2011 Newsmaker: Andrew Cuomo
The day he had been arduously working for finally arrived on Jan. 1, 2011: Andrew Mark Cuomo took center stage on inauguration day as the new governor of New York state. The eldest son of the 52nd was now officially embarking on his own stewardship of the Empire State. However, the questions persisted: Would he be a carbon copy of his father, Mario?
Objective observers would probably say Andrew outdid his father in his first year in office. He took little time forcing through much of his campaign agenda. He balanced the budget, kept spending lower, invested in a handful of pet projects, passed a property tax cap and was able to get an ethics bill passed (the Clean Up Albany Act of 2011) which may not have done much to discourage bad apples in the state Legislature, but did force them to disclose their outside income for the first time, leading to many future prosecutions for one crusading U.S. Attorney. Cuomo capped off his stellar first year in office with arguably the greatest political accomplishment of his career, the passage of the Marriage Equality Act. To get same-sex marriage legalized he had to convince four Republicans in the state Senate to back the bill. He only needed three votes, but it was agreed in backroom discussions that they had to pass the bill by two votes in order to give the GOP senators political cover, so they wouldn’t be labeled as the person who flipped the balance of power. All four were no longer in office a few years after casting their votes.
Cuomo would go on to have more successes and failures in his time in office, but it is hard to argue that he didn’t have an incredible first year, which is why he is our 2011 newsmaker.
2011 Newsmaker, Runner-up: Anthony Weiner
It might be hard to believe that a politician with a reputation for salacious text messages was once a legitimate favorite to become mayor of New York City, but that’s where Anthony Weiner was sitting in 2011 before the first of several sexting scandals derailed his career.
In May 2011, a photo of Weiner’s crotch was posted on his Twitter page, which he later claimed was the result of someone hacking his account. It wasn’t until a conservative news outlet published a second explicit photo of Weiner that the Queens congressman copped to his indiscretions at a press conference. Weiner’s actions led many of his Washington colleagues to call for his resignation, including President Barack Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and fellow New York Congressman Steve Israel. Weiner resigned in disgrace shortly after, and would not resurface in public life until his ill-fated mayoral run in 2013, which tanked as a result of – you guessed it – another sexting scandal.