On Monday, April 17, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a major shakeup to his staff. As a result, Gov. Cuomo’s former chief of staff Melissa DeRosa, 34, will become the first woman to serve as the Governor’s top aide.
DeRosa will replace Bill Mulrow, who will return to the private sector before accepting a leadership role in Cuomo’s 2018 re-election campaign.
“These additions bring new ideas and talent to strengthen our team and build on our accomplishments to work together to continue to move New York forward,” the governor said in a statement.
DeRosa is the daughter of the Albany lobbyist Giorgio DeRosa, but DeRosa insists that she always recuses herself from potential conflicts of interest. Before working for the governor, she worked for other Democratic leaders such as New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Organizing for America, a political organizing group affiliated with President Barack Obama.
Meanwhile, The New York Daily News reports that Mulrow will most likely return to his finance roots. Specifically, he’s expected to return to The Blackstone Group, a private equity firm.
“I look forward to continuing to support him and his work to improve the lives of all New Yorkers as Chairman of Cuomo 2018,” said Mulrow.
DeRosa has been working with Cuomo since 2013, when she started as a communications director. According to PressConnects, DeRosa played a major role in two key Cuomo initiatives: increasing the minimum wage and providing free SUNY tuition for thousands of New York students.
The recently announced free tuition plan has proved popular and controversial in equal measure. Progressives believe that free college tuition is essential in providing a level playing field for immigrant and low-income students who could not otherwise afford to go to college.
Recently, New York City has struggled to provide free education, but not at the college level. Since 2013, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has been trying to enroll as many local students in full-day preschool education as possible (more than 68,000 were enrolled as of 2016). The experiment has required city leaders to hire hundreds more teachers in a short period of time.
Studies have shown that quality preschool can actually increase the changes of students attending college. Even simple steps like reading aloud to children can help stimulate brain development, but childhood education experts say only 1 in 2 toddlers are read to by their parents on a regular basis.
On social media, DeRosa has been a staunch defender of Cuomo’s initiatives, calling his plan to provide free tuition a new “national standard.”
The Excelsior Scholarship has set a national standard, providing free tuition at NYs public colleges https://t.co/AaM7Xiewae
— Melissa DeRosa (@melissadderosa) April 19, 2017