim_Wu2 karma

Obviously! Main think about David Brat is that he won with the help of the Internet, not millions in cash. I don't agree with his politics, but I'm inspired by his methods.

Speefy2 karma

How do you plan to approach the MTA when it comes to fiscal responsibility? Cuomo has time and time again raided MTA funding. New York City residents are forced to bear a larger portion of the overall funding (41% on the 2013-2016 financial disclosure, seen here) as opposed to other public transit systems where the fare contributes to a significantly lower percentage.

See this article for some history on some of Albany's past actions.

Tim_Wu3 karma

Yes! Amen! MTA, as Zephyr puts it, does not spell ATM but it has been treated that way.

I can think of few things more worth spending money on than the MTA, upon which so many people depend day in and day out. Making it better simply makes people's lives better, immediately.

tapedeck842 karma

I do not currently do anything in politics. That is, I work in a completely different field and have never volunteered for a political campaign or anything. The most I have ever done is research candidates and issues before voting.

That said, do you think it is possible for somebody to run for office without being part of that process in the past?

If so, assuming I wanted to run for office at any level, what would you suggest for me to do in order to get started?

If not, do you think that is part of the problem with politics? In order to get involved you need to already be indoctrinated in how to play political games...

Tim_Wu3 karma

Yes! If you develop the relevant skills (public speaking, etc.), it is always possible to run as an outsider. I offer myself as an example.