Andrew Cuomo on Government Reform

Democratic Governor


COVID briefings: information, transparency, confidence

[On COVID]: We would provide unbiased factual evidence explaining the virus and its progress. A single day's briefing means little, but constant reinforcement and updated factual data could present a story that the public could follow. Besides, matters of life and death tend to get people's attention. The main challenge for me was to communicate this data to the public in a way that would establish my credibility for providing timely information with transparency while also instilling confidence.
Source: American Crisis, by Andrew Cuomo, p.24 , Oct 13, 2020

Make it easy to vote, instead of voter disenfranchisement

Let's pass a democracy agenda. Talk about voter disenfranchisement--why do the polls open at noon in a primary in upstate New York but 6 a.m. in Downstate New York? Let's give every person the right to vote. Make it easy to vote. If we want people to vote, why not make Election Day a holiday and give them the time to come out and actually vote?
Source: 2019 State of the State address to the New York legislature , Jan 15, 2019

I believe in a collective vision, not individual outcomes

The first question in presidential debates should be "what is your vision for American society? How do you see American society growing and evolving?" You can have a concept of American society that is more individual based where the individualist primarily, if not exclusively, responsible for that individuals' outcomes. Or you can have a vision of a society which is more of a collective or more of a cooperative, with more sharing and people help one another to succeed in more of a sharing relationship. Those are two very different visions. They are both defensible visions.

I believe in the collective model. I do. I believe most people do by the way. I believe in the expansive view of government with expansive functions because once you say a collective model, the vehicle to enact that is government. because what is government? Government is not some alien being. Government is us. I believe that we, through government, can actually make this happen.

Source: Speech at Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership , Nov 17, 2015

Campaign contributions only for election-related expenses

Proposal #61: Pass real campaign finance reform to reduce the influence of money on our government: New York's laws regarding how campaign funds can be spent are among the most lax in the nation, allowing candidates and former public officials to spend funds on personal expenses with no real connection to candidacy or public office. Under the Governor's reforms, contributions could be used only for expenses that are directly related to elections or public duties. Expenditures for the exclusive personal benefit of the candidate or office-holder would be prohibited and a long list of expressly prohibited expenditures would be memorialized in statute.
Source: State of the State address to 2015 New York Legislature , Jan 21, 2015

Liberals believed that government could solve all problems

It took the White House and Congress just a few months to establish monumental programs like Model Cities, Head Start, Medicare, and Medicaid, and the Job Corps, and to pass the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that gave federal money to public schools for the first time. Democrats and liberals had a bedrock belief in the idea that the government could correct even the most otherwise intractable problems. They passed laws and established initiatives to ban literary tests at the polls, wipe out rural poverty, and force integration. The gospel was that government could solve all.
Source: All Things Possible, by Andrew Cuomo, p. 18 , Oct 14, 2014

As HUD Secretary, addressed poverty and homelessness

I became assistant secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development--an appointment that scaled up my model for addressing homelessness to the national level. I traveled with the president as he led an effort, during a time of prosperity, to put poverty back on the front burner--to shine a light on "places left behind" in the new economy. I also set out to help save an agency Republicans had written off.
Source: All Things Possible, by Andrew Cuomo, p. 7 , Oct 14, 2014

Used campaign funds for defense lawyer, legally

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's use of his $35 million campaign war chest to represent his office in the ongoing Moreland Commission saga has drawn concern from at least one Democratic lawmaker in the state Senate as well as good-government groups.

"I would prefer we had a different law on our books," said Manhattan Sen. Liz Krueger. "I would prefer we would establish some standard for creating defense funds with specific rules attached and people if they choose can contribute to those. That's the federal model. Campaign funds should be spent on the electoral campaign."

Krueger is one of the co-sponsors of a measure that would restrict the use of campaign funds for spending on criminal defense attorneys. She added that Cuomo's use of his campaign account to hire white-collar criminal lawyer Elkan Abramowitz is a legal avenue for the governor. "The governor does appear to be using some of his money for a lawyer. There's nothing illegal about it. It is the law of N.Y. state that he can do so," Kureger said.

Source: NY State of Politics OpEd: 2014 New York Governor race , Aug 5, 2014

Committed to campaign finance reform

To secure the last-minute endorsement of the powerful progressive Working Family Party, which had previously favored Teachout, Cuomo was forced to make a series of pledges supported by progressives, including commitments to support a higher minimum wage and campaign finance reform. To secure the last-minute endorsement of the powerful progressive Working Family Party, which had previously favored Teachout, Cuomo was forced to make a series of pledges supported by progressives, including commitments to support a higher minimum wage and campaign finance reform.
Source: Epoch Times on 2014 New York State Governor's race , Jul 8, 2014

Allow municipalities to regulate puppy mills

S3753L To allow municipalities to regulate pet dealers as long as the law, rule, regulation, or ordinance is not less stringent than state law.

Summary by Animal Law Coalition: The New York state legislature has passed a measure, A. 740-A/S. 3753-A that will allow municipalities to regulate puppy mills. Under current law only the Department of Agriculture and Markets can regulate "pet dealers" which are basically dog and cat breeders.

Legislative Outcome: Passed Assembly 120-21-6 on Jun/16/13; Passed Senate 53-10-0 on Jun/21/13; Signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Jan/10/14.

Source: Animal Law Coalition on New York voting record S3753 , Jan 10, 2014

Adopt NYC's public campaign finance system statewide

Public Financing of State Elections: New York City's existing public financing matching system, the Campaign Finance Program (CFP) administered by the Campaign Finance Board, provides the ideal model for statewide reform.

New York's public financing system need not be a burden on its taxpayers. The system should be funded, in whole or in substantial part, from sources beyond general revenues from taxpayers. Furthermore, under the State campaign finance program, candidates should be required to agree to participate in debates in order to receive public financing.

New York State's contribution limits for candidates must be lowered generally, with even lower limits for those candidates who receive the benefits of public matching financing. Large contributions to and transfers from political party committee accounts are currently unlimited and should be limited. The current annual limit on aggregate contributions from a contributor to a party or constituted committee should be reduced.

Source: NY Rising 2013 State of the State booklet , Jan 9, 2013

Create early voting system for one week, including weekend

Early voting is a form of insurance [against election-day disruptions like] Superstorm Sandy. New York has consistently ranked 47 in the nation or worse in voter turnout. Early voting is one of the most important steps necessary to improve voter turnout by making voting more convenient.

New York should create an early voting system that is at least one week long, and includes the weekend before a scheduled Election Day. Longer periods of early voting have not shown to be correlated to greater voter turnout, and New York should strike a balance that optimizes convenience for voters without creating unnecessary administrative burdens.

Having satellite polling locations open on a weekend is essential for those individuals whose work and child care schedules do not accommodate taking time off to vote. Furthermore, people focus their attention on elections closer to Election Day, so having early voting available during a weekend near Election Day is critical to a successful system.

Source: NY Rising 2013 State of the State booklet , Jan 9, 2013

Public Integrity Reform Act: state ethics disclosures

We passed ethics reforms to restore trust in government. The Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011 contains some of the most comprehensive ethics improvements enacted in state government. Among other things, it requires state officials to disclose outside clients and customers, requires a detailed disclosure of officials' income and assets, creates a database of all individuals and firms that represent clients before state agencies, requires all lobbyists and clients of lobbyists to disclose all business relationships with public officials, and broadens the definition of lobbying. And it strips public officials convicted of a felony in relation to their office from receiving their taxpayer-funded pension.
Source: 2012 New York State of the State Address , Jan 4, 2012

Supports campaign finance reform as fair to all candidates

In order to restore trust and accountability in government, we must reform the ballot box. The State's campaign finance laws fail to prevent the dominance of wealthy contributors and special interests in government. Campaign finance reform must include a system of public funding of elections. The State needs a system of campaign financing to set limits on campaign spending and increase participation by candidates who otherwise would lack the means or connections to raise campaign funds.
Source: N. Y. 2011 gubernatorial press release "Assets SOS2011" , Jan 5, 2011

Tough new ethics standards & expand disclosure requirements

We must restore honor & integrity to government, with tough new ethics standards, expanded disclosure requirements, independent investigators to root out & punish corruption, & an overhaul of campaign finance laws. We must remove legislative redistrictin from partisan elected politicians & place it in the hands of an independent commission that works only for the people. And we must hold a constitutional convention--A People's Convention--to rewrite the Constitution and make these changes immediately.
Source: 2010 Gubernatorial campaign website, andrewcuomo.com , Nov 2, 2010

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

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

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

End “government for sale” with public financing of campaigns

Cuomo demanded changes to end “government for sale.” He proposed that donors be allowed to give a candidate no more than $2,000 per race. He called for public financing of campaigns and capping spending per candidate at $2.5 million for primaries & $7 million for the general election. He said an entity with a state contract should be banned from giving money to the official who awarded the contract, & an entity giving a donation would be barred from receiving a contract from that official.
Source: Ruth Bashinsky/Joel Siegel, New York Daily News , Mar 24, 2002

Cannot be both a state vendor & campaign donor

Cuomo said contributions should be limited to $2,000 per election for statewide office and $1,500 for state legislators. He said state contractors should be banned from making political contributions for two years after being awarded a contract and shoul two years of giving a contribution to an official who controls such contracts. “To be blunt, you should not be both a campaign donor and a state vendor. It is a blatant conflict of interest.”
Source: Karen Matthews, Associated Press , Mar 21, 2002

Other governors on Government Reform: Andrew Cuomo on other issues:
NY Gubernatorial:
Andrew Giuliani
Andrew Yang
Bill de Blasio
Cynthia Nixon
Eric Adams
George Pataki
Howie Hawkins
John DeFrancisco
Kathy Hochul
Kirsten Gillibrand
Larry Sharpe
Lee Zeldin
Letitia James
Marc Molinaro
Mike Bloomberg
Rob Astorino
Shaun Donovan
Tom Suozzi
Zephyr Teachout
NY Senatorial:
Alex Merced
Charles Schumer
Chele Farley
Dave Webber
Kirsten Gillibrand
Marc Molinaro
Scott Noren
Wendy Long
Gubernatorial Debates 2021:
CA Recall:
S.D.Mayor Kevin_Faulconer(R)
vs.Former Gov. nominee John Cox(R)
vs.Former U.S.Rep Doug Ose(R)
vs.Laura Smith(R)
vs.Former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner(R)
vs.Radio Host Larry Elder(R)
vs.Kevin Paffrath(D)
vs.Gavin Newsom(D)
NJ: Incumbent Phil Murphy(D)
vs.State Rep. Jack Ciattarelli(R)
vs.Candidate Hirsh Singh(R)
vs.GOP Chair Doug Steinhardt(R)
VA: Incumbent Ralph Northam(D,term-limited)
vs.Former Governor Terry McAuliffe(D)
vs.CEO Glenn Youngkin(R)
vs.A.G. Mark Herring(D)
vs.State Sen. Amanda Chase(I)
vs.Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax(D)
vs.State Rep. Jennifer Carroll Foy(D)
vs.State Rep. Lee Carter(D)
vs.State Sen. Jennifer McClellan(D)
vs.State Rep. Kirk Cox(R)
vs.CEO Pete Snyder(R)

Gubernatorial Debates 2023:
KY: Incumbent Andy Beshear(D)
vs.Former Gov. Matt Bevin(? R)

vs.Senator Rand Paul(? R)
vs.State Auditor Mark Harmon(R)
LA: Incumbent John Bel Edwards(D,term-limited)
vs.Biden Adviser Cedric Richmond(? D)
vs.Senator John Neely Kennedy(? R)
MS: Incumbent Tate Reeves(R)
vs.Bill Waller(R)

Gubernatorial Debates 2022:
AK: Incumbent Mike Dunleavy(R)
vs.Bill Walker(I)
vs.Les Gara(D)
vs.Billy Toien(L)
AL: Incumbent Kay Ivey(R)
vs.Chris Countryman(D)
vs.Stacy Lee George(R)
vs.Ambassador Lynda Blanchard(R)
AR: Incumbent Asa Hutchinson(R,term-limited)
vs.Trump Adviser Sarah Huckabee Sanders(R)
vs.A.G. Leslie Rutledge(R,withdrew Nov.2021)
vs.Ricky Dale Harrington(L)
vs.Anthony Bland(D)
AZ: Incumbent Doug Ducey(R,term-limited)
Mayor Marco Lopez(D)
vs.Former news anchor Kari Lake(R)
vs.Secretary of State Katie Hobbs(D)
vs.State Treasurer Kimberly Yee(R)
vs.U.S.Rep.Matt Salmon(R)
vs.Steve Gaynor(R)
vs.State Rep.Aaron Lieberman(D)
vs.Jorge Rivas(R)
vs.Karrin Taylor Robson(R)
CA: Incumbent Gavin Newsom(D)
vs.S.D.Mayor Kevin_Faulconer(R)
vs.Former Gov. nominee John Cox(R)
vs.Kevin Paffrath(D)
CO: Incumbent Jared Polis(D)
vs.Mayor Greg Lopez(R)
vs.Heidi Ganahl(R)
CT: Incumbent Ned Lamont(D)
vs.Bob Stefanowski(? R)
FL: Incumbent Ron DeSantis(R)
vs.Former Gov.Charlie Crist(D)
vs.Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried(D)
vs.Annette Taddeo(D)
GA: Incumbent Brian Kemp(R)
vs.Minority Leader Stacey Abrams(D)
vs.Senate candidate Shane Hazel(L)
vs.State Rep.Vernon Jones(R)
vs.2020 candidate Kandiss Taylor(R)
vs.Senator David Perdue(R)
HI: Incumbent David Ige(D,term-limited)
vs.Marissa Kerns(R)
vs.Lt.Gov.Josh Green(D)
vs.Vicky Cayetano(D)
vs.Paul Morgan(R)
vs.State Rep.Kirk Caldwell(D)
IA: Incumbent Kim Reynolds(R)
vs.Deidre DeJear(D)
vs.State Rep.Ras Smith(D)
ID: Incumbent Brad Little(R)
vs.Raul Labrador(R)
vs.Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin(R)
vs.Ammon Bundy(R)
vs.Ed Humphreys(R)
IL: Incumbent J.B. Pritzker(D)
vs.State Sen.Darren Bailey(R)
vs.Paul Schimpf(R)
vs.Jesse Sullivan(R)
KS: Incumbent Laura Kelly(D)
vs.Jeff Colyer(R)
vs.State Sen.Derek Schmidt(R)
vs.Chase LaPorte(R)
Gubernatorial Debates 2022 (continued):
MA: Incumbent Charlie Baker(R)
vs.Lt.Gov.Karyn Polito(R)
vs.State Rep. Geoff Diehl(R)
vs.Harvard Professor Danielle Allen(D)
vs.State Sen.Ben Downing(D)
vs.State Sen.Sonia Chang-Diaz(D)
vs.Shiva Ayyadurai(I)
MD: Incumbent Larry Hogan(R,term-limited)
vs.State Del.Robin Ficker(R) vs.State Del.Peter Franchot(D) vs.State Del.Kelly M. Schulz(R) vs.Secretary John B. King(D) vs.Ashwani Jain(D) vs.State A.G. Doug Gansler(D) vs.County Exec. Rushern Baker(D) vs.Secretary Thomas Perez(D) vs.Wes Moore(D) vs.Dan Cox(R)
ME: Incumbent Janet Mills(D)
vs.Former Gov. Paul LePage(R)
MI: Incumbent Gretchen Whitmer(D)
vs.Chief James Craig(R)
vs.Police Chief Tudor Dixon(R)
vs.Garrett Soldano(R)
vs.John E. James(? R)
MN: Incumbent Tim Walz(DFL)
vs.Mayor Mike Murphy(R)
vs.State Sen.Scott Jensen(R)
vs.Michelle Benson(R)
vs.Paul Gazelka(R)
NE: Incumbent Pete Ricketts(R,term-limited)
vs.U.S.Senator Bob Krist(R)
vs.Chuck Herbster(R)
vs.Jim Pillen(R)
vs.Brett Lindstrom(R)
vs.Carol Blood(D)
NH: Incumbent Chris Sununu(R)
vs.Dan Feltes(D)
vs.Karen Testerman(R)
NM: Incumbent Michelle Lujan Grisham(D)
vs.Commissioner Jay Block(R)
vs.State Rep.Rebecca Dow(R)
vs.Mark Ronchetti(R)
NV: Incumbent Steve Sisolak(D)
vs.A.G.Adam Laxalt(R)
vs.North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee(R)
vs.Dean Heller(R)
vs.Joe Lombardo(R)
vs.Mayor Michele Fiore(R)
NY: Incumbent Andrew Cuomo(D,resigned)
vs.Acting Gov.Kathy Hochul(D)
vs.Rob Astorino(R)
vs.Andrew Giuliani(R)
vs.US.Rep.Lee Zeldin(R)
vs.Tom Suozzi(D)
vs.Attorney General Letitia James(D)
OH: Incumbent Mike DeWine(R)
vs.Former Rep.Jim Renacci(R)
vs.Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley(D)
vs.Mayor John Cranley(D)
OK: Incumbent Kevin Stitt(R)
vs.State Sen. Ervin Yen(R)
vs.Connie Johnson(D)
vs.Joy Hofmeister(D)
OR: Incumbent Kate Brown(D,term-limited)
vs.Gov. nominee Bud Pierce(R)
vs.Paul Romero(R)
vs.Casey Kulla(D)
vs.Kerry McQuisten(R)
vs.Tina Kotek(D)
vs.Nicholas Kristof(D)
vs.Tobias Read(D)
PA: Incumbent Tom Wolf(D,term-limited)
vs.U.S.Rep. Lou Barletta(R)
vs.Commissioner Joe Gale(R)
vs.A.G.Josh Shapiro(D)
vs.William McSwain(R)
vs.U.S.Rep.Melissa Hart(R)
vs.State Sen.Scott Martin(R)
RI: Incumbent Gina Raimondo(D,to Cabinet)
vs.Gov. Dan McKee(D)
vs.Secy.Matt Brown(D)
vs.Mayor Allan Fung(R ?)
vs.Luis-Daniel Munoz(D)
vs.RI Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea(D)
vs.Seth Magainer(D)
vs.Helena Foulkes(D)
SC: Incumbent Henry McMaster(R)
vs.US.Rep.Joe Cunningham(D)
vs.State senator Mia McLeod(D)
SD: Incumbent Kristi Noem(R)
vs.State Rep. Billie Sutton(? D)
TN: Incumbent Bill Lee(R)
vs.Carnita Atwater(D)
vs.J B Smiley(D)
TX: Incumbent Greg Abbott(R)
vs.Beto O`Rourke(D)
vs.Chad Prather(R)
vs.State Sen.Don Huffines(R)
vs.U.S.Rep. Allen West(R)
vs.Deidre Gilbert(D)
VT: Incumbent Phil Scott(R)
(no prospective opponents yet)
WI: Incumbent Tony Evers(D)
vs.CEO Jonathan Wichmann(R)
vs.Rebecca Kleefisch(R)
WY: Incumbent Mark Gordon(R)
vs.Rex Rammell(R)
vs.Minority Leader Chris Rothfuss(? D)
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Page last updated: Dec 31, 2021