Governor Andrew Cuomo never tires of describing his first year in office as a transformative period for New York State government that saw Albany change from a hotbed of graft and gridlock into a model of bipartisan cooperation and good government. At his annual State of the State address last week, each element was perfectly calibrated to symbolically support that narrative.
Rather than giving the speech in the Assembly Chamber, Governor Cuomo moved the proceedings to the New York State Convention Center in the underground concourse below the Capitol. In an appearance on former Governor David Paterson’s radio show Monday, he confirmed the venue change was intended to send a message.
“I wanted to make a statement. The State of the State, as you know, is normally done in the Assembly Chamber,” Governor Cuomo said. “So, the Senate would come in and they would pack into that Assembly Chamber. And it was in the Capitol, it was basically to the Legislature with very few guests … because there were no seats—uncomfortable and you’re talking to a room full of politicians. I wanted to metaphorically, last year, bring the government outside of the Capitol and open the forum to the people.” Read More