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John Edmonds Kozma's Unimpressed Podcast

Political Strategist Melissa DeRosa | How to Work For a Governor

Season 4, Ep. 147

From April 2013 to August 2021, Melissa DeRosa served as Communications Director, Strategic Advisor, Chief of Staff, and Secretary to Governor Cuomo. Ms. DeRosa is the first woman to ever serve as Secretary to the Governor, the highest unelected position in state government.


She spearheaded the Governor’s campaigns to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, enact the nation’s most robust paid family leave program, and establish the Excelsior Scholarship, making New York the first state in the country to provide free public college tuition for middle- and low-income families, mandate insurance coverage for medically-necessary IVF, and played a crucial role in managing the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 


In addition, Ms. DeRosa founded and served as Chair of the New York State Council on Women and Girls, established by the Governor to recognize and advance women’s rights in New York State, as well as the New York State COVID-19 Maternity Task Force and the COVID-19 Domestic Violence Task Force. In 2020, Ms. DeRosa also served on the President Biden-elect’s transition committee, advising the incoming administration’s COVID response.


Before joining the Governor’s office, Ms. DeRosa worked in the Attorney General’s Office as Deputy Chief of Staff and Acting Chief of Staff and as New York State Director of Organizing for America (OFA), President Obama’s national political action organization.


She holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations and a master’s degree in Public Administration, both from Cornell University. She has served on the executive board of the Women’s Leadership Forum Network of the Democratic National Committee.

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