|56th Governor of New York|
January 1, 2011
|Preceded by||David Paterson|
|64th Attorney General of New York|
January 1, 2007 – December 31, 2010
|Preceded by||Eliot Spitzer|
|Succeeded by||Eric Schneiderman|
|11th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development|
January 29, 1997 – January 20, 2001
|Preceded by||Henry Cisneros|
|Succeeded by||Mel Martinez|
|Assistant Secretary of
Housing and Urban Development
|Born||Andrew Mark Cuomo
December 6, 1957
Queens, New York City,
|Spouse(s)||Kerry Kennedy (1990–2005)|
|Alma mater||Fordham University (B.A.)
Albany Law School (J.D.)
Andrew Mark Cuomo (//; born December 6, 1957) is the 56th Governor of New York. He previously served as the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1997 to 2001, and as the Attorney General of New York from 2007 to 2010. He is a member of the Democratic Party, and the son of Mario Cuomo, the 52nd Governor of New York.
Early life, education, and early career
Cuomo was born in Queens, New York, the eldest son of Matilda (née Raffa) and Governor Mario Cuomo, and is a resident of New York State. He is the older brother of CNN journalist Chris Cuomo. His parents are both of Italian descent; his paternal grandparents were from Nocera Superiore and Tramonti in South Italy, while his maternal grandparents were both from Sicily (his grandfather from Messina).
Cuomo graduated from Saint Gerard's School in 1971 and Archbishop Molloy High School in 1975. He received his B.A. from Fordham University in 1979, and his J.D. from Albany Law School in 1982. During his father's 1982 campaign for Governor, Cuomo was his top aide. He then joined the Governor's staff as one of his father's top policy advisors, earning $1 a year.
From 1984 to 1985, Cuomo was a New York assistant district attorney, and briefly worked at the law firm of Blutrich, Falcone & Miller. Cuomo founded Housing Enterprise for the Less Privileged (HELP) in 1986 and left his law firm to run HELP full-time in 1988. From 1990 to 1993, during the administration of Mayor of New York City David Dinkins, Cuomo served as Chairman of the New York City Homeless Commission, which was charged with developing policies to address the homeless issue in the city and to develop more housing options.
Secretary of HUD
Andrew Cuomo was appointed to the Department of Housing and Urban Development as Assistant Secretary in 1993, a member of President Bill Clinton's administration. After the departure of Secretary Henry Cisneros at the end of Clinton's first term under the cloud of an FBI investigation, Cuomo succeeded him as Secretary of HUD in January 1997 after being unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate, serving until 2001 when Clinton's administration ended.
In 1998, Cuomo's lauded work in the department garnered speculation that he could challenge Senator Al D'Amato, but he ultimately declined, saying that he had more things to revamp in the Department. Instead, Congressman Charles Schumer won the Democratic nomination and ultimately defeated D'Amato. Cuomo was also mentioned as a candidate for U.S. Senator in 2000, but deferred to First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. He was also on Al Gore's short list for a running mate during the 2000 presidential election.
In 2000, Cuomo led HUD efforts to negotiate an agreement with the United States' largest handgun manufacturer, Smith & Wesson, that required Smith & Wesson to change the design, distribution and marketing of guns to make them safer and to help keep them out of the hands of children and criminals. Budgets enacted during his term contained initiatives to increase the supply of affordable housing and home ownership, and to create jobs and economic development. These included new rental assistance subsidies, reforms to integrate public housing, higher limits on mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration, a crackdown on housing discrimination, expanded programs to help homeless people get housing and jobs, and creation of new Empowerment Zones.
During Cuomo's tenure as HUD Secretary, he called for an increase in home ownership. He also pushed government-sponsored lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy more home loans issued to poor homeowners, in an attempt to end discrimination against minorities. Some believe that this helped lead to the current subprime mortgage crisis. Edward J. Pinto, former chief credit officer at Fannie Mae, said "they should have known the risks were large. Cuomo was pushing mortgage bankers to make loans and basically saying you have to offer a loan to everybody." But others disagree with the assessment that Cuomo caused the crisis. Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, said Cuomo "was a contributor in terms of him being a cheerleader, but I don't think we can pin too much blame on him."
According to libertarian author and critic James Bovard, Cuomo was obsessed with changing HUD's image, as Cuomo declared, "The PR is the important thing I do...Eighty percent of the battle is communications." He championed a new program called Community Builders, created without appropriation by Congress, for 800 new HUD employees with state-of-the-art computers to be paid as much as $100,000. In a June 16, 1999, speech, Cuomo declared that one purpose of the program was to fight against HUD's abolition. In August 1999, Community Builders distributed a letter to community groups to fight against proposed tax cuts. One HUD official declared that Community Builders were seen as "Democratic ward heelers who act as a pipeline between Democratic city officials, party leaders, and the administration and the Democratic National Committee." In 1998, Clinton-appointed HUD Inspector General Susan Gaffney testified to a Senate committee that she was the victim of "'escalating' attacks on her office by Cuomo and 'his key aides,' including cooked-up charges of racism, insubordination, malfeasance, and general dirty-dealing." In 1999, Gaffney's office concluded that "most (15 out of 19) Community Builders' goals were activities rather than actual accomplishments." and that Cuomo's initiatives "had a crippling effect on many of HUD's ongoing operations."
New York Attorney General
Some expected Cuomo to run for Governor of New York again in 2006, but he decided against a run when New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer entered the race in late 2004. Cuomo declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for New York State Attorney General in 2006, and on May 30, 2006, captured the Democratic Party's endorsement, receiving 65% of the delegates. Though Cuomo won the endorsement, former New York City Public Advocate Mark J. Green, two-time candidate for lieutenant governor Charlie King, and former aide to President Clinton Sean Patrick Maloney, also earned places on the Democratic ballot. King dropped out of the race before the primary and endorsed Cuomo.
Cuomo won the primary with a majority of the vote, defeating his nearest opponent by over 20%. Clinching the Democratic party nomination was considered a significant rebound following his unsuccessful and unpopular 2002 gubernatorial campaign and at the nominating convention, June O'Neill, the Democratic chairwoman of St. Lawrence County, called him "New York's own Comeback Kid." He won the general election against the Republican nominee, former Westchester District attorney, Jeanine Pirro on November 7, 2006, winning 58% of the vote.
- Police surveillance
On July 23, 2007, Cuomo's office admonished the Spitzer administration for ordering the State Police to keep special records of then-Senate majority leader Joseph L. Bruno's whereabouts when he traveled with police escorts in New York City. At the discretion of top officials of the Spitzer administration, the New York State Police created documents meant to cause political damage to Bruno. Spitzer responded by accepting responsibility and issuing an apology to Bruno.
- Student loan inquiry
In 2007, Cuomo was active in a high-profile investigation into lending practices and anti-competitive relationships between student lenders and universities. Specifically, many universities steered student borrowers to a "preferred lender," which resulted in the borrowers' incurring higher interest rates. This led to changes in lending policy at many major American universities. Many universities also rebated millions of dollars in fees back to affected borrowers.
On June 10, 2008, Cuomo announced that three major Internet service providers (Verizon Communications, Time Warner Cable, and Sprint), would "shut down major sources of online child pornography" by no longer hosting many Usenet groups. Time Warner Cable ceased offering Usenet altogether, Sprint ended access to the alt.* hierarchy, and Verizon limited its Usenet offerings to the Big 8. The move came after Cuomo's office located 88 different newsgroups that contained child pornography.
United States Senate
After Hillary Rodham Clinton became Barack Obama's choice for U.S. Secretary of State, Governor David Paterson was charged with appointing a temporary replacement until a special election. Cuomo was seen as a leading contender for this appointment.Caroline Kennedy (the first cousin of Cuomo's ex-wife) was another leading contender, but withdrew for personal reasons two days before Paterson was set to announce his choice, leaving Cuomo and US Representative Kirsten Gillibrand as the most likely appointees. On January 23, Paterson announced he would appoint Gillibrand to the Seat.
Governor of New York
Cuomo first ran for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2002. He was initially the favorite for nomination, and led in fund-raising and polls, but his campaign took serious damage after a gaffe when Cuomo said (in reference to the aftermath of the September 11 attacks) "Pataki stood behind the leader. He held the leader's coat. He was a great assistant to the leader. But he was not a leader. Cream rises to the top, and Rudy Giuliani rose to the top." The remarks were widely derided, and even his father Mario later admitted it was a blunder.
On the eve of the state convention, Cuomo withdrew from consideration after concluding that he had little chance of support as opposed to the favored party candidate, State Comptroller Carl McCall. McCall went on to lose the general election to George Pataki
On September 18, 2009, advisors to President Barack Obama informed Governor David Paterson that the President believed he should withdraw his 2010 gubernatorial candidacy, stepping aside for "popular Attorney General Andrew Cuomo." On January 23, 2010, the New York Daily News reported that Cuomo would announce plans for a gubernatorial campaign at the end of March. Later reports indicated Cuomo would announce his gubernatorial campaign coinciding with the state Democratic Convention in late May. On May 22, 2010, Cuomo announced his run for Governor in a video posted to his campaign website. Cuomo announced his choice for Lt. Governor on May 26, 2010: Mayor of Rochester, Robert Duffy.
In the November 2, 2010, general election, Cuomo faced Republican Carl Paladino, a Buffalo-based businessman who had been heavily supported by the Tea Party movement. Cuomo won the election for Governor, winning 62% of the vote.
During his first year as Governor, Cuomo worked to pass an on-time budget that cut spending without raising taxes, made a new deal with a large state-employee union, signed ethics reform legislation, passed a property tax cap, worked to enact a same-sex marriage bill with bipartisan support, and restructured New York's tax code. There has been media speculation about a 2016 presidential run.
- Runaway youth controversy
In early 2011, Cuomo came under criticism for proposing cutting all funding for New York State programs that support homeless and runaway youth from $6.1 million to $2.3 million: a level not seen since the 1980s. The 70% cut from two years before would leave thousands of youth in New York City without shelter. Carl Siciliano, who runs a New York shelter, said "Governor Cuomo's budget proposal is bad news for the 1,600 homeless LGBT youth stranded on the streets of New York each night without access to a shelter bed. These youth, who suffer horribly and whose lives are in danger, deserve the attention and concern of their governor no less than the other members of our community." Critics also pointed out that according to the US Justice Department, one in three runaway teens without a place to sleep is forced into prostitution within 48 hours.
- Same-sex marriage
In keeping with a campaign promise, Cuomo signed same-sex marriage legislation on June 24, 2011, following an "intense public and private lobbying campaign." After same-sex marriage legislation passed the New York State Senate, Cuomo remarked, "The other states look to New York for the progressive direction... What we said today is, you look to New York once again. New York made a powerful statement, not just for the people of New York, but for people all across this nation." In a post-vote press release, he added, "New York has finally torn down the barrier that has prevented same-sex couples from exercising the freedom to marry and from receiving the fundamental protections that so many couples and families take for granted... With the world watching, the Legislature, by a bipartisan vote, has said that all New Yorkers are equal under the law. With this vote, marriage equality will become a reality in our state, delivering long overdue fairness and legal security to thousands of New Yorkers."
Cuomo was lauded for his efforts to pass same-sex marriage legislation. One prominent same-sex marriage advocate stated that "for gay Americans, Mr. Cuomo was "the only national politician with hero status." In the fall of 2011, Cuomo made a speech calling for all states to legalize same-sex marriage; Cuomo stated that "We need marriage equality in every state in this nation... Otherwise, no state really has marriage equality, and we will not rest until it is a reality." Following the passage of the Marriage Equality Act, Cuomo was criticized for describing the viewpoints of same-sex marriage opponents as being "anti-American." On July 25, 2011, a lawsuit was filed in the New York Supreme Court seeking an injunction against the Marriage Equality Act, alleging corruption and violations of the law in the process of passing the bill. The trial court held that the plaintiffs' case could proceed, stating that "clear arm-twisting by the Executive on the Legislative permeate[d the] entire process" by which the same-sex marriage law was passed.
- Public employees
On July 16, 2011, Cuomo finalized a five-year deal with the Public Employees Federation to end pay raises, implement furlough days, and require additional contributions to health insurance accounts. In an interview with The New York Times, Cuomo stated his top goal in 2012 is the reduction of public employee pensions.
Cuomo received accolades for his 2011 restructuring of the New York State tax code. Cuomo also received criticism for including tax increases for high earners, and for allegedly requesting a unanimous Assembly vote in favor of the proposal and threatening to campaign against Assembly members who voted "no" - a charge Cuomo denied. Cuomo also received criticism from voices on the left who felt that the Governor's tax reform was not far-reaching enough.
- Hurricane Sandy
After the October-November 2012 storm, many New York citizens were left without homes. Cuomo worked with President Barack Obama and Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, which was also hit by Sandy. With help from state government, Cuomo also allowed New Yorkers to cast provisional ballots for the 2012 election anywhere in the state. "Just because you're displaced doesn't mean you should be disenfranchised.", Cuomo said.
- Gun control
On January 15, 2013, in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Cuomo signed the NY SAFE Act into law. He has described the law as the toughest gun control law in the United States.
Cuomo was married to Kerry Kennedy, the seventh child of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Skakel Kennedy, for 13 years. They have three children: Cara, Michaela and Mariah. The two separated in 2003 and divorced in 2005. As of 2011[update], Cuomo lived with his girlfriend, Food Network host Sandra Lee.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Andrew Cuomo|
- Governor Andrew M. Cuomo official state government site
- Andrew Cuomo for New York Governor official campaign site
- Biography at the National Governors Association
- Biography, interest group ratings, public statements, vetoes and campaign finances at Project Vote Smart
- Issue positions and quotes at On the Issues
- Campaign contributions at FollowTheMoney.org
- Appearances on C-SPAN programs
- Appearances on Charlie Rose programs
- Appearances at the Internet Movie Database
- Collected news and commentary at The New York Times
- Collected news and commentary at The Washington Post
- Collected news and commentary at The Wall Street Journal
- Works by or about Andrew Cuomo in libraries (WorldCat catalog)