The Chief
June 30, 2006

PBA Gives Cuomo Its Backing for AG

'The Finest Police Union'

By REUVEN BLAU

The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association June 22 endorsed Andrew Cuomo's bid for Attorney General, marking the third consecutive week the former U.S. Housing Secretary has notched the support of one of the city's uniformed unions.

Pat Lynch and Andrew Cuomo    
The Chief-Leader/Pat Arnow

REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL: Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch and Andrew Cuomo let the good times roll after the union endorsed the former U.S. Housing Secretary in his race for State Attorney General.

 

"We are giving it to a person that understands the plight of New York City Police Officers and the difficulties we have doing our job every day," said PBA President Patrick J. Lynch during the announcement at the union's lower Manhattan office.

Likes His Gun Stance

He cited Mr. Cuomo's aggressive stance on gun control as the former U.S. Secretary of Housing during the Clinton administration. "We feel he will do the same here," Mr. Lynch remarked after fastening a PBA pin on Mr. Cuomo's suit jacket lapel and fitting him with a blue union windbreaker. Mr. Cuomo, the state Democratic Party's choice for Attorney General, has already received the support of the Detectives' Endowment Association, the Sergeants' Benevolent Association, and the Uniformed Fire Officers' Association.

"It's a tremendous honor," Mr. Cuomo said, speaking about the latest endorsement. "The PBA represents not just the largest police union, but the finest."

Earlier this month, he unveiled a comprehensive plan to fight gun violence, which includes using new technology to prevent firearms from being used by criminals. "It's an issue I've worked on almost all my professional life," he said. "I will stop at nothing to ensure that cop-killing assault weapons never return to the streets of New York."

Got Federal Control

During his time in the Clinton cabinet, Mr. Cuomo helped negotiate the Safe Gun Agreement. That deal, which was later voided under pressure from the National Rifle Association, required Smith and Wesson to change the design, distribution and marketing of handguns to make them safer and to help keep them away from children and criminals.

His new five-point plan mirrors some of the far-reaching initiatives that Mayor Bloomberg has made a staple of his second term.

Mr. Cuomo said that gaining the PBA's endorsement "was a rigorous process" that included the "toughest interview that I've had all campaign."

The PBA did not support Mr. Cuomo during his failed 2002 gubernatorial run, but Mr. Lynch said this race was different. "We look at the person who's best qualified for each campaign," he commented. "He has the integrity and courage to do the right thing."

'Death' Does Them Part

The union and Mr. Cuomo, however, do not agree on all issues. The PBA is spearheading the lobbying effort in Albany to re-enact the death penalty for individuals who kill law-enforcement officers. But Mr. Cuomo, like his father, exGovernor Mario Cuomo, is against the measure, which passed the State Senate last week but languished in the Assembly. "We don't make endorsements on one issue," Mr. Lynch explained. "From his start as a young prosecutor under Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, to his standing up to reckless gun dealers and manufacturers, to his bringing in the FBI to crack down on fraud, waste and corruption at HUD, Andrew Cuomo has made a difference."

Mr. Cuomo is the frontrunner in the race to replace Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who is running for Governor. Even though he gained his party leadership's nod at the State Democratic Convention in Buffalo May 30, Mr. Cuomo still faces a challenge from former Public Advocate Mark Green.

Mr. Green is working to gain the required 15,000 petition signatures to have his name added to the ballot in September. That effort got a boost last week when the state's second largest public employee union, the Public Employees' Federation, endorsed his candidacy.

Other Hopefuls

Also running are Charlie King, a two-time candidate for Lieutenant Governor; and Sean P. Maloney, a former aide to President Clinton.

Mr. Cuomo began his political career working as a top aide during his father's successful 1982 campaign for Governor. He then joined the elder Cuomo's staff as one of his head policy advisors. Under former Mayor David Dinkins, he served as Chairman of the New York City Homeless Commission, which worked to develop more affordable housing options.

He ran for Governor in 2002, but dropped out before the primary in favor of former State Comptroller H. Carl McCall, who was strongly favored by state Democratic leaders.