The event was an emotional return for Cuomo and his family, who occupied the mansion during the 12 years his father, Mario, served as governor from 1983 through 1994.
It was also a pinnacle moment in the long political career for Cuomo, 53, who ran his father’s first campaign in 1982 and long sought to hold the seat himself one day. Mario; Andrew’s mother, Matilda; and his three daughters and girlfriend, Food Network personality Sandra Lee, were among the roughly 80 people to attend the ceremony, aides said.
Surrounded by their families, Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy were sworn into office separately by the state’s chief judge, Jonathan Lippman, at 10:09 p.m. They officially took office at midnight. Cuomo, a Democrat, succeeds Gov. David Paterson, a fellow Democrat who did not seek election.
“I am honored and humbled to accept this tremendous responsibility,” Cuomo said in a statement Friday night. “The time has come to return integrity, performance and dignity to New York and make it the Empire State once again. I look forward to getting to work right away for the people of our great state.”
Cuomo will give an inaugural address Saturday at noon, after holding an 8:30 a.m. staff meeting. He will greet about 300 New Yorkers at the mansion Saturday afternoon.
Duffy said Friday that the state’s period of crisis is an opportunity to restore New York’s proud tradition of innovation and again make it a “shining example” across the country. Duffy said he hopes New Yorkers will rally around Cuomo’s vision to revamp the state, a message that will be prominent in Saturday’s inauguration events.
“New York state is in the midst of a crisis right now, and the governor has an opportunity to really help transform this state — and to be a part of that is just an incredible honor,” Duffy said in an interview Friday with Gannett’s Albany Bureau.
Duffy had a private dinner with family at an Albany restaurant before heading a few blocks to the governor’s mansion with his wife and two daughters to join the Cuomo family prior to the swearing in.
“It is very exciting. The best way I could describe it is that I’m both honored and humbled that Governor Cuomo would invite me to be a member of his team,” Duffy, the outgoing Rochester mayor, said.
“I loved my job as mayor. I love Rochester and to step away from that to join the governor reinforces how much I believe in him and what he’s going to do over the next four years.”
At the mansion, pasta, chicken and New York wines were on the menu for the buffet-style dinner for about 40 people. Mansion staff did the cooking, not the famous chef Lee.
Aides said Cuomo planned to be sworn in on the Bible he used when he became attorney general in 2006. Lee held the Bible. A recording of the swearing-in was shown statewide Friday night on news stations.