“I have talked to all sorts of peopple and getting all the best ideas we can,” the governor told radio host Susan Arbetter. “What is the best, most creative state program to generate jobs and we are working through that right now. Step two will be, I will get with the legislative leaders and find out what their thinking is,tell them what my thinking is. What is crucially important here is that we get something done at the end of the day. I don’t want Albany to be gridlocked like the Washington process which has been very destructive for the country and the state.”
Mr. Cuomo was greeted by an unusual level of cooperation in his first year in office between the Republican controlled State Senate and the Democratic controlled Assembly. Much of this had to with his own personal popularity before the voters, but it involved quite a bit of political skill as well, with Mr. Cuomo wining and dining lawmakers at the governor’s mansion and making appearances all over the state.
Later in the interview, Mr. Cuomo did acknowledge that there were profound differences between him and the legislative leaders, but they were able to work them out privately.
Ms. Arbetter asked Mr. Cuomo how to keep lawmakers from drawing lines in the sand when there are so many competing ideas and positions.
“It is not just my opinion and position. I have two houses that have in many ways fundamentally different opinions and positions—the Assembly and the Senate,” he said “The reason these jobs of executive can be tricky is because you have three opinions—sometimes more– but three basic opinions that have to be reconciled or you have gridlock. And nowadays, people with the anxiety and frustrations as high as it is the voices on the extreme have gotten louder and more vociferous and people are digging in their heels. That is what we saw in Washington.”
“That gird lock in Washington, that is the one thing I want to avoid here in Albany. It truly makes a bad situation worse and it erodes confidence in people,” he added.
Mr. Cuomo noted that he was elected in order to dial down some of the distrust among Republicans and Democrats.
This is an interesting card for Mr. Cuomo to play, especially as he looks beyond Albany to a possible presidential run in 2016. On the one hand, he is distancing himself from Washington. On the other, it is worth noting that the last two presidents elected promised to change the culture in Washington and to dial down the partisanship there. If Mr. Cuomo is able to say he did that here, so much the better for him.
Towards the end of the interview however, he noted that it is only going to get worse from here on out. Lawmakers will be forced to face the voters in 2012. Mr. Cuomo will not.
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