ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo isn’t the first New York governor — or even the first Cuomo — to have his State of the State address interrupted by an angry lawmaker.
Twenty-four years and one day before Assemblyman Charles Barron disrupted Andrew Cuomo’s address Wednesday, outspoken Queens Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio pulled a similar act during then-Gov. Mario Cuomo’s tenth annual State of the State address.
Seminerio, a Democrat, sat in his plush chair in the ornate Assembly chamber as he shouted at Mario Cuomo, angered by the governor’s call to suspend lawmakers’ salary (as well as the governor’s salary) if the state budget is late until a spending plan is passed.
The elder Cuomo engaged with the lawmaker.
“Listen, Tony, if you need a loan, I’ll lend it to you,” Mario Cuomo said.
Via C-SPAN, here’s video of the exchange:
Seminerio wasn’t pleased as the governor tried to continue on with his speech.
“I come here every day and work 14, 15 hours a day, so don’t tell me I don’t get paid for my work,” Seminerio shouted, as some lawmakers applauded. “That’s nonsense. That’s political nonsense.”
Mario Cuomo was quick with a retort: “Well then Tony, you vote against it. At least this way, we’ll get a vote out of you.”
Lawmakers ultimately agreed to suspend their pay when the budget is late — but not until 1998 under then-Gov. George Pataki as part of a deal that also saw them receive a pay raise.
Seminerio’s political career, meanwhile, came to an unceremonious end in 2009, when he pleaded guilty to fraud. He died in prison in 2011.