By Jill Colvin
Appearing on stage with "30 Rock" star Alec Baldwin, his predecessor Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Sen. Chuck Schumer, and his family, the former state senator vowed to make good on his campaign pledge to be the "people’s lawyer."
"I believe in government as a force to make people's lives better," he told the crowd at the soaring Great Hall at City College.
"I’m honored, I’m humbled, I'm still kind of amazed to stand before you as the attorney general of the State of New York," he said after taking the oath.
Schneiderman was officially sworn in in Albany when he took office Jan. 1.
"It makes it easier leaving the office knowing Eric is moving in," Cuomo said, predicting his successor "will do it exquisitely well."
Baldwin, a long-time partner with Schneiderman on progressive causes, said his friend was already in full corruption-busting mode. He joked that when he told Schneiderman earlier that he was being audited by the City of New York, "Eric said, 'That’s good!'" Baldwin scoffed in mock disbelief. "This man is the attorney general right now!" he said.
Schneiderman, who beat Republican Dan Donovan in a tightly-fought race, said that after talking to voters across the state, it was clear that New Yorkers have lost faith in government.
"Sometimes when you talk to voters about Albany they literally shake their heads. I’m committed to changing that," said Schneiderman, whom Donovan had tried to paint as an Albany insider. "We have to restore the public’s faith in government," he said.
Schneiderman also had harsh words Wall Street, suggesting he will attempt to earn the badge of the "Sheriff of Wall Street" in the years ahead.
The new AG mentioned several specific plans, including hiring a chief operating officer to manage the office as well as rewarding staff for "helping the good guys" as well as catching the bad.
But most of Schneiderman’s time on the stage was spent articulating his vision of progressive justice.
"We must obey and enforce the law, but that does not mean we should not be working every day to improve the law," he said.
"My job is to work every day to move American law more and more closely, more and more intimately, more and more aggressively forward, to reflect our national ideals of honesty and justice," he said before ending, in Spanish, with the words, "Let’s dance."