Updated 01/01/2013 05:50 PM
New Yorkers ring in the new year with Governor Cuomo, family
It's a holiday tradition here in New York State: To celebrate the New Year with the Governor. Our Megan Cruz joined visitors at the Executive Mansion.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- She hosts her own show on the Food Network. Now Sandra Lee's hosting guests to the Executive Mansion. Governor Andrew Cuomo's girlfriend dishing out homemade cookies.
"Gotta have a little something something while you wait in the cold!" said Lee.
A guest list of 400 New Yorkers were selected from across the state as part of an annual tradition to ring in the New Year with the Governor and his family.
"I think it's fantastic," said Slingerlands resident Rachel Bluth. "The state is so big. What are the odds you're ever going to really get face time with the Governor?"
Rachel and her mom live in Slingerlands, but the McManus family made the trip from Endicott, a village outside of Binghamton.
"Very warm, very welcoming, very personable," said Rebecca McManus. "There's nothing negative to say. It was a really neat experience."
Especially for her son, Kevin, who sees Governor Cuomo as a role model.
"I've picked up the qualities to be a leader from him," said Kevin McManus.
Another young visitor: Fourth grader Emma Jane Andrus from Clifton Park. She just started studying politics in school.
"So we thought what better way to study New York State government than to go to the seat of government with the Governor," said Emma Jane's dad, Matthew Andrus.
Now 2012 was a busy one for the Governor: Redistricting, pension reform, Hurricane Sandy. People here say they came to wish him well for 2013 and that hopefully he'll address issues they care about.
"Our area where we live was once bustling with IBM, so it's seen a lot of loss of jobs and a lot of loss of people in the area," said Rebecca McManus. "Anything he can do to help bring that back."
"I'd love to express my views on hydrofracking and my wish to keep the SUNY tuition low," said Bluth.
"We have too easy access to guns and I'd like to see him work with the legislature to cut that down," said Bluth's mom Dora.
They say just the opportunity to tell the Governor their concerns is a step in the right direction for 2013.