Andrew Cuomo in Crossroads, by Andrew Cuomo

On Civil Rights: Our housing stock remains largely segregated

During my tenure as HUD secretary, I was responsible for enforcing antidiscrimination laws and was outraged at the continued violations and our nation's apparent complacency. The fact remains that an African America earning $60,000 is more likely to be turned down for a home loan that a white person earing $40,000. Our housing stock remains largely segregated, as do our schools. To compound this problem our enforcement of civil rights, fair housing, and equal employment laws is lax at best.

Democrats should champion racial and ethnic justice and bring a new diligence and drive in enforcing the antidiscrimination laws.

Source: Crossroads, by Andrew Cuomo, p. 77 Oct 14, 2003

On Education: Vouchers undermine existing public schools

Republicans stress lack of accountability while Democrats claim inadequate resources. Democrats must stick to their principles of supporting our public schools, but they also must not be afraid to embrace new solutions and increased accountability to improve them.

Vouchers for private school are not the panacea that the Republicans would have people believe, and they threaten to undermine our existing public schools. Charter schools hold selective promise, but are only a part of the answer. We must embrace comprehensive reform of our public school system that does not continually seek, as the Republicans often do, simply to remove children from, or undermine, those systems.

We must be willing to close persistently failing schools that have not responded to help, in favor of new schools with new staff and new approaches. Democrats are the party of public education and therefore we must be the party that demands the most from public education.

Source: Crossroads, by Andrew Cuomo, p. 72 Oct 14, 2003

On Education: Universal 3-K: pre-school for all 3-year-olds

In addition to efforts to provide pre-kindergarten more universally, pilot programs in some states have shown that learning can and should begin at age 3. Several states have also launched comprehensive reforms to their child care delivery systems to provide subsidized early education as part of the state-funded day care programs. Universal pre-K for 4 year olds should be realized as soon as possible across the country; but our ambitions for our children should extend beyond that to providing "Universal 3-K" for all of our 3 year olds as well. Early education is good for our children, but it's also good for our nation.
Source: Crossroads, by Andrew Cuomo, p. 73 Oct 14, 2003

On Energy & Oil: Repower old power plants to increase efficiency

Greenhouse gas emissions--principally CO2--have accelerated a global warming trend that threatens our agricultural and tourism industries and produces harmful health effects.

The truth is that technology has provided several ways to increase our energy supply dramatically while preserving our environment. In New York State, for example, many older power plants remain in operation despite their inefficiency and resultant polluting. A process known as "repowering" is available to retrofit these plants with new technologies that boost power production while cutting emissions dramatically. Unfortunately, neither states nor the federal government have provided support for repowering by private-sector energy companies during this credit crunch.

To address this problem, our federal and state governments should provide tax credits to existing power plants to offset the costs of repowering older, less efficient power plants with newer, cleaner, more efficient technology.

Source: Crossroads, by Andrew Cuomo, p. 75-76 Oct 14, 2003

On Energy & Oil: Our consumption of fossil fuels causes permanent changes

America is at a crossroads. We live in a time of fundamental power shifts and power vacuums, where America is the lone superpower for the 1st time, and is both the tamer and target of an unstable world. We live in a new information age where the wealth of a country depends more on the fertility of its minds than the fertility of its soil.

We are now saddled with the largest federal budget deficit on record. There are indications that our consumption and dependence on fossil fuels are causing permanent changes in our climate--perhaps minor and insignificant, perhaps major and devastating. And many of our most stubborn problems remain--race relations, poverty, failing public education, housing shortages and the widening gulf between the wealthy and everyone else.

Source: Crossroads, by Andrew Cuomo, p. xiii-xiv Oct 14, 2003

On Environment: Make a U-turn on development highway, towards sustainability

Sprawling land development is consuming the American countryside at a rate of almost 365 acres per hour. Traffic and pollution combine with this loss of pristine landscapes to undermine our quality of life, our productivity, and our public health. Democrats understand that it is time to make a U-turn on the development highway and focus once again on developing our cities and our existing suburbs with more sustainable long-term approach. That means restoring our abandoned industrial sites to productive uses, encouraging inner-city development rather than subsidizing sprawl, and developing balancing development with preservation.
Source: Crossroads, by Andrew Cuomo, p. 74 Oct 14, 2003

On Government Reform: Admit when programs become wasteful, and reform them

Republicans challenge the failed government programs that doom the Democrats' efforts. A progressive movement by definition undertakes difficult tasks, and therefore we must always be willing to experiment with new solutions and to disregard failed attempts before they become poster children for waste. Democrats should not have waited until the Gingrich revolution in 1994 to reform welfare. We ignored the data that showed that for many families, welfare was a trap that kept them in poverty. We should not have waited 30 years to reform public housing in order to construct healthy integrated communities instead of ghettos that warehoused the poor.

We became wedded to our programs and lost the principles that they were meant to implement. We must be willing to admit error, confront obsolescence, and throw out the old, tired ideas. We are only as good as our best ideas.

Source: Crossroads, by Andrew Cuomo, p. 67 Oct 14, 2003

On Government Reform: 10% consolidation tax credit for merging counties

How can Democrats be both fiscally responsible and improve services? As a candidate for governor, I proposed a consolidation tax-credit program to increase the efficiency of government, lower taxes and improve services. It worked like this: local governmental jurisdictions (like adjoining countries, for example) that consolidate services or operations would receive 2 benefits from the state above and beyond the obvious savings from higher efficiency. First, the state would provide a tax rebate to taxpaying residents of the jurisdiction(s) worth 10% of the projected savings from consolidation. Second, the local governments themselves would receive a "consolidation incentives bonus" to support local government functions. Together, these incentives would motivate residents to pressure their local elected officials to pursue consolidation in order to obtain much-needed tax relief.
Source: Crossroads, by Andrew Cuomo, p. 70-71 Oct 14, 2003

On Government Reform: Free air time for all candidates, to level the playing field

Washington has returned to the culture of influence-peddling. The Bush White House has raised more money in large, 6-figure donations than any other administration in history.

On the federal level, we must pass the next generation of campaign finance reforms. For example, we need to defend and expand our campaign finance laws to provide free air time to candidates and level the playing field for democracy. We also must eliminate the loophole in McCain-Feingold that allows people to give unlimited sums anonymously to shadow organizations that run ads for or against candidates.

Source: Crossroads, by Andrew Cuomo, p. 78 Oct 14, 2003

On Homeland Security: Dubious about new power to interrogate and detain

As a general rule, Republicans tend to overestimate national security threats and Democrats underestimate them. This is a time when most Americans would rather be safe than sorry and are more receptive to Republicans. Because Republicans have mostly been in charge at all levels of government post-9/11, the Republican response has been a blizzard of activity, not all of it helpful: the creation of a new Washington bureaucracy, daily alerts utilizing colors of the rainbow, and dubious new federal powers to detain and interrogate Americans and others indefinitely without indictment or counsel. Since September 11, Democrats have made important points concerning port defense and other isolated priorities but have failed to approach the problem with the urgency or comprehensiveness that it demands. Nor have there been any real efforts to debate the toll taken on our values and our right as a society by the new federal detention powers.
Source: Crossroads, by Andrew Cuomo, p. 68 Oct 14, 2003

On Jobs: Labor unions protect fairness at negotiation table

We believe in economic justice. We believe that anyone who works full-time should live above poverty. We believe labor unions protect fairness at the negotiation tables. Because we believe that a rising tide must lift all boats, we believe in a tax system that creates opportunities for working people and promotes economic growth; we oppose a system that is stacked in favor of the privileged few who have the wherewithal and access to put their narrow interests above the public's interest.
Source: Crossroads, by Andrew Cuomo, p. 64-65 Oct 14, 2003

On Principles & Values: To win the argument, you must make one

Democrats lost elections in 2000 and 2002 because we were lost in time. We showed little understanding of the vast changes in the world and were unresponsive to the needs of the times. We expressed no clear vision for the future. We had become the party of fear instead the party of hope--spending more time warning what Republicans would take away rather than we did on what Democrats had to offer. To voters, we seemed bloodless, soulless, and clueless. It is not because we are a party devoid of ideas, passion, or soul but because we fooled ourselves into a political strategy of timidity. In the most recent election, Democrats feared appearing in stark contrast to a popular president and thereby failed to offer a competing vision of the future. "To win the argument you must make one."
Source: Crossroads, by Andrew Cuomo, p. 58-59 Oct 14, 2003

On Principles & Values: Aggressive progressives: social/economic/racial justice

True Democrats are aggressive progressives. We challenge the status quo, norms, and biases. For Democrats, the ideal society is a purely just and compassionate society. Therefore, Democratic success means a country where no child sleeps in poverty, where there are no victims of discrimination, where everyone has clean, decent and affordable housing, where each child receives a high-quality public education, where there is a safety net for people who require assistance, and where the US is a respected beacon of democracy and freedom for every country on the globe. Of course, this is an idealistic and optimistic world-view. Therefore, the Democratic agenda is a call to arms. It is an ongoing struggle; it is a journey more than a destination.

To me, the essence of the Democratic philosophy is the concept of "justice" in the fullest sense: social justice, economic justice, and racial justice.

Source: Crossroads, by Andrew Cuomo, p. 62-63 Oct 14, 2003

On War & Peace: We did not effectively question Bush on Iraq war

In Iraq, the Democratic Party was neither a clear critic nor a proponent of the president. We did not effectively question the president's evidence and logic nor his long-term plan for nation-building at the conclusion of the military effort. Neither did we lead the charge. Mostly, we were decidedly ambivalent.
Source: Crossroads, by Andrew Cuomo, p. 60 Oct 14, 2003

On Welfare & Poverty: Founded nation's largest provider of housing for homeless

ANDREW CUOMO is a New York native. An attorney, at 28 he founded Housing Enterprise for Less Privileged (HELP), which became the nation's largest private provider of transitional housing for the homeless. He practiced law as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan and served as campaign manager for his father, Mario, Cuomo, in his successful 1982 race for governor of New York. At 39 Cuomo was named Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Clinton administration.
Source: Crossroads, by Andrew Cuomo, p. 57 Oct 14, 2003

The above quotations are from Crossroads
The Future of American Politics

by Andrew Cuomo.
Click here for other excerpts from Crossroads
The Future of American Politics

by Andrew Cuomo
Click here for other excerpts by Andrew Cuomo.
Click here for other excerpts by other Governors.
Please consider a donation to!
Click for details -- or send donations to:
1770 Mass Ave. #630, Cambridge MA 02140
(We rely on your support!)

Page last updated: Apr 25, 2013