After teasing about the possibility for months, former Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon confirmed she’s running for governor of New York on Monday.
“I love New York, and today I’m announcing my candidacy for governor. Join us,” she tweeted alongside a two-minute video.
“New York is my home. I’ve never lived anywhere else,” she says in the voiceover, noting that she grew up with her single mom in a one bedroom fifth-floor walkup.
“I was given chances I just don’t see for most of New York’s kids today,” she also said. “Our leaders are letting us down.”
Later in the video, she says that while she loves her home state, “something has to change.”
If Nixon wins, she’ll be the first openly gay woman to hold the position.
“Women have to lead and speak up,” Nixon told PEOPLE exclusively in March.
“I just think we need to have more people of color and women and LGBT people not just represented — but leading,” said the 51-year-old mom of three at the time. “If we want to fix our world, they know what’s wrong with it because they’ve been on the short end of the stick.”
Her Sex and the City costar Kristin Davis tweeted her support and excitement on Monday, writing, “I am so proud of @CynthiaNixon , no one cares more than she does about EVERY person getting a fair change and a good education. I know that she would be an excellent Governor !”
Rosie O’Donnell tweeted support for Nixon’s run just after she announced it.
“CYNTHIA NIXON FOR GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK ! #myFULLsupport – she is one of kind – brilliant – brave bold and so smart – a true leader #Nixon4NY
The SATC alum — who has been involved in advocacy work for the LGBT community and education for more than a decade, as well as the current women’s movements — will battle current Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, who has served two terms, in the Democratic primary.
Nixon has primed herself for the fight by being a vocal critic of his educational policies.
“Basically, Gov. Cuomo is shortchanging the children of New York State,” she said during an April appearance on The View last year.
She accused Cuomo of being the main cause of the divide between the state’s “richest” and “poorest schools.”
Motivated in part by having her own three children – Samantha, 20, Charles Ezekiel, 14, and Max Ellington, 6 – currently or previously attending public schools, Nixon has dedicated much of her time to fighting on behalf of other parents with children in the system as a spokesperson for New York’s Alliance for Quality Education (a public school advocacy organization representing parents and communities).
“I’ve been involved in fighting for more equitable school funding across New York state and in New York City as well for 15 years,” Nixon said on The View.
“As a public school Mom and a member of the Alliance for Quality Education, Cynthia has consistently been on the front line in the fight for our public schools,” Billy Easton, executive director of AQE, told PEOPLE in a statement in Aug. 2017. “She knows her way around New York State politics, is a very thoughtful and intelligent leader and brings a pizzazz that would really excite voters.”
She’s expected to make education a centerpiece of her campaign.
“I think there are a lot of people who would like me to run for a variety of reasons,” Nixon told Today‘s Take co-hosts Al Roker, Dylan Dreyer and guest host John Cena, when she addressed the possibility of running. “And I think the No. 1 is education.”
Anyone who doubted the actress’s seriousness in placing a bid hasn’t paid attention to the signs.
In early March she visited with Democratic strategists Bill Hyers and Rebecca Katz, who served as advisers to Cuomo’s political adversary Mayor Bill de Blasio, according to The New York Times. She’s also been studying important issues like the problems facing the New York City subway system.
Before that, she championed Bill de Blasio during his campaign for New York City mayor. When he won, she was named to the advisory board for the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. Nixon also campaigned on behalf of President Obama‘s re-election campaign in multiple states.
“Cynthia will make a phenomenal candidate,” Democratic strategist and former DNC chief Donna Brazile told PEOPLE in a statement about her potential run. “She’s wicked smart, knows the issues and has campaigned for everyone from city council to the Presidency.”
In a Jan. 2018 opinion piece for CNN.com, Nixon criticized the multiple failings of the Trump administration and listed ways in which the American people can reclaim their country.
“If we’ve learned anything during this first year of the Trump presidency, it’s that the cavalry isn’t coming to save us,” she wrote. “We ourselves are the cavalry. In 2018, each one of us has to do whatever we can to take the government back. If we want change, we have to go out ourselves and seize it.”