January 1, 2011

Andrew Cuomo's Inaugural: The new architect of Albany

Albany Times Union photo
Governor Andrew Cuomo gave his inaugural address today at the Capitol, and announced his plan to rebuild New York.  In his speech, he thanked those who helped him get elected; he thanked those who were elected along with him; he thanked those who came before, including his dad former Governor Mario Cuomo and our Accidental Governor David Paterson; and he thanked those with whom he'll have to work when the new administration begins in earnest next week.

He didn't divulge a lot of details (although he did mention an emergency financial plan) - those will come next Wednesday in his first State of the State address. But he made his priorities clear: jobs, a property tax cut, and cleaning up Albany. Here are some of the notable quotables from his address:
  • On why the inauguration was not a big celebration: "In my administration, this is going to be the way it works. When we actually do something and perform and help the people of the State of New York and we make government function, then we are going to have a big party and celebrate, and not before."
  • On why government leaves a bad taste in our mouths: "...people then feel betrayed by their government. That they have problems, they have needs, they look to the government and they assume the government was going to be there to help them because that’s what government is supposed to be all about... and instead they find a government that’s part of the problem rather than part of the solution." 
  • On priorities of government today: "Too often government responds to the whispers of the lobbyists before the cries of the people."
  • On deficits:  "The state faces a budget deficit and a competence deficit and an integrity deficit and a trust deficit."
  • On the enormity of what we in the Empire State are facing:  "My gray hairs are multiplying just thinking about what we have to do."
  • On his attitude: "My attitude will be constructive impatience with the status quo of Albany. We need change and we need it now...We must accomplish more, faster, smarter, and better, than we have in decades."
  • On inspiration:."President Lincoln said in this city on his way to his inauguration, “Citizens may swear allegiance to one party or the other and believe with all their might that they are right, but once an election is passed, and until the next election, they should be one people.” President Lincoln’s words are profound. We are not first Democrats, Republicans, or Independents. We are first New Yorker and we must act that way."
  • On calling us on the carpet: "Where are the people? Where are the people in Albany? Where are the people in the Capitol? That is the profound absence in this system. The people aren’t engaged. And that is what is going to have to change. If there is a silver bullet in the battle to recapture Albany, it is the re-engagement of our citizens." 
  • On transparency: "We will be opening up the second floor, the Governor’s floor, so the members of the public will once again have access to their government. It is a symbol of a new approach: to reconnect with people, to build back trust, to defeat the power of the special interests with the power of the people."
  • On the 'architecture' of Albany:  "I want to rebuild this government. Rebuild it by bringing back competence; rebuild it by bring back integrity; rebuild it by bringing back performance; by bringing back people of talent; by bringing back people of good will; rebuild it by bringing back professionalism and respect and decorum and protocol and collegiality and partnership with the Legislature and product for the people of this state."
  • On his bottom line:  "Rebuild the government, restore confidence, restore trust, get the people of this state believing once again. Believe in government, believe in themselves, believe in each other, believe in our future. Believe in our potential...At the end of the day, what this is all about is making this state a better state for the 19 million people who live here."
Our job now is to ensure Cuomo and the Legislature do exactly that.  Are you ready to do your part?