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.