New York Overview: Government, Politics, and Higher Education

Under its present constitution (adopted 1894), New York is run by a governor, who is elected to a four-year term and may be reelected, and by a bicameral legislature made up of a 61-member senate and a 150-member assembly. Republican George Pataki was elected governor in 1994, defeating the Democratic incumbent, Mario Cuomo , and was reelected in 1998 and 2002. He did not run in 2006, when Democrat Eliot Spitzer won the office. Spitzer resigned in 2008 after being linked to a prostitute; Lt. Gov. David Paterson succeeded him, becoming the state's first African-American governor. Andrew Cuomo , a Democrat and Mario Cuomo's son, was elected to succeed Paterson in 2010; he was reeelected in 2014. Members of both branches of the legislature are elected to two-year terms. The state has 2 U.S. senators and 27 representatives and has 29 electoral votes in national presidential elections (a significant drop from its 41 votes in 1970).

Apart from New York City (see separate articles for educational and cultural institutions in New York City and its boroughs), institutions of higher education in the state include Alfred Univ., Bard College, Colgate Univ., Cornell, Hobart College, Iona Univ., Long Island Univ., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Sarah Lawrence College, Skidmore College, Syracuse Univ., the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, the U.S. Military Academy, Univ. of Rochester, Vassar College, and Wells College. The State Univ. of New York has major campuses at Stony Brook, Albany, Binghamton, and Buffalo.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. Political Geography