Cuomo sworn in as NY governor

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, left, is sworn

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, left, is sworn in by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman during a private ceremony at the Executive Mansion in Albany, N.Y. (Dec. 31, 2010) (Credit: AP )

ALBANY - Andrew Cuomo was sworn in as New York's 56th governor in a private ceremony Friday night.

"I am honored and humbled to accept this tremendous responsibility," Cuomo said. "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."

While Cuomo didn't take office until 12:01 a.m. Saturday, he chose to have the oath administered earlier before family and friends in the Executive Mansion. Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy was sworn in as well.

The oath-taking will be repeated ceremoniously at Saturday's inauguration in the Capitol, where Cuomo will also give a speech. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli will be sworn in at that time.

Friday night was a homecoming of sorts for the Cuomo family. Cuomo's father, Mario, served as governor from 1983 through 1994 and was the last one to truly call the mansion home. He and wife Matilda established a private fund to restore the first and second floors.

About 40 family members had a buffet dinner Friday featuring pasta, chicken and New York wines, a Cuomo spokesman said. A dessert reception followed, with 40 friends and aides joining the Cuomos.

At 10:09 p.m., Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman administered the oath of office to Cuomo. The Bible used was the same one he took the oath on as attorney general in 2007.

With Cuomo, 53, were his parents; daughters Cara, Mariah and Michaela; and girlfriend Sandra Lee, a Food Network star who held the Bible. Also attending were his four siblings, including Margaret Cuomo Maier of Locust Valley.

Saturday's 45-minute inauguration, set to begin at noon, is also an intimate affair compared with the ceremonies launching the governorships of Eliot Spitzer and George Pataki.

Given the state's fiscal crisis, Cuomo said a lavish display was inappropriate. "This is not the time for the grand and expensive celebrations of the recent past," he said last month.

About 200 family members, friends, journalists and a few politicians will attend the inauguration in the Capitol's War Room. Among them are state Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), the presumptive majority leader; and former governors David A. Paterson and Mario Cuomo. The other living former governors - Hugh Carey, Pataki and Spitzer - were not invited, according to the Cuomo spokesman.

Cuomo's inaugural address, expected to be about 10 minutes, "will focus on the need to open up government to the people, to restore the people's trust in government," the spokesman said. "He will talk about the budget deficit and the troubles we've seen and ways we can do better."

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