Jan 03, 2011 — Andrew Cuomo is now New York's 56th Governor. In a simple ceremony before around 200 family, friends, and top aides at the State Capitol, he vowed to restore trust in government. Karen DeWitt was there.
Cuomo told the gathering of extended family, aides and friends, that the austere ceremony was appropriate, because of the widespread suffering from the economy and the general disappointment with state lawmakers.
In his speech, he promised to restore faith in government, saying the people have been “betrayed,” and “abandoned” to the special interests that control Albany.
“The words ‘government in Albany’ have become a national punch line, and the joke is on us,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo took some immediate steps, both concrete and symbolic, to open up government. Workers removed barriers set up around the Capitol. The new governor then held a ribbon cutting ceremony to open up the long closed section of the second floor of the Capitol, known as the “fort” or the “bunker”, which includes the historic Hall of Governors, and Cuomo’s own offices. Cuomo says the Capitol should be a “monument to Democracy.”
“One of the problems with the government in Albany, in my opinion, is it’s been controlled by the special interests and not the people,” Cuomo said. “And that’s going to change starting today.”
The new governor also touched on the key elements of his agenda, calling for a property tax cap and what he calls the “right sizing” of government. Afterwards, he said taxes and spending have become “unsustainable.”
“People can’t afford to pay any more taxes,” Cuomo said. “Period.”
Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy was also sworn in at the ceremony, as well as Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. Duffy urged everyone to “pull together” to support the new governor, in what he admits will be a difficult task, remaking state government.
Cuomo will deliver more details of how he intends to fix New York in his State of the State message on Wednesday. Cuomo says the state is nearly “at a point of no return”, and there’s no time to waste.