© 2023 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Cuomo, Adams hold unity event


Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a unity event Wednesday with Eric Adams, the winner of the Democratic primary for New York City mayor, where they announced plans to work to combat rising gun violence.

Cuomo -- who has bitterly feuded with current Mayor Bill de Blasio, a former ally -- said things will be different if Adams, as expected, wins the general election in November.

“I pledge today to work in full partnership with him,” Cuomo said, adding that Adams displays “courage and competence.”

“I am so excited about Eric Adams,” he said.

Cuomo, who's had an antagonistic relationship with the left of his party, said 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 Adams are more practical.

Adams agreed, saying 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 added he represents “everyday workers” who want safe streets and an end to gun violence, good education for their children, and affordable housing.

The two announced that 4,000 summer jobs and training for permanent employment will be made available to at-risk youths. The program is part of Cuomo's previously announced gun violence state of emergency, which comes as shooting rates 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, said the measures might need to be tweaked.

“Yes, we need to look at all of these new laws that have taken place,” Adams said. “And don’t have unintended consequences based on how we enact them.”

Adams said prosecutors could make better use of existing laws, such as Kendra’s Law, which allows for court-ordered mental health treatment. And he blamed the state’s judges, who he said are not imposing cash bail even when they are allowed to under the new laws.

But Adams said more focus needs to be on prevention and providing services so that people don’t resort to crime and violence. He said 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. State 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 said he backs James' investigation, and wants to hear its results.

“Let the investigation go to its outcome,” said Adams, adding that he supports “the system of justice.”

Federal prosecutors are also looking into accusations that Cuomo and his top aides hid from the public the true number of nursing home deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic. 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 memoir that is set to earn him $5 million.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.