Melissa DeRosa’s rise to top aide and how her appointment made history

Cuomo Resigns

FILE — In this Sept. 14, 2018 file photo, Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa, is joined by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as she speaks to reporters during a news conference, in New York. De Rosa, Cuomo’s top aide, told top Democrats frustrated with the administration’s long-delayed release of data about nursing home deaths that the administration “froze” over worries about what information was “going to be used against us,” according to a Democratic lawmaker who attended the Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021 meeting and a partial transcript provided by the governor’s office. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN)—Melissa DeRosa has worked closely with Governor Andrew Cuomo since 2013, and her road to top aide included family influence and major political figures, all culminating in a history-making appointment to a powerful position. She recently announced she has resigned from her position.

Albany-native Melissa DeRosa was exposed to politics at an early age—her father was a lobbyist for the Public Employees Federation and is now a partner at a private lobbying firm. She attended the private school, Albany Academy for Girls alongside now Congresswoman Elise Stefanik. As an undergrad at Cornell University, DeRosa spent a summer in the office of former Sen. Hillary Clinton. She continued her education at Cornell, earning a Master’s in Public Administration.

She served as acting chief of staff for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who resigned over allegations of physical abuse and also led former President Barack Obama’s Political Action Organization, “Organizing for America” before joining Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office in 2013. DeRosa started as a communications director and worked her way up to Chief of Staff in 2015. Two years later she was named Secretary to the Governor, becoming the first woman in history to hold the role—the highest appointed position in the state. She spearheaded the governor’s campaigns to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour and enacted paid family leave policies. She was a key advisor to the governor, especially on his handling of the pandemic and was always seated six feet away from him during his daily COVID-19 briefings.

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