Posted at: 01/01/2013 6:21 PM
Updated at: 01/02/2013 10:36 AM
By: Lily Jamali
ALBANY - Gov. Andrew Cuomo rang in the new year by inviting New Yorkers from across the state to the Executive Mansion.
The meet-and-greet was an opportunity for state residents to get some face-time with the governor and his family.
The competition for a ticket to meet Cuomo was stiff. Just more than 400 people got tickets to shake hands with him out of 1,200 who applied by lottery.
The governor's girlfriend, Sandra Lee, and his daughter, Michaela, served up cookies and hot chocolate outside of the Executive Mansion as visitors made their way inside.
NewsChannel 13 assignment editor Jennifer Andrus and her family were among the lucky ticket holders.
"It was wonderful to come to the mansion and meet the governor. He exchanged pleasantries with the girls and asked if we had a good holiday," Andrus said.
It was a New Year's treat and an up-close-and-personal civics lesson rolled into one.
"Emma Jane is in 4th grade and that's when they study New York state government. We thought, what better way to study New York state government than to go to the seat of government with the governor?" said proud dad Matt Andrus.
Fifth-grader Kevin McManus says he's drawn a different kind of lesson from the governor -- namely, how to stay composed in politics. McManus recently met the governor just after losing his own race for student council president.
"I picked up the qualities to be a leader from him. A few times I saw kids run for, say, Vice President at my school and sometimes they flip out and I didn't do that," McManus said.