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Mario Cuomo

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Mario Cuomo

Mario Cuomo
52nd Governor of New York
In office
January 1, 1983 – December 31, 1994
Lieutenant Alfred DelBello (1983–1985)
Warren Anderson (Acting) (1985–1986)
Stan Lundine (1987–1994)
Preceded by Hugh Carey
Succeeded by George Pataki
Lieutenant Governor of New York
In office
January 1, 1979 – December 31, 1982
Governor Hugh Carey
Preceded by Mary Anne Krupsak
Succeeded by Alfred DelBello
58th Secretary of State of New York
In office
January 1, 1975 – December 31, 1978
Governor Hugh Carey
Preceded by John Ghezzi
Succeeded by Basil Paterson
Personal details
Born Mario Matthew Cuomo
(1932-06-15)June 15, 1932
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died January 1, 2015(2015-01-01) (aged 82)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Other political
Spouse(s) Matilda Raffa (1954–2015)
Children Andrew
Alma mater St. John's University
Religion Roman Catholicism

Mario Matthew Cuomo (; June 15, 1932 – January 1, 2015) was an American politician and member of the Democratic Party. He served as the 52nd Governor of New York for three terms, from 1983 to 1994,[1][2] Lieutenant Governor of New York from 1979 to 1982;[1][2] and Secretary of State of New York from 1975 to 1978.[1][2]

Cuomo was known for his liberal views and public speeches, particularly his keynote speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention[1] where he criticized Ronald Reagan's policies.[1] The speech brought him to national attention, and he was widely considered a front-runner for the Democratic nomination for President in both 1988 and 1992, but he declined to seek the nomination in both instances. His legacy as a reluctant standard-bearer for the Democrats in presidential elections led to him being dubbed "Hamlet on the Hudson".[3][4]

Cuomo was "Republican revolution" of 1994, and he subsequently retired from politics. He was the father of five, including Andrew Cuomo, the current Governor of New York, and journalist Chris Cuomo, currently at CNN.[1][2]

He died of natural causes due to heart failure in Manhattan, New York City, on New Year's Day, 2015.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Early political career 2
    • New York Secretary of State 2.1
    • New York City mayoral election 2.2
    • New York Lieutenant Governor 2.3
  • Governor of New York 3
    • Elections 3.1
    • Accomplishments 3.2
  • Political views 4
  • Work and memberships 5
  • Authorships 6
    • Selected works 6.1
  • Honors and awards 7
  • Family and personal life 8
  • Death 9
    • Reactions 9.1
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12

Early life and education

Cuomo was born in the Briarwood section of the New York City borough of Queens to a family of Italian origin.[1][2] His father, Andrea Cuomo,[1][2] was from Nocera Inferiore, Italy, and his mother, Immacolata[1][2] (née Giordano), was from Tramonti, Campania.[5] The family owned a store in South Jamaica, Queens, in New York City.

Cuomo attended batting average until he was struck in the back of the head by a pitch.[8] Batting helmets were not required equipment, and Cuomo was hospitalized for six days.[7]

After the injury Cuomo gave up playing baseball and returned to St. John's, earning his bachelor's degree in 1953.[1][2][9] Deciding on a legal career, Cuomo attended St. John's University School of Law, from which he graduated tied for first in his class in 1956.[1][2][9] Cuomo clerked for Judge Adrian P. Burke of the New York Court of Appeals.[9] Despite having been a top student, when he applied to law firms, the ethnic prejudice of the time led to his rejection by more than 50 before he was hired by a small but established office in Brooklyn.[10][11] In addition to practicing law, Cuomo was an adjunct professor at St. John's Law School.[12]

Early political career

Cuomo first became widely known in New York City in the late 1960s when he represented "The Corona Fighting 69", a group of 69 home-owners from the Queens neighborhood of Corona, who were threatened with displacement by the city's plan to build a new high school. He later represented another Queens residents group, the Kew Gardens-Forest Hills Committee on Urban Scale, who opposed Samuel J. LeFrak's housing proposal adjacent to Willow Lake in Queens. In 1972, Cuomo became known beyond New York City when Mayor John Lindsay appointed him to conduct an inquiry and mediate a dispute over low-income public housing slated for the upper-middle-class neighborhood of Forest Hills.[4] Cuomo described his experience in that dispute in the book Forest Hills Diary, and the story was retold by sociologist Richard Sennett in The Fall of Public Man.

New York Secretary of State

In 1974, he ran for Lieutenant Governor of New York on a ticket headed by gubernatorial candidate Howard J. Samuels, and both won the designation of the Democratic State Committee at the party convention. But their entire ticket, including the nominees for attorney general and U.S. Senator, was defeated in the Democratic primary election: Samuels by Rep. Hugh Carey of Brooklyn, and Cuomo by State Senator Mary Anne Krupsak, the first woman to be nominated for statewide office in New York. After Carey and Krupsak were elected, the new governor appointed Cuomo Secretary of State of New York in January 1975.

New York City mayoral election

Two years later, Cuomo ran for Mayor of New York City at Carey's urging.[4] Incumbent Mayor Abraham Beame was very unpopular and Cuomo was one of five major challengers to Beame in the Democratic primary. In a close and highly fractured election, U.S. Representative Ed Koch finished first with 19.81% of the vote and Cuomo came second with 18.74%. As no candidate cleared 40% of the vote, Koch and Cuomo advanced to a runoff. Koch emerged victorious with 54.94% of the vote to Cuomo's 45.06%. Cuomo had received the nomination of the Liberal Party several months previously and was urged to drop out of the race but he contested the general election against Koch and token Republican opposition.[4]

During the mayoral campaign, placards appeared saying: "Vote for Cuomo, not the homo" in reference to rumours about Koch's sexuality. Cuomo denied responsibility for this, but Koch never forgave him "as he made clear with a pointedly disparaging reference to Mr. Cuomo in a recorded interview with The New York Times that was not to be made public until Mr. Koch's death."[13] Cuomo ran on his opposition to the death penalty, which backfired amongst New Yorkers as crime was very high. Cuomo then went negative with ads that likened Koch to unpopular former mayor John Lindsay. Meanwhile, Koch backers accused Cuomo of antisemitism and pelted Cuomo campaign cars with eggs.[14] Cuomo was also defeated by Koch in the general election,[14] taking 40.97% to Koch's 49.99%. The race is discussed in Jonathan Mahler's book Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning.[14]

New York Lieutenant Governor

In 1978, incumbent Lieutenant Governor Krupsak declined to seek re-election. She had previously committed to doing so but became upset with how Governor Carey treated her in office and felt she was not given enough to do. She withdrew from the ticket and unsuccessfully challenged Carey in the gubernatorial primary, accusing him of incompetence.[4] Cuomo easily won the primary for Lieutenant Governor and was elected alongside Carey in the general election.

Governor of New York


Governor Cuomo speaking at a rally in 1991 in Plattsburgh, New York

In 1982, Carey declined to run for re-election and Cuomo declared his candidacy. He once again faced Ed Koch in the Democratic primary. This time, Koch's support for the death penalty backfired and he alienated many voters from outside New York City when, in an interview with Playboy magazine, he described the lifestyle of both suburbia and upstate New York as "sterile" and lamented the thought of having to live in "the small town" of Albany as Governor, saying it was "a city without a good Chinese restaurant".[4] Cuomo won the primary by ten points and faced Republican nominee businessman Lewis Lehrman in the general election. With the recession aiding Democratic candidates, Cuomo beat Lehrman 50.91% to 47.48%.

Cuomo actively campaigned for Walter Mondale in the 1984 presidential election, and was named on Mondale's list of vice presidential candidates. Geraldine Ferraro was ultimately nominated as his running mate, but Cuomo was chosen to give the keynote speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco.[1] He vigorously attacked Ronald Reagan's record and policies in a speech that brought him to national attention,[1] most memorably saying: "There is despair, Mr. President, in the faces that you don't see, in the places that you don't visit, in your shining city."[15][16] He was immediately considered one of the frontrunners for the Democratic nomination for President in 1988 and 1992.

Cuomo was re-elected in a landslide in 1986 against Republican nominee Andrew P. O'Rourke by 64.3% to 31.77%. He consistently ruled out the possibility of running in the 1988 presidential election, announcing on February 19, 1987, that he would not run[1] and then going on to publicly decline draft movements in the wake of Gary Hart's withdrawal following the Donna Rice affair.[17]

In the 1990 gubernatorial election, Cuomo was re-elected with 53.17% of the vote to Republican Pierre Andrew Rinfret's 21.35% and Conservative Herbert London's 20.40%.

When Cuomo was asked if he was planning to run for President in 1992, he would say: "I have no plans and no plans to make plans", but he refused to rule it out. In October 1991, news broke that he was interested in running and was taking advice from consultant

Political offices
Preceded by
John Ghezzi
Secretary of State of New York
Succeeded by
Basil Paterson
Preceded by
Mary Anne Krupsak
Lieutenant Governor of New York
Succeeded by
Alfred DelBello
Preceded by
Hugh Carey
Governor of New York
Succeeded by
George Pataki
Party political offices
Preceded by
Albert Blumenthal
Liberal nominee for Mayor of New York City
Succeeded by
Mary Codd
Preceded by
Mary Anne Krupsak
Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor of New York
Succeeded by
Alfred DelBello
Preceded by
Hugh Carey
Democratic nominee for Governor of New York
1982, 1986, 1990, 1994
Succeeded by
Peter Vallone
Preceded by
Mo Udall
Keynote Speaker at the Democratic National Convention
Succeeded by
Ann Richards
  • Obituary in The Independent by Marcus Williamson
  • Governor Mario M. Cuomo biography – Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
  • Mario Cuomo collected news and commentary at The New York Times
  • "A Tale of Two Cities"Text Cuomo's 1984 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address –
  • "Religious Belief and Public Morality"Text and Audio of Cuomo's Address at the University of Notre Dame–
  • Video of debate/discussion with Mario Cuomo and Paul Krugman on
  • A film clip "The Open Mind – An American Legacy (1984)" is available for free download at the Internet Archive
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
    • , July 25, 2004.Why Lincoln Matters interview with Cuomo on Booknotes
  • Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference (Minors)

External links

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Mario Cuomo biography, IMBd,, Inc./, 2013, Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Mario Cuomo, NNDB, Soylent Communications, 2013, Retrieved December 29, 2013.
  3. ^ Plante, Bill (August 22, 2012). "Best and worst convention addresses: How will Gov. Chris Christie measure up?". CBS News. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Kornacki, Steve (April 10, 2011). "The Mario Effect: Last time a group of presidential challengers was this unimpressive, there was a reason". Capital New York. Retrieved March 7, 2013. 
  5. ^ Immacolata Andrea Cuomo, Epoca, Google Books, 1988, Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  6. ^ Baseball: A film by Ken Burns, PBS, 2010, Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c McCarron, Anthony (January 3, 2015). "Mario Cuomo — 1932 – 2015: Ex-minor league teammates remember former governor's other passion". New York Daily News. Retrieved January 3, 2015. 
  8. ^ Roberts, Quinn (January 2, 2015). "Former NY governor Cuomo dies at 82, played in Minors". Retrieved January 2, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r University convocation and inauguration of William R. Greiner: Thirteenth president of the University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY: University at Buffalo Inaugural Program, September 18, 1992.
  10. ^ Charles J. Hynes, Bob Drury, Incident at Howard Beach, 2011, page 86
  11. ^ Robert S. McElvaine, Mario Cuomo: A Biography, 1988, page 143
  12. ^ Robert Viscusi, Buried Caesars, and Other Secrets of Italian American Writing, 2006, page 133
  13. ^ Edward I. Koch, a mayor as brash, shrewd and colorful as the city he led, dies at 88, The New York Times, New York, NY, February 1, 2013, McFadden, R.D., Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  14. ^ a b c Ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is burning: 1977, baseball, politics, and the battle for the soul of a city, New York, NY: Picador/Macmillian Publishers, 2006, Mahler, J.
  15. ^ Mario Cuomo Delivers Keynote Address to Democratic National Convention,, A & E Television Networks, 2013. Retrieved December 29, 2013.
  16. ^ Cuomo, M.M. (1993). More than words: The speeches of Mario Cuomo. St. Martin's Press.
  17. ^ Schmalz, Jeffrey (May 15, 1988). "The mystery of Mario Cuomo". New York Times. Retrieved March 7, 2013. 
  18. ^  
  19. ^  
  20. ^ Gitell, Seth (September 26, 2006). "New Hampshire Factor". New York Sun. Archived from the original on January 2, 2015. There have, of course, been big names from New York whose names have been raised in presidential contests . . . Governor [Mario] Cuomo dashed the hopes of Democratic activists, salivating since his 1984 convention speech over the prospect of a presidential run by him, when he kept a New Hampshire-bound plane waiting on the tarmac . . . 
  21. ^ a b c  
  22. ^ Mario Cuomo, Hamlet on the Hudson, The Economist, High Beam Research, Independence, KS: High Beam Research/Cengage Learning, September 28, 1991. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  23. ^  
  24. ^ Cuomo announces he is not seeking seat on high court, The New York Times, April 8, 1993, Sack, Kevin. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  25. ^ Book tells of 'courtship' to get Cuomo on high court, The New York Times, New York, NY, March 8, 1999, McFadden, R.D. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  26. ^ a b Attorneys: Governor Mario M. Cuomo, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, New York, NY, 2013, Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  27. ^ a b c Cuomo vetoes death penalty seventh time, The New York Times Archives, New York, NY, March 21, 1989, Kolbert, E., Retrieved December 29, 2013.
  28. ^ The People of the State of New York v Stephen S. Lavalle, 3 N.Y.3d 88 (2004), 817 N.E.2d 341, 783 N.Y.S.2d 485
  29. ^ Religious belief and public morality: A Catholic Governor's perspective, Mario Cuomo, University of Notre Dame Archives, Speech of Mario Cuomo, September 13, 1984, Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  30. ^ Beltramini, Enrico (September 12, 2009). "Il cattolicesimo politico in America". Limes (in Italian). Retrieved December 26, 2011. 
  31. ^ West, John G.; MacLean, Iain S. (1999). Encyclopedia of religion in American politics, Volume 2. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 98. Retrieved December 26, 2011. 
  32. ^ Medallion Financial Group 2010 annual report, p. 78, Medallion Financial Group, New York, NY, 2010, Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  33. ^ Medallion Financial Group 2012 annual report, p. 139, Medallion Financial Group, New York, NY, 2012, Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  34. ^ a b Our Founder- Matilda Raffa Cuomo, Mentoring USA, New York, NY: Mentoring USA/HELP USA, 2013; retrieved December 27, 2013.
  35. ^ Christopher Cuomo, Archives, May 12, 1997, Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  36. ^ Board and Leadership: Board of Directors, HELP USA, New York, NY, 2013, Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  37. ^ a b c d e Less Cancer Board of Directors: Margaret I. Cuomo, MD, LessCancer, 2014, Retrieved January 29, 2014.
  38. ^ Star of Italian Solidarity for Matilda Raffa Cuomo and Margaret Cuomo, I-Italy, June 11, 2011, Pirani, A., Retrieved January 29, 2014.
  39. ^ Walker, Sam: Fantasyland: A Season on Baseball's Lunatic Fringe Viking, 2006
  40. ^ Twitter, @KingsThings, Twitter, 2014, Retrieved January 2, 2015
  41. ^  
  42. ^ Helsel, Phil. Lost a Giant': Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo Dies"'". NBC News. Retrieved January 2, 2015. 
  43. ^ "Mario Cuomo, former New York governor, dead at 82"
  44. ^ "Former Gov. Mario Cuomo's funeral planned for Tuesday – UPDATED 2X". New York Daily Retrieved January 3, 2015. 
  45. ^ "Mario Cuomo". Find A Grave – Mario Cuomo. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  46. ^ Obama, Barack (1 January 2015). "Statement by the President on the passing of Mario Cuomo". The White House. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  47. ^ Biden, Joe (2 January 2015). "Statement by the Vice President on the passing of Mario Cuomo". The White House. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  48. ^ de Blasio, Bill (1 January 2015). "Statement by Mayor Bill de Blasio". New York City Office of the Mayor. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 


See also

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio stated: "Tonight, New York has lost a giant. Mario Cuomo was a man of unwavering principle who possessed a compassion for humankind that was without equal. He established the gold standard in New York State for how public servants should act, and set an example that the rest of us continue to aspire to today."[48]

Vice President Joe Biden stated: "He was one of the most principled and courageous public servants I have ever known. He was a forceful voice for civil rights, for equal rights, for economic opportunity and justice. He had the courage to stand by his convictions, even when it was unpopular. Mario Cuomo was full of hope and optimism, because he believed in this country, and he believed in its people. He knew what we could all achieve together."[47]

In a statement on the day of his death from the White House Press Office, President Barack Obama stated: "An Italian Catholic kid from Queens, born to immigrant parents, Mario paired his faith in God and faith in America to live a life of public service – and we are all better for it. He rose to be chief executive of the state he loved, a determined champion of progressive values, and an unflinching voice for tolerance, inclusiveness, fairness, dignity, and opportunity. His own story taught him that as Americans, we are bound together as one people, and our country's success rests on the success of all of us, not just a fortunate few."[46]


Cuomo had a recent history of heart issues, which contributed to his death at the age of 82.[43] His wake was held on January 5, 2015, and his funeral was held at Saint Ignatius Loyola Church in Manhattan on January 6.[44] His body was transported to St. John Cemetery, in Middle Village, Queens, where he was laid to rest.[45]

Andrew Cuomo said his father was unable to attend the ceremony because of his health but was present in spirit. "He is in the heart and mind of every person who is here," Andrew Cuomo told the crowd. "He is here and his inspiration and his legacy and his experience is what has brought the state to this point. So let's give him a round of applause."[42]

Cuomo was hospitalized for a heart condition, and received treatment in November 2014. He was described as being "in good spirits" at that time. Cuomo died on January 1, 2015, in his home in Manhattan, New York, of heart failure, only hours after his son Andrew was sworn-in to a second term as Governor of New York State.


Neal Conan described Cuomo as both the most intelligent and wittiest politician he has ever interviewed.[41]

Cuomo was the first guest on the long-running CNN talk show Larry King Live that began in 1985 and ended in 2010.[40]

Cuomo remained a fan after his baseball career ended, reportedly only watching baseball games or C-SPAN on television.[7] He was an avid player of fantasy baseball, always with an Italian player on his team regardless of how many Italian players are available or how well they are doing.[39] In 1994, he was featured several times on the Ken Burns PBS series Baseball where he shared personal memories of his life in baseball before he entered politics.

Cuomo's daughter Margaret, a physician, is married to Howard Maier. She "is a board certified radiologist, teaching professional, and national advocate for the prevention of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes."[37] She is the author of A World Without Cancer: The Making of a New World and the Real Promise of Prevention (2013),[37] and she serves on the Board of Directors of the nonprofit organization, LessCancer.[37] She has been featured on such TV shows as Good Morning America, Good Day New York, Morning Joe, and Inside Edition.[37] In 2011, she was awarded the Commendation of the Order of the Star by the president and prime minister of Italy.[37][38]

[34] Cuomo's daughter Maria is married to

Cuomo's younger son Chris was a journalist on the ABC Network news magazine Primetime. He anchored news segments and served as co-host on Good Morning America, before moving to CNN in 2013, where he is now co-host of the morning news magazine New Day. He was picked as one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in 1997.[35]

Cuomo's older son Andrew married September 11 the previous year. In November 2006, Andrew was elected New York State Attorney General; and on November 2, 2010, he was elected governor of New York, being inaugurated on January 1, 2011, and subsequently re-elected and sworn in on January 1, 2015.

Cuomo was married for 60 years to Matilda (née Raffa), from 1954 to 2015.[2] She is a graduate of St. John's University's Teachers College.[34] They have five adult children,[2] including Andrew, Maria, Margaret, Madeline, and Christopher.

Family and personal life

At its 1983 commencement ceremonies, Barnard College awarded Cuomo its highest honor, the Barnard Medal of Distinction.

Honors and awards

  • Cuomo, M. (2012). Greatest speeches of the 20th century: Keynote address for the democratic convention. Various Artists. (MP3).
  • Cuomo, M. (2011). Inspirational Speeches, Volume 3: Mario Cuomo – 1984. Orange Leisure. (MP3).
  • Williams, F.J., & Pederson, W.D. (Eds)., with Cuomo, M. (Contributor) and 14 other contributors (2009). Lincoln lessons: Reflections on America's greatest leader. Southern Illinois University Press.
  • Grodin, E.D., Cuomo, M., & Ventura, M. (2008). C is for ciao: An Italy alphabet. Sleeping Bear Press.
  • Bennett, T., Sullivan, R., Cuomo, M., & Albom, M. (2007). Tony Bennett in the studio: A life of art & music. Sterling.
  • Heffner, R.D., Jaffe, M., & Cuomo, M.M. (2004). As they saw it: A half-century of conversations from the open mind. Carrol & Graf
  • Forsythe, D.W., & Cuomo, M. (2004). Memos to the governor: An introduction to state budgeting, 2nd edition. Georgetown University Press.
  • Cuomo, M., & Holzer, H. (Eds.) (2004). Lincoln on democracy. Fordham University Press.
  • Cuomo, M.M. (2004). Why Lincoln matters: Today more than ever. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  • Cuomo, M. (1999). The Blue Spruce. Sleeping Bear Press.
  • Hoobler, D., Hoobler, T., & Cuomo, M.M. (1998). The Italian American family album. USA: Oxford University Press.
  • Cuomo, M. (1996). Reason to believe: A keen assessment of who we are and an inspiring vision of what we could be. Touchstone.
  • Cuomo, M.M. (1993). More than words: The speeches of Mario Cuomo. St. Martin's Press.
  • Thomas, C., Cuomo, M., & Jorling (1992). New York State: A land of forests, people and trees, partners in time. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
  • Cuomo, M. (1984). Diaries of M. Cuomo: The campaign for governor. Random House.
  • Cuomo, M. (1975). Forest Hills Diary: The Crisis of Low-income Housing. Vantage

Selected works

Cuomo also wrote and delivered numerous speeches and remarks.

In 1996, Cuomo wrote Reason to Believe. He also wrote a narrative essay titled "Achieving the American Dream" about his parents' struggles in coming to America and how they prospered. Cuomo was the author of Why Lincoln Matters, published in 2004, and he co-edited Lincoln on Democracy, an anthology of Abraham Lincoln's speeches.

Cuomo's first book, Forest Hills Diary: The Crisis of Low-income Housing, became an influential text in the fields of political science and housing policy, and it helped make his name with the public outside New York.


Cuomo also sat on the Advisory Council of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

From 1996 to 2015, Cuomo served on the board of Medallion Financial Corp., a lender to purchasers of taxi medallions in leading cities across the U.S. He was named to the board through his personal and business relationship with Andrew M. Murstein, president of Medallion.[32][33]

From 1995 to 2015, Cuomo worked as an "of counsel" at the New York law firm, Willkie Farr & Gallagher.[26]

Work and memberships

He was also outspoken on what he perceived to be the unfair stereotyping of Italian Americans. Cuomo opposed the move of the National Football League's New York Giants and New York Jets to the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, choosing instead to attend the home games of the Buffalo Bills while serving as governor, referring to the Bills as "New York State's only team".

For this political position, Cardinal John Joseph O'Connor considered excommunicating him.[30][31]

Cuomo, a Roman Catholic,[2] was personally opposed to abortion,[1] but he was pro-choice on the issue, believing that the State does not have the right to ban it.[1] In a speech at the University of Notre Dame on September 13, 1984, he used the statements of the American Catholic hierarchy to make an argument: What is ideally desirable isn't always feasible, ... there can be different political approaches to abortion besides unyielding adherence to an absolute prohibition."[29]

Cuomo was notable for his liberal political views, particularly his steadfast opposition to the death penalty,[27] an opinion that was unpopular in New York during the high-crime era of the 1980s and early 1990s.[27] While governor, he vetoed several bills that would have re-established capital punishment in New York State.[27] The death penalty was reinstated by Governor Pataki the year after he defeated Cuomo in the 1994 election, although it was never put into effect and the statute was declared unconstitutional by the New York Court of Appeals in 2004.[28]

Mario Cuomo after a lecture at Baldwin-Wallace College, September 10, 2007

Political views

Cuomo eliminated the New York State Regents Scholarship given to all students who ranked high on a statewide special examination.

Cuomo's progressivism was also evident in his appointments of judges to the New York Court of Appeals.[1] Cuomo appointed all of the judges to the State Appeals Court, including the first two female judges, as well as both the first African-American and Hispanic judges.[1]

Overseeing programs for environmental preservation and conservation, Cuomo implemented aggressive initiatives in these areas.[9] Under Cuomo's leadership, New York State was the first in the United States to integrate both environmental protection and energy conservation goals.[9]

Healthcare was also an area that Cuomo improved as Governor, implementing initiatives that succeeded in reducing costs of prescription medications.[9] This endeavor assisted senior citizens in making the medications more affordable.[9] Under Cuomo's leadership, a public health plan that tackled the AIDS epidemic was the most intense in the nation.[9]

Governor Mario and his wife Matilda Cuomo presided over the First New York State Family Support Conference in 1988. His statewide initiatives in developing over 1,000 [family support] programs are today termed "individual and family support" nationwide and are cited by the National Council on Disability. He was the first Governor to support an ecological approach to families which was represented by [community integration] and community development as the goal of deinstitutionalization.

Cuomo is also known for beginning the "Decade of the Child," an effort that included multiple health care and educational strategies to better the lives of children[1] in New York State.[9] Further, in 1988, the "Rebuild NY" Transportation Bond Act was an initiative under Cuomo that was a continuance of efforts to rebuild bridges and roads throughout the State.[9] Cuomo increased assistance to local law enforcement agencies in order to help reduce or eliminate crime;[9] and prison expansion in the State was continued which he is said to have regretted.[9] Under Cuomo, New York State was also the first in the nation to enact seat belt laws.[1]

During Cuomo's second term as Governor, Cuomo was successful in seeing that historically sweeping fiscal reforms for the State were enacted.[9] Comprehensive reform measures were also enacted in governmental ethics for New York State under Cuomo's leadership.[9] Cuomo extended New York State's economic reach in business, globally, contributing to both strengthening and developing it.[9][26]

In Cuomo's first term as Governor of New York State, he produced a balanced budget and earned the highest credit rating over the long term for the State in one decade.[9] His philosophy in leading the State was one of "progressive pragmatism."[1][9] Cuomo and the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives (Democrats had over a 3:2 margin in House) was successful in stopping U.S. President Ronald Reagan's administration from eliminating "federal income tax deductibility of state, local and property taxes."[9]


Cuomo and fellow Democrat television advertisements for the snack food Doritos shortly afterwards, in which they discussed the "sweeping changes" occurring. The changes they were discussing turned out to be the new Doritos packaging.

. Albany County, taking 45.4% of the vote to Pataki's 48.8%. Cuomo lost mainly because his support outside of New York City all but vanished; he only carried one county outside the Five Boroughs, 1994 Republican landslide in the [1] In

[25] He was also spoken of as a candidate for nomination to the [23] After Bill Clinton won the Democratic nomination for President in 1992, Cuomo was a candidate for vice president but he refused to be considered and did not make Clinton's final shortlist.

Cuomo in 2007

Cuomo's supporters launched a draft movement and encouraged people to write-in his name in the Democratic primary,[1] which was held on February 18, 1992. Cuomo did not discourage it, which many saw as implicit endorsement of the campaign.[21] Cuomo went on to receive 6,577 votes in the primary, 3.92% of the total cast and subsequently asked the draft committee to close down, saying, "I am flattered by their support and impressed by their commitment, but I am also convinced that in fairness to themselves they ought now to end their effort."[21] The group closed down, but Cuomo refused to rule out joining the primaries later in the year, stating, "I have said more than once that the nomination should go to someone willing and able to campaign for it. I am willing, but because New York's budget has not been settled I am not able to campaign for it."[21] Ultimately, Cuomo did not enter the race and Bill Clinton went on to win the Democratic nomination and the general election. Because of Cuomo's refusal to run for national office, despite his popularity, he was the referred to as the "Hamlet on the Hudson".[22]

"It is my responsibility as governor to deal with this extraordinarily severe problem. Were it not, I would travel to New Hampshire today and file my name as a candidate in this presidential primary. That was my hope and I prepared for it. But it seemed to me that I cannot turn my attention to New Hampshire while this threat hangs over the head of the New Yorkers I have sworn to put first."[4]

The filing deadline for the New Hampshire primary was on December 20, 1991, and Cuomo was expected to wait until the deadline before filing and declaring his candidacy. In the days before the deadline, Cuomo was not able to negotiate an agreement with Republicans in the Legislature and on deadline day, but on the date of the deadline, he would be required submit a ballot application in person. In an extraordinary display of political indecision,[18] which was later fictionalized in Joe Klein’s Primary Colors,[19] he kept an airplane idling on the tarmac as he decided whether to fly to New Hampshire to enter the race.[20] Democratic party leaders asked him to run and he prepared two statements, one in case he ran and one in case he didn't. He tried to come to a final agreement over the budget, but as he could not, he made an announcement at 3:30 p.m. that day:


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