Mario Cuomo has demonstrated a strong commitment to addressing the needs of
the Hispanic Community throughout his tenure. In 1986, the Governor established
the Office for Hispanic Affairs to develop stronger relations between the
Hispanic Community and state agencies. The office ensures that the concerns and
needs of this community are addressed in all aspects of government.
Governor Cuomo made history when he nominated the first Hispanic and second
woman, Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick to the state's highest court, the Court
of Appeals. The Governor has appointed more Hispanics to high ranking positions
than any of his predecessors, including Margarita Rosa, Commissioner of the
Department of Human Rights and Raul Russi, Chairman of the Board of Parole.
Mario Cuomo, in conjunction with the legislature, established the Puerto
Rican/Latino Business Development Center to promote ties between Hispanic
businesses and the financial and corporate community of New York State.
To help Hispanics and other minority business people, the Governor created
the Office of Minority and Women Owned Business
Development and numerous other economic development programs which have
provided millions of dollars to Hispanic-owned businesses, and hundreds of
millions in state and public authority contracts to minority contractors.
To provide access to capital, the Cuomo administration has funded
community-based economic development organizations, credit unions and revolving
To stimulate economic growth in the state's hardest hit areas, the Governor
created Economic Development Zones. The 19 existing zones have generated $750
million in investments from 869 businesses, creating more than 4,500 permanent
jobs. Another 21 zones will soon be created.
The Governor created the Office of Minority Health in
1992 to help medical schools and state agencies increase the number of minority
health professionals and promote health service delivery in minority
communities. The office is headed by Manny Rosa.
To ensure that Hispanics gain equal access to all Department of Labor
programs and services, the Governor established Project Trabajo. The Project
gives Latinos access to initiatives such as the $2.1 million Latino Employment
and Training program which provides comprehensive education and employment
training for Latinos in targeted communities.
In response to New York's AIDS epidemic and its devastating effect in the
Latino Community, the Governor established the AIDS Institute within the
Department of Health. Dr. Nilsa Gutierrez was recently appointed to head the
Mario Cuomo believes that opportunity starts with education. His record of achievement is based on
innovation and investment -- creating many programs to expand and improve
opportunities for Latino youth while more than doubling state aid to local
schools since he took office. The Governor has also led the fight to distribute
the $9 billion in state school aid more fairly.
Other innovations include the first Community Schools program in the nation
-- a model for making schools the center of community activity. Currently, 41
schools statewide stay open into the late evening, providing those in
disadvantaged communities a broad range of services, including youth
activities, day care and counseling, and the first Magnet School program, which
now serves more than 70,000 children.
The Governor also initiated the award-winning New York State Mentoring
Program. Under the leadership of First Lady Matilda Cuomo, successful adults,
serving as role models, work one on one with at-risk students. There are now
3,115 students from 214 schools in the program.
As a result of these and other innovations and initiatives, drop-out rates
are at an historic low.
Higher education opportunities have been expanded for
roughly 300,000 working-class and needy students through the nation's most
generous Tuition Assistance Program. New York provides more aid than the next
two states combined and our tuition is lower than our Northeast neighbors.
The Governor created Liberty Scholarships to provide incentives for needy
children to stay in school. The program -- a national first -- covers all
expenses at state universities for students who qualify, but who can't afford
the cost of going to college.
To provide positive alternatives for our youth, the Governor tipped off the
New York State Midnight Basketball League this summer. This initiative will get
young people off the streets at night and into the gyms where they will also
receive job and counseling services.
Last year, the Governor opened the $129-million Riverbank State Park in
Washington Heights which includes a pool complex, an athletic building, a
cultural arts building, a skating rink, ball fields, tennis courts, and picnic
The Governor has repeatedly fought for anti-bias legislation to stiffen
penalties for hate crimes, only to be blocked by the Republican Senate.