At their first public meeting last week since Eric Adams won the Democratic primary for mayor, Gov. Andrew Cuomo noted how they worked together in Albany nearly a decade ago.
“I worked with Eric when he was in the Senate, and he is going to be extraordinary,” Cuomo said.
When Cuomo became governor in 2011, Adams had already been in the New York state Senate for four years. He left in 2014 to serve as Brooklyn borough president, so their overlap in Albany was for three years.
In that time, people close to both leaders say Adams worked with Cuomo to help legalize gay marriage, where Democratic votes were needed in the State Senate. Adams made an impassioned speech on the floor, comparing discrimination to marriage equality to the same racial inequality encountered more than a generation ago.
“They said for Blacks to marry one another it was an abomination, for interracial couples to fall in love it was an abomination, it would destroy the institution of marriage. This is what we heard. This is exactly what we heard,” Adams said in June of 2011.
Adams also worked with Cuomo to pass the SAFE Act in 2013, which cracked down on gun sales in New York State. That is close to the same issue that brought them together last week. But before Cuomo even took office, Adams created the SNUG program, which laid the groundwork for the violence interrupters that are still employed today to snuff out shootings in high-risk neighborhoods.
“At the foundation of prosperity in this state is public safety,” Adams said back in April, 2019.
Adams was a big opponent of stop and frisk, and sponsored legislation to eliminate an NYPD database keeping track of arbitrary stops.
“Police officers hate it. Police officers have been asking us to intervene and stop this practice,” Adams said in May of 2010.
And during his first year in Albany, Adams distinguished himself on the floor of the Senate with his memorable speech calling for lawmakers to receive a pay raise, something many of his colleagues were reluctant to say publicly.
“Show me the money! Show me the money! That’s what it’s all about,” Adams said in December of 2007. “We deserve more money. We deserve to be paid for the job we are doing.”
That speech brought him negative press coverage and was even used in a Republican campaign ad.
With the exception of David Dinkins, who in 1966 served in the state Assembly, Adams would be the first mayor in the modern era to have served in the state legislature. Insiders say that could prove very valuable, since mayors often learn the hard way that many of their big initiatives must first pass through Albany. Adams already understands that.