Franklin D. Roosevelt is Elected Governor of New York State
Roosevelt maintained contacts and mended fences with the Democratic Party during the 1920s, especially in New York.
Although he made his name as an opponent of New York City's Tammany Hall machine, Roosevelt moderated his stance. He helped Alfred E. Smith win the election for governor of New York in 1922. Roosevelt gave nominating speeches for Smith at the 1924 and 1928 Democratic conventions. As the Democratic Party presidential nominee in the 1928 election, Smith in turn asked Roosevelt to run for governor in the state election. While Smith lost the Presidency in a landslide, and was even defeated in his home state, Roosevelt was narrowly elected governor.
As a reform governor, he established a number of new social programs, and he was advised by Frances Perkins and Harry Hopkins.
In his 1930 campaign for re-election, Roosevelt needed the good will of the Tammany Hall machine in New York City; however, his Republican opponent, Charles H. Tuttle, was using Tammany Hall's corruption as an election issue. As the election approached, Roosevelt initiated investigations of the sale of judicial offices. He was elected to a second term by a margin of more than 700,000 votes.
By 1928, Roosevelt believed he had recovered sufficiently to resume his political career. He had been careful to maintain his contacts in the Democratic Party and had allied himself with Al Smith, the current governor and the Democratic presidential nominee in 1928.
To gain the Democratic nomination for the election, Roosevelt had to make his peace with the Tammany Hall machine, which he did with some reluctance. Roosevelt was elected Governor by a narrow margin, and came to office in 1929 as a reform Democrat. As Governor, he established a number of new social programs, and began gathering the team of advisors he would bring with him to Washington four years later, including Frances Perkins and Harry Hopkins.
The main weakness of Roosevelt's gubernatorial administration was the corruption of the Tammany Hall machine in New York City. Roosevelt had made his name as an opponent of Tammany, but needed the machine's goodwill to be re-elected in 1930. As the 1930 election approached, Roosevelt set up a judicial investigation into the corrupt sale of offices. In 1930, Roosevelt was elected to a second term by a margin of more than 700,000 votes, defeating Republican Charles H. Tuttle.
Roosevelt came to office in 1929 as a reform Democrat, but with no overall plan for his administration. He tackled official corruption by sacking Smith's cronies and instituting a Public Service Commission, and took action to address New York's growing need for electricity through the development of hydroelectricity on the St. Lawrence River. He reformed the state's prison administration and built a new state prison at Attica. He had a long feud with Robert Moses, the state's most powerful public servant, whom he sacked as Secretary of State but kept on as Parks Commissioner and head of urban planning. When the Wall Street Crash in October ushered in the Great Depression, Roosevelt showed his usual energy and imagination in responding. The Hoover administration took the traditional Republican view that the state should not interfere with the free operations of the economy, and that the states and cities should carry the burden of unemployment relief. Roosevelt therefore asked the state legislature for $20 million in relief funds, which he spent mainly on public works in the hope of stimulating demand and providing employment. Aid to the unemployed, he said, "must be extended by Government, not as a matter of charity, but as a matter of social duty."