By Beth Fouhy and Michael Gormley ASSOCIATED PRESS
NEW YORK (AP) — New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo declared his candidacy for governor Saturday, delivering a full-throated call for political reform and pledging to make the notoriously dysfunctional state government more accountable to its citizens.
The announcement by Cuomo to seek the governorship once held by his iconic father, Mario Cuomo, had been widely expected. The Democrat disclosed his candidacy in a video released on his website before appearing before supporters later in the day.
Cuomo made the announcement on the steps of the Tweed Courthouse in lower Manhattan, named for the leader of the city’s corrupt 19th century Tammany Hall political machine. Cuomo said he did so because “Albany’s antics today could make Boss Tweed blush.”
“Enough is enough,” Cuomo declared. “It’s time the people of the Empire State strike back.”
Cuomo promised to cap the state’s property taxes, which are among the highest in the nation, and to consolidate local governments and create a more favorable environment for job growth.
With his father standing nearby, the younger Cuomo cast himself as a populist crusader who would lead a “citizen’s coalition” to restore integrity to state government.
“New York wasn’t always like this. This isn’t New York at its best,” he said. “I represent the people of the state of New York and we want our government back.”
Cuomo’s effort to run as an outsider to reform state government will have to overcome some skepticism, given his deep ties to Albany and his membership in one of New York’s most storied political families.
“Andrew Cuomo has been a central figure in Albany for thirty years, and bears responsibility for the worst four years in the history of New York government. Why should we give him another four?” former Rep. Rick Lazio, who is running for the GOP nomination to challenge Cuomo, said in a statement.
Yet as polls show outgoing Democratic Gov. David Paterson and the state Legislature to be deeply unpopular with most voters, Cuomo has won praise and a strong national profile as attorney general for prosecuting public corruption and exposing misdeeds by the student loan industry and taking on Wall Street excesses.
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