Andrew Cuomo has just become the first New Yorker to be named the chairman of the National Governors Association.
Cuomo was unanimously voted to assume the top spot on Wednesday, Aug. 5.
Cuomo will take over for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. Cuomo had previously been the association’s vice chair under the Maryland lawmaker, who is term-limited and not eligible to run for re-election when his term ends in 2024.
In his remarks, Cuomo laid out his agenda for the association - "America's Recovery and Revival" - focused on tackling COVID-19 and the economic recovery from the outbreak.
Cuomo said that “next year's agenda is not really a question of discretion, but rather the dictation of reality. Our agenda is: America's Recovery and Revival,” as the country combats and recovers from the COVID-19 outbreak.
“As we gather today, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that COVID is a problem that affects every state in this nation,” he stated. “This is a battle for all of us. And we know that we must resolve this virus together.
“COVID will ricochet across this country, bouncing from state to state, and the only course forward - in both our state's self-interest and our collective interest - is to lock arms and to leave this virus no place to spread.”
To combat COVID-19, Cuomo said that across the nation, states and the federal government need to take the same steps New York did as it became the face of fighting the virus since becoming the nation’s hottest spot in the spring when the virus first surfaced in early March.
“We need unprecedented testing capacity and the supply chain to support it,” he said. “We need contact tracing, we need stockpiles of PPE, medicines, supplies and we need an emergency surge capacity. We need financial support for our beleaguered hospital systems.
“No one can tell us the name of the next virus or bacteria to attack us,” Cuomo added. “But everyone tells us that it's just a matter of time.
“Let's institutionalize what we have learned so we are better prepared for the next invasion and let us design and implement a new public health system for this nation, because we just cannot go through this again.”
Cuomo again called on the federal government to assist its states, and emphasized that moving forward, there has to be more cohesion and a better relationship between local, state, and federal agencies.
“All major economists agree that without providing financial assistance for state and local governments, the economy will not rebound as quickly as it would otherwise,” Cuomo said. “Fed Chairman Powell, former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, economists from all persuasions agree.
“The NGA is united in telling our Washington colleagues that they must include $500 billion in unrestricted state funding in the upcoming COVID response legislation. It is a top NGA priority.”
Calling it “a new chapter in the governance of this country,” Cuomo said that state governments are now at the forefront in leading the nation.
“The federal/state relationship has always been a dynamic tension since it was first embodied in our Constitution by our founding fathers,” he continued. “There are checks and balances and that is as it should be. But there has never been a moment where state governments have been more instrumental in the lives of the people of this country.
“As governors, we all know there is no red and blue. All our states are both. We understand that we govern for the red white and blue.”
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