- Harriet Bibby
Who is Andrew Cuomo?
You may have seen the name Andrew Cuomo floating around in the news and online, but who was the former Governor of New York? And why is he crowded with so much controversy?
Trigger warning: This Cheat Sheet contains details of sexual harassment and assault. If this is a topic that you may find triggering, please feel free to skip.
Andrew Cuomo is an American politician born on 6th December 1967 in Queens, New York City, and is a member of the Democratic Party. He served as the 56th Governor of New York from 2011 to 2021, holding the same office as his father Mario, who was Governor of New York from 1983 to 1994. He was instrumental in responding to the COVID-19 crisis in New York, but resigned from his post as Governor on 23rd August 2021.
Before becoming Governor
Cuomo started his professional life by working as the campaign manager for his father’s successful New York gubernatorial electoral campaign in 1982. He then worked as an assistant district attorney in New York City before chairing the NYC Homeless Commission for three years between 1990 and 1993.
His entry into politics started in 1997 when he served as the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in President Bill Clinton’s cabinet, and he stayed in this role for the remainder of Clinton’s presidency. Shortly after, Cuomo ran unsuccessfully in the 2002 New York gubernatorial election, but was elected New York Attorney General in 2006.
Governor of New York (2011-2021)
Cuomo ran in the 2010 New York gubernatorial election and won by a landslide, becoming Governor in 2011. He was also re-elected as Governor in 2014 and 2018.
As Governor, Cuomo signed many progressive laws. He legalized same sex marriage as well as legalizing the medical, and later recreational, use of cannabis. He also implemented the strictest gun control law in the United States, delivered Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, and raised taxes for the wealthy while lowering taxes for the middle class.
In early 2020, his approval rating was at a record high of 77%, showing his popularity among voters.
As New York became a global hotspot for COVID-19 cases, Cuomo was tasked with coordinating a response. He was widely praised by epidemiologists for his handling of the pandemic, as he implemented a statewide lockdown in an attempt to suppress the rise in cases.
However, it was later discovered that his administration had covered up information about COVID deaths among nursing home residents.
Cuomo resigned as Governor in August 2021 after facing allegations of sexual harassment. He was accused of sexually harassing eleven women during his time in office, for which he faces criminal investigations. The New York Attorney General Letitia James released a report into the allegations in August 2021 which stated that Cuomo made unwanted sexual comments as well as non-consensually kissing and groping the eleven women.
The entire New York Congressional delegation, as well as Speaker Nancy Pelosi, President Joe Biden and the Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio, called for Cuomo’s resignation after the report was released.
After the resignation
Cuomo was succeeded by Kathy Hochul, the former Lieutenant Governor of New York, and New York’s first female Governor.
It has been reported that Cuomo has been mounting revenge campaigns against Hochul and other political ‘enemies’ after his resignation, using campaign donation leftovers to finance them.
After a successful career in politics and holding an important position for so long, it looked as if Cuomo was on track to become a great figure head of the Democratic Party, with rumours of a potential run for the presidency. However, the sexual harassment allegations made against him have certainly ruined his reputation and chances of continuing his high-profile political career.
Edited by Alex Leggett and Amy Watts