Looking back on Andrew Cuomo’s political career
At 63 years old, Andrew Cuomo’s adult life has centered on politics. Cuomo is the son of former three-term Gov. Mario Cuomo, and his wife, Matilda.
He is a 1979 graduate of Fordham University in the Bronx, and a 1982 graduate of Albany Law School.
Cuomo became an assistant DA in 1984 in New York City. Around that time, Cuomo also founded the Housing Enterprise for the Less Privileged, or “HELP,” as a way to fight homelessness.
He was appointed to HUD in 1993 during the Clinton administration as assistant secretary for Community Planning and Development, then served as HUD secretary during President Clinton’s second term from 1997-2001.
Cuomo first ran for governor in 2002 and lost. He became New York State Attorney General in 2006. In November 2010, he beat Republican Carl Paladino and became the 56th governor of New York state on January 1, 2011, succeeding David Paterson.
Over 2 ½ terms, Cuomo’s accomplishments include legalizing same-sex marriage and banning hydraulic fracturing. He also increased the minimum wage.
He faced controversy in 2014 when he closed a commission to root out government corruption. Amid allegations his administration interfered with the panel, it was announced in 2016 there was insufficient evidence to bring criminal charges.
Cuomo quickly rose to national fame at the height of the COVID pandemic. As New York City became the center of attention, Cuomo’s daily briefings, many from Albany, were televised nationally and received high praise.
However, Cuomo also came under fire for a March 2020 directive that forced nursing homes to accept recovering COVID patients. A January 2021 report from Attorney General Letitia James says 15,000 nursing home deaths were connected to that directive. However, the number Cuomo’s office cited before that was 8,500 deaths.
The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times reported that aides edited a July 2020 report, so it counted only residents who died inside long-term care facilities, and not those who died at the hospital.
Cuomo admitted more information should have been provided sooner, but asserted nothing was covered up. He also said most of the virus cases were brought in by staff members on the outside, not the people living there.
After considering an investigation into the case, the U.S. Department of Justice ultimately decided in July 2021 not to open one in New York, or three other states accused of something similar.
In December 2020, the first allegation of sexual harassment was tweeted by Lindsey Boylan, former Deputy Secretary for Economic Development and Housing. Since then, a total of 11 women have come forward with similar accusations against the governor.
A months’ long investigation by Attorney General Letitia James’ Office determined all 11 women’s stories were credible.
That led to Cuomo quickly losing support from allies on both sides of the aisle. The Assembly Judiciary Committee also began an impeachment investigation against Cuomo, leading to Tuesday news that Cuomo will resign in 14 days.