ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Andrew Cuomo was sworn into office on January 1, 2011. In the nearly 12 years in the Governor’s office, Cuomo had his share of wins and losses.
His first victor was just six months after he took office. That’s when he signed the Marriage Equality Act in June of 2011. Cuomo fulfilled a campaign promise and made New York the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriages.
A month after the December 2012 mass shooting that took the lives of 26 people including 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Cuomo signed what he called the toughest gun control law in the country. The New York Safe Act expanded the definition of banned assault weapons, expanded background checks and put limits on magazine rounds. Portions of the law were struck down on appeal but the majority of the provisions remain today.
That same year, the legislature passed the Women’s Equality Act. It included ten bills affecting issues such as domestic violence, human trafficking and the Reproductive Health Act which makes legalized abortion state law.
In 2017, Cuomo included the Excelsior Scholarship as part of the 2018 budget. The program offers free tuition to state colleges for certain qualified students in exchange for a requirement that students live and work in the state for four years after graduation.
Inspired by his longtime girlfriend, tv celebrity chef and author, Sandra Lee, during her battle with breast cancer, the governor expanded free and low-cost mammogram coverage for all women in New York. Later, Cuomo and Lee announced they were splitting up and going their separate ways.
But with the victories came the scandals. Cuomo’s governorship was littered with corruption allegations. The commission the governor set up to root out corruption was disbanded after reports the Moreland Commission steered clear of investigations that could be politically damaging. Federal prosecutors determined there was insufficient evidence to prove a federal crime.
In 2018, a close friend and former top aide Joseph Percoco was convicted of federal bribe and fraud charges related to the Buffalo Billions development project. During the same investigation, Todd Howe, another Cuomo aide was indicted along with other developers who were major donors to the governor. Cuomo was never accused of any wrongdoing.
While the governor was universally praised for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, he was criticized just as much for the scandal surrounding the alleged under-counting of thousands of nursing home deaths. Combined with the sexual harassment allegations, questions about using state employees for his $5 million dollar book deal and questions about workmanship on the new Mario Cuomo bridge, all led to the final scandal and his pending resignation.