New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
When your last name is synonymous with New York politics, you’d be forgiven for shying away from the spotlight. Not Andrew Cuomo. He served as New York attorney general from 2006 until winning the state’s gubernatorial race in 2010. In his first term, he signed same-sex marriage legislation, restructured New York’s tax code and spearheaded the state’s largest tourism campaign in decades.
SKY: What was behind the state’s $60 million tourism campaign? Have you seen an impact?
CUOMO: New York State has some of the most beautiful attractions in the world. We wanted the world to know about these assets, too, and we have committed ourselves to making the state a “must-see” global destination.
Our efforts are clearly paying off: By the end of 2013, nearly nine million more visitors will have come to New York compared to 2012. We will have generated almost $8 billion in local and state taxes and will reach more than $61 billion in direct spending, which is enough to pay the salary of every firefighter and police officer in New York. And we will have created tens of thousands of new jobs in the industry.
What are the key issues facing New York State today and in the future?
From day one, my administration has focused on strengthening the economy, growing businesses and creating new jobs for New Yorkers. Unemployment in all corners of the state has reached its lowest levels in years. We added 380,000 new private sector jobs since 2010, and the state is now ranked No. 2 in the nation in the number of jobs created since the recession. As we move forward, we are going to work even harder to create economic opportunities for all New Yorkers.
If someone were visiting New York City for the first time, what would you recommend he/she do?
New York City is one of the greatest, most exciting and diverse cities on the globe, but I would be sure to tell them that there’s much more to New York State than just New York City. I would recommend a short trip on the Long Island Rail Road to visit the wineries on Long Island or to spend the day on Long Beach. They could take a drive north through the Hudson Valley, making stops at historical sites such as Franklin D. Roosevelt’s home in Hyde Park or hit the slopes of the Catskill Mountains. They could spend a few hours in Albany before continuing up the Northway to one of the most scenic and serene places in the world: Adirondack State Park. Or head west and visit the dozens of wine trails along the Finger Lakes. I would tell them not to miss Niagara Falls, a breathtaking experience. I could fill pages with suggestions on how to spend time in New York State, and with so much to see, my strongest recommendation would be to come back and visit us again.