ALBANY, NY (WSKG) – Governor Andrew Cuomo held a unity event with the winner of the democratic primary for New York City mayor, Eric Adams, where they announced plans to work to combat rising gun violence.
Cuomo, who has bitterly feuded with the present Mayor and former ally Bill deBlasio, says things will be different if Adams, as expected, wins the general election in November.
“I pledge today to work in full partnership with him,” said Cuomo saying Adams displays “courage and competence”.
“I am so excited about Eric Adams,” the governor said.
Cuomo, who has an antagonistic relationship with the left of his party, says he and Adams come from the “same political philosophy”, and hold similar views about what it means to be a progressive. The governor mocked left leaning democrats as wanting a “utopia”, and said he and the democratic nominee for mayor are more practical. Adams says he and Cuomo see “eye to eye”, and cannot let the term progressive be “hijacked”.
“I am the face of the democratic party,” said Adams who said he represents “every day workers” who want safe streets and an end to gun violence, good education for their children, and affordable housing.
The two announced that 4000 summer jobs will be made available to at- risk youth, as well as training for permanent employment. The program is part of a previously announced gun violence state of emergency by Cuomo, which comes as rates of shootings have risen in the state’s major cities.
Cuomo’s plan does not include revisiting recently enacted changes in the state’s criminal justice system, including ending most forms of cash bail, and treating 16 and 17 year old criminal defendants as juveniles in family court, and not as adults facing confinement in state prison. Critics say that has led some teens to be less fearful of consequences if they are caught carrying or using a gun. Adams, a former police officer, says the measures might need to be tweaked.
“Yes, we need to look at all of these new laws that have taken place,” said Adams. “And don’t have unintended consequences based on how we enact them.”
Adams says prosecutors could make better use of existing laws, like Kendra’s law, that allows for court ordered mental health treatment. And he blames the state’s judges who he says are not imposing cash bail even when they are allowed to under the new laws.
But Adams says more focus needs to be on prevention, and providing services so that people don’t resort to crime and violence. He says he does not want to return to the days of “heavy handed policing”.
The joint appearance comes as Cuomo faces numerous scandals, including multiple allegations of sexual harassment, and in one case, sexual assault. The state’s Attorney General, Letitia James, is conducting an investigation. Adams is not among many prominent democratic elected officials who have called on Cuomo to resign, but he said during the primary that when powerful men prey on women, “swift action must be taken against them. Adams say he backs the AG’s investigation, and wants to hear its results.
“Let the investigation go to its outcome,” said Adams saying he supports “the system of justice”.
Federal prosecutors are also looking into accusations that Cuomo and his top aides hid form the public the true number of nursing home deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic. And Cuomo is also facing an impeachment inquiry from the state Assembly over additional allegations that he gave family and friends special access to coronavirus tests and used staff to help him write a $5 million dollar memoir.