Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo are set to be honored with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute Award for Inspired Leadership at a virtual event Wednesday evening.
Baker, a Republican, and Cuomo, a Democrat, have led their states during the coronavirus pandemic, and both were among the hardest-hit places during the first wave of infections last spring. Cuomo and Baker were credited with taking actions that helped slow the spread of the disease, including pushing people to wear masks in public and take other precautions.
The institute praised both governors for actions beyond their handling of the pandemic. It pointed to efforts by Baker to use public-private partnerships to spur economic development, overhaul the state’s regulatory environment and deliver tax relief by doubling the Earned Income Tax Credit.
It also noted Baker’s efforts to invest in K-12 education, combat the opioid crisis and expand the state’s reliance on renewable energy. And it credited his spearheading of changes at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority that were meant to improve service and stabilize the public transit agency’s finances.
Baker has come under criticism for his handling of a second surge of the coronavirus in Massachusetts, particularly his decision to allow restaurants to continue to allow indoor dining, which he didn’t allow during the initial surge. Baker has said that restaurants have taken precautions, and this week he announced that their capacity limit would be reduced from 50% to 40% as of Sunday.
The institute praised Cuomo, who first took office on January 2011, for fighting “for social, racial and economic justice for all New Yorkers.”
Under Cuomo’s leadership, New York passed a $15 minimum wage, the nation’s strongest paid family leave program and some of its strongest gun safety laws, the largest investment in education in state history and a first-in-the-nation Green New Deal for New York, the institute said.
Cuomo has been faulted for not acting sooner to shut down New York City during the early days of the pandemic and for waiting too long to require New Yorkers to wear masks. He’s also been criticized for a March 25 order that sent thousands of recovering COVID-19 patients from hospitals into nursing homes. The U.S. Justice Department is trying determine whether New York is undercounting coronavirus deaths among nursing home residents.
The Emmys started off with a bang with an unprecedented sweep by “Schitt’s Creek.” The show, which ended its six-season run this year, made history by becoming the first comedy series to sweep all the comedy categories.
And the Emmys made history again when, toward the end of the show, 24-year-old Zendaya became the youngest person to win outstanding actress in a drama series.
Here is how the Emmys unfolded. Latest news on top.
Zendaya makes history
Zendaya, 24, made history when she became the youngest person to win outstanding actress in a drama series for her role in “Euphoria.”
Tyler Perry gives memorable Governors Award speech
Movie and TV mogul Tyler Perry, the recipient of this year’s Governors Award, accepted his Emmy with a story-turned-metaphor about a homemade quilt his grandmother once gave him.
Perry later saw a similar quilt in an antique store. The salesman told him the quilt was made by a former slave who added each patch of the quilt to represent a part of her life.
Perry said the story made him so “embarrassed” about his grandmother’s quilt that he brushed off the significance of the gift.
“Here I was a person who prides myself on celebrating our heritage, our culture, and I didn’t even recognize the value in my grandmother’s quilt,” Perry said. “I dismissed her work and her story because it didn’t look like what I thought it should.”
“We are all sewing our own quilts with our thoughts, our behavior, our experiences and our memories,” he said.
Perry noted how he now owns land that once was a Confederate Army base. Now, “on that very land, black people, white people, gay, straight, lesbian, transgender, ex-cons, Latin, Asian, all of us come together working,” he said, “to add patches to a quilt that is as diverse as it can be.”
Nominee Jennifer Aniston reunites with her ‘Friends’
Jennifer Aniston, up for lead actress in a drama for “The Morning Show,” had some old “Friends” over on her big night — her “Friends” co-stars Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow.
Cox and Aniston joked that the two live together and have been roommates since 1994.
‘Black stories, Black performances and Black lives matter’
Anthony Anderson, who was nominated for lead actor in “Black-ish,” appeared in-person from the Staples Center. He told Jimmy Kimmel, “I’m still rooting for everybody Black because Black stories, Black performances and Black lives matter.”
Anderson led Kimmel in a chant of “Black lives matter,” telling the Emmys host to say it loud enough so Vice President “Mike Pence can hear it.”
Mark Ruffalo delivers rousing speech: ‘Make a plan and vote for love and compassion’
Mark Ruffalo delivered a powerful speech during his win for outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie.
“How are we going to deal and honor and take care of each other and our most vulnerable people? And we do that with love and we do that with compassion and we do that by fighting for them,” Ruffalo said to the camera. “If you have privilege, you have to fight for those who are less fortunate and more vulnerable. And that’s what’s great about America — our diversity.”
“We are stronger together when we love each other and we respect each other’s diversity,” Ruffalo said. “Are we gonna be a country of division, hated and a country only for a certain kind of people? Or are we gonna be one of love and strength and fighting for those– for all of us?”
“All of us have an American dream and the pursuit of life, and liberty, love and happiness in this great country of ours,” he said.
He urged viewers, “get out right now — make a plan and vote for love and compassion and kindness.”
Regina King, who won for lead actress in a limited series or movie, ended her speech with a similar message.
“Have a voting plan,” said King, wearing a shirt honoring slain Black woman Breonna Taylor. “Go to Ballotpedia.com, vote up the ballot.”
“Be a good human,” King said, adding, “rest in power, RBG.”
King wasn’t the only star to send a sartorial message. Emmy winners Uzo Aduba and Damon Lindelof also wore statement-making t-shirts, as did presenter Sterling K. Brown.
‘Schitt’s Creek’ wins every comedy award
“Schitt’s Creek,” which ended its six-season run this year, made history by becoming the first comedy series to sweep all the comedy categories, according to a Television Academy representative.
“Schitt’s Creek” took home the Emmys for outstanding comedy, best actor, best actress, outstanding writing for a comedy series, outstanding directing for a comedy series, best supporting actor and best supporting actress.
“Schitt’s Creek”‘s Dan Levy, who won for writing, directing and supporting actor, in his acceptance speech for best comedy urged people to register to vote and then cast their ballot — “because that is the only way that we are going to have some love and acceptance out there,” he said.
His father and “Schitt’s Creek” costar Eugene Levy, who won the best actor award, then praised his son. Dan Levy “took our fish-out-of-water story about the Rose family and transformed it into a celebration of inclusivity, a castigation of homophobia and a declaration of the power of love,” he said.
‘Television is there for you’
The Emmys this year “took a page from baseball,” Kimmel said, and “filled the seats with cardboard cutouts of the nominees.”
As COVID-19 confined everyone to their homes this year, TV became the pal we all needed, Kimmel noted in his monologue.
Television is your “big brother, sister’s sister, your momma’s family, your two dads, your three sons,” he said. “Through the good times and the ‘Breaking Bads’ … television is there for you.”