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Cuomo asks New Yorkers to help him fix Albany

ALBANY –- Governor-elect Andrew M. Cuomo, who has taken a mostly low public profile since his election win eight days ago, today toured a downstate state prison and a state psychiatric facility as his campaign released a three-minute video in which the Democrat thanks -– repeatedly -– New Yorkers.

But, in setting up what could be a bruising session come January, Cuomo asks residents to get involved “and be part of this effort" to tackle the problems in Albany.

“Only you can hold your local legislators accountable," Cuomo said in the video.

Cuomo vowed to turn his campaign promises into action. “I heard and understand your pain from this economy and from your frustration with this government. ... We are going to clean up Albany and restore competence and integrity," Cuomo said.

"The special interests that control Albany will not give up without a fight," the governor-elect said in a television ad his campaign says will air statewide on Thursday evening. It can be viewed below.

“I will never betray your trust," Cuomo vowed.

Earlier in the day, Cuomo began what he said will be a statewide tour of state government facilities. His first stop was Sing Sing prison, which had been home to “Old Sparky" when New York had a death penalty. Sing Sing was also the site of a 1983 prison riot shortly after Mario Cuomo, the governor-elect’s father, took office as governor.

“It was very frightening. I remember like it was yesterday," Cuomo recalled of the 1983 episode. (He was a special assistant to his father at the time, and Tim Russert, who was Mario Cuomo’s communications director, served as the face of the administration during the uprising.)

Cuomo dismissed a published report with criticism by Rev. Al Sharpton for a lack of diversity in his transition team. “I don’t know how you can complain about something that hasn’t been formed yet," Cuomo said of his transition committee. He said he plans on having “the most diverse" administration in state history.

Asked by a reporter after the Sing Sing visit about “rumblings of an engagement" –- Cuomo’s girlfriend is Sandra Lee, a Food Network show host -- Cuomo said, “I haven’t heard those rumblings."

Cuomo said he will take his state facility tour upstate sometime next week.

--Tom Precious


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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri |

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski |