(TNS) – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who announced Tuesday he would step down in two weeks, is leaving a legacy as a champion of liberal ideals who peaked in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic.
Ultimately, his accomplishments as a three-term Democratic governor could be overshadowed by the sexual harassment scandal that led to his downfall.
Cuomo, 63, at the behest of Progressive Democrats, pushed through a series of historic policies and reforms during nearly 11 years in office.
In 2011, Cuomo enacted a bill he pushed to legalize same-sex marriage. The new law made New York the largest state at the time to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.
Two years later, Cuomo convinced some reluctant Republicans in the state Senate to support the SAFE Act, one of the toughest gun safety laws in the country.
In 2019, after Democrats gained full control of the state legislature, Cuomo signed a landmark climate change law that sets some of the country’s toughest standards for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. and increase the use of renewable energies.
In central New York City, Cuomo pushed a CNY Rising strategy to grow the region’s economy through tourism and other initiatives that build on the region’s strengths.
As part of this strategy, Cuomo authorized more than $ 100 million in spending to expand and modernize the New York State Fairgrounds in Geddes, helping to increase attendance by more than 40% over five years. .
These upgrades included a new $ 63 million exhibition center, a new RV park, a new front door and entrance from Bridge Street, a redesign of Chevy Court, the demolition of the aging grandstand and a $ 38 million project to improve car access and expand parking.
Locally, Cuomo developed a close working relationship with Joanie Mahoney, a Republican who served as the Onondaga County executive, at the same time he embarked on a bitter feud with Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner. , a Democrat.
Cuomo has never forgiven Miner for publicly criticizing him for what she saw as insufficient help to troubled towns in the state like Syracuse.
As the feud escalated, Miner blocked a deal between Mahoney and Cuomo that would have allowed politically connected local developer Cor Development to build a $ 500 million stadium in Syracuse to replace the Carrier Dome.
Two Cor Development executives were convicted in 2018 on federal corruption charges related to their business dealings with the state. A former senior Cuomo aide and a disgraced lobbyist were also convicted in the federal corruption case.