Mario Cuomo

Last updated

Mario Cuomo
Governor Mario Cuomo of NY in 1987 color (cropped).jpg
Cuomo speaking at Cornell University in 1987
52nd Governor of New York
In office
January 1, 1983 December 31, 1994
Lieutenant Alfred DelBello
Warren Anderson (acting)
Stan Lundine
Preceded by Hugh Carey
Succeeded by George Pataki
Lieutenant Governor of New York
In office
January 1, 1979 December 31, 1982
GovernorHugh Carey
Preceded by Mary Anne Krupsak
Succeeded byAlfred DelBello
58th Secretary of State of New York
In office
January 1, 1975 December 31, 1978
GovernorHugh Carey
Preceded by John Ghezzi
Succeeded by Basil Paterson
Personal details
Mario Matthew Cuomo

(1932-06-15)June 15, 1932
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedJanuary 1, 2015(2015-01-01) (aged 82)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Resting place St. John Cemetery
Political party Democratic
Other political
Liberal Party of New York
Matilda Raffa (m. 1954)
Children5 (including Andrew, Margaret, Chris)
Education St. John's University (BA, JD)
Signature Mario Cuomo Signature.svg

Mario Matthew Cuomo ( /ˈkwm/ ; Italian:  [ˈkwɔːmo] ; June 15, 1932 – January 1, 2015) was an American politician 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] and Secretary of State of New York from 1975 to 1978. [1]

Democratic Party (United States) Major political party in the United States

The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with its rival, the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party.

Governor of New York Head of state and of government of the U.S. state of New York

The Governor of New York is the head of government of the U.S. state of New York. The governor is the head of the executive branch of New York's state government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military and naval forces.

Lieutenant Governor of New York

The lieutenant governor of New York is a constitutional office in the executive branch of the Government of the State of New York. It is the second highest-ranking official in state government. The lieutenant governor is elected on a ticket with the governor for a four-year term. Official duties dictated to the lieutenant governor under the present New York Constitution are to serve as president of the state senate, serve as acting governor in the absence of the governor from the state or the disability of the governor, or to become governor in the event of the governor's death, resignation or removal from office via impeachment. Additional statutory duties of the lieutenant governor are to serve on the New York Court for the Trial of Impeachments, the State Defense Council, and on the board of trustees of the College of Environmental Science and Forestry.


Cuomo was known for his liberal views and public speeches, particularly his keynote speech address at the 1984 Democratic National Convention in which he sharply criticized the policies of the Reagan administration, saying, "Mr. President, you ought to know that this nation is more a 'Tale of Two Cities' than it is just a 'Shining City on a Hill.'" [3] 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, though he declined to seek the nomination in both instances. His legacy as a reluctant standard-bearer for the Democrats in presidential elections led to his being dubbed "Hamlet on the Hudson". [4] [5]

Modern liberalism in the United States is the dominant version of liberalism in the United States. It combines ideas of civil liberty and equality with support for social justice and a mixed economy. According to Ian Adams, all American parties are "liberal and always have been. Essentially, they espouse classical liberalism, that is a form of democratized Whig constitutionalism plus the free market. The point of difference comes with the influence of social liberalism". Economically, modern American liberalism opposes cuts to the social safety net and supports a role for government in reducing inequality, providing education, ensuring access to healthcare, regulating economic activity and protecting the natural environment. This form of liberalism took shape in the 20th century United States as the franchise and other civil rights were extended to a larger class of citizens. Major examples include Theodore Roosevelt's New Nationalism, Woodrow Wilson's New Freedom, Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, Harry S. Truman's Fair Deal, John F. Kennedy's New Frontier and Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society.

<i>A Tale of Two Cities</i> (speech) wstuwy

A Tale of Two Cities was a speech delivered by New York Governor Mario Cuomo on July 16, 1984, at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco, California. The speech galvanized the convention; it was watched on television by nearly 80 million people and received copious attention in the media. Less than halfway through his first term as governor, Cuomo was widely celebrated for the speech, and he took on new political cachet as a Democratic leader on a national scale.

1984 Democratic National Convention

The 1984 National Convention of the U.S. Democratic Party was held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California from July 16 to July 19, 1984, to select candidates for the 1984 United States presidential election. Former Vice President Walter Mondale was nominated for President and Representative Geraldine Ferraro of New York was nominated for Vice President. Ferraro became the first woman to be nominated by either major party for the Presidency or Vice-Presidency. In another first, the 1984 Democratic Convention was chaired by the female governor of Kentucky, Martha Layne Collins. The Democratic National Committee Chairman at the time, Charles T. Manatt, led the convention.

Cuomo was defeated for a fourth term as governor by George Pataki in the "Republican Revolution" of 1994. He subsequently retired from politics and served as counsel at the New York City law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher. [6] He was the father of five, including Andrew Cuomo, the current Governor of New York, and journalist Chris Cuomo, currently an anchorman for CNN. [1]

1994 New York gubernatorial election

The New York gubernatorial election of 1994 was an election for the state governorship held on November 8, 1994. Incumbent Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo ran for a fourth term, but was defeated by Republican George Pataki in an upset. Pataki's victory was one of the most notable of the "Republican Revolution" that year.

George Pataki 53rd Governor of New York

George Elmer Pataki is an American lawyer and Republican politician who served as the 53rd Governor of New York (1995–2006). An attorney by profession, Pataki was elected mayor of his hometown of Peekskill, New York and went on to be elected to the State Assembly and the State Senate. In 1994, Pataki ran for Governor of New York against three-term incumbent Mario Cuomo, defeating him by a margin of more than three points as part of the Republican Revolution of 1994. Pataki would himself be elected to three consecutive terms, and was the third Republican Governor of New York elected since 1923. As of 2019, Pataki is the most recent Republican to hold any statewide office in New York.

The Republican Revolution, Revolution of '94 or Gingrich Revolution refers to the Republican Party (GOP) success in the 1994 U.S. midterm elections, which resulted in a net gain of 54 seats in the House of Representatives, and a pickup of eight seats in the Senate. The day after the election, conservative Democrat Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama changed parties, becoming a Republican; on March 3, 1995, Colorado senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell switched to the Republican side as well, increasing the GOP senate majority.

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] His father, Andrea Cuomo, [1] was from Nocera Inferiore (Campania), and his mother, Immacolata [1] (née Giordano), was from Tramonti, Campania. [7] The family owned a store in South Jamaica, Queens.

Briarwood, Queens Neighborhood of Queens in New York City

Briarwood is a middle class neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens.

Nocera Inferiore Comune in Campania, Italy

Nocera Inferiore is a city and comune in Campania, Italy, in the province of Salerno, at the foot of Monte Albino, 20 kilometres (12 mi) east-south-east of Naples by rail.

Campania Region of Italy

Campania is a region in Southern Italy. As of 2018, the region has a population of around 5,820,000 people, making it the third-most-populous region of Italy; its total area of 13,590 km2 (5,247 sq mi) makes it the most densely populated region in the country. Located on the south-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, with the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west, it includes the small Phlegraean Islands and Capri for administration as part of the region.

Cuomo attended New York City P.S. 50 and St. John's Preparatory School. Cuomo was a baseball player, and while attending St. John's University in 1952, he signed as an outfielder with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization for a $2,000 bonus, which he used to help purchase the engagement ring for his wife, Matilda. [8] Cuomo played for the Brunswick Pirates of the Class D Georgia–Florida League, where his teammates included future major leaguer Fred Green; [9] Cuomo attained a .244 batting average, and played center field until he was struck in the back of the head by a pitch. [10] Batting helmets were not yet required equipment, and Cuomo's injury was severe enough that he was hospitalized for six days. [9]

New York City Department of Education public school system of the municipal government of New York City, New York, USA

The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) is the department of the government of New York City that manages the city's public school system. The City School District of the City of New York is the largest school system in the United States, with over 1.1 million students taught in more than 1,800 separate schools. The department covers all five boroughs of New York City, and has an annual budget of nearly 25 billion dollars. The department is run by the Panel for Educational Policy and New York City Schools Chancellor. The current chancellor is Richard Carranza.

St. Johns Preparatory School (Queens)

St. John's Preparatory School is a private, Roman Catholic high school in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens, New York City, New York. It is located within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn.

St. Johns University (New York City) university in New York City, New York, United States

St. John's University is a private Roman Catholic university in New York City. Founded and run by the Congregation of the Mission in 1870, the school was originally located in the neighborhood of Bedford–Stuyvesant in the borough of Brooklyn. In the 1950s, the school was relocated to its current site at Utopia Parkway in Hillcrest, Queens. St. John's also has campuses in Staten Island and Manhattan in New York City and overseas in Rome, Italy. In addition, the university has a Long Island Graduate Center in Hauppauge, along with academic locations in Paris, France, and Limerick, Ireland. The university is named after Saint John the Baptist.

After his recovery, Cuomo gave up baseball and returned to St. John's, earning his bachelor's degree summa cum laude in 1953. [1] [11] 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] [11] Cuomo clerked for Judge Adrian P. Burke of the New York Court of Appeals. [11] Despite having been a top student, the ethnic prejudice of the time led to his rejection by more than 50 law firms before he was hired by a small but established office in Brooklyn. [12] [13] During his tenure at the law firm of Comer, Weisbrod, Froeb and Charles, Cuomo represented Fred Trump. [14] Cuomo eventually became a partner at the Comer firm, but stepped down in 1974 to become New York Secretary of State. In 1989, Cuomo settled a longstanding lawsuit against his former firm regarding $4 million in legal fees. [15] In addition to practicing law, Cuomo worked as an adjunct professor at St. John's Law School. [16]

St. Johns University School of Law

St. John's University School of Law is a Roman Catholic law school in Jamaica, Queens, New York, United States, affiliated with St. John's University.

Adrian Paul Burke was an American lawyer and politician.

New York Court of Appeals Highest court in the U.S. state of New York

The New York Court of Appeals is the highest court in the U.S. state of New York. The Court of Appeals consists of seven judges: the Chief Judge and six Associate Judges who are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate to 14-year terms. The Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals also heads administration of the state's court system, and thus is also known as the Chief Judge of the State of New York.

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 GardensForest 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. [5] 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. He is the father of Fredo Cuomo

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.

Governor-elect Carey chose to bring Cuomo into his new administration, naming him in December as his choice for Secretary of State of New York. [17]

New York City mayoral election

Two years later, Cuomo ran for Mayor of New York City at Carey's urging. [5] 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. [5]

During the mayoral campaign, placards appeared saying: "Vote for Cuomo, not the homo" in reference to rumors 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". [18] Cuomo ran on his opposition to the death penalty, which backfired among 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. [19] Cuomo was also defeated by Koch in the general election, [19] taking 40.97% to Koch's 49.99%. The race is discussed in Jonathan Mahler's book Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning . [19]

New York lieutenant governor

In 1978, incumbent Lieutenant Governor Krupsak declined to seek re-election because of how Governor Carey treated her in office; she 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. [5] 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 Mario Cuomo speaking at a rally, June 20, 1991.JPEG
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". [5] 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. He vigorously attacked Ronald Reagan's record and policies in his Tale of Two Cities speech that brought him to national attention, 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." [20] [21] 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 and then going on to publicly decline draft movements in the wake of Gary Hart's withdrawal following the Donna Rice affair. [22]

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 Bob Shrum. At the same time, he began working on a budget with the New York State Legislature, and promised not to make any announcements about a presidential run until he had reached an agreement with the Republican-controlled State Senate and the Democratic-controlled State Assembly. Two polls taken in November of the New Hampshire Democratic primary showed him leading the field by at least twenty points, and a poll in December showed him trailing President George H. W. Bush 48% to 43%, having been behind by 28% two months previously. [5]

The filing deadline for the New Hampshire primary was on December 20, 1991, and candidates were required to submit a ballot application in person. Cuomo was not able to negotiate a budget agreement with Republicans in the Legislature and on deadline day, time ran out. In a scene later fictionalized in Joe Klein's Primary Colors , [23] he kept an airplane idling on the tarmac as he pondered abandoning the budget talks in order to fly to New Hampshire and enter the race. [24] Democratic party leaders asked him to run and he prepared two statements, one in case he ran and one in case he did not. 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:

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. [5]

Cuomo's supporters launched a draft movement and encouraged people to write in his name in the Democratic primary, which was held on February 18, 1992. Cuomo did not discourage it, which many saw as implicit endorsement of the campaign. [25] 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." [25] 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." [25] 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 referred to as the "Hamlet on the Hudson". [26]

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. [27] He was also spoken of as a candidate for nomination to the United States Supreme Court, but when President Clinton was considering nominees during his first term to replace the retiring Byron White, Cuomo stated he was not interested in the office. [28] George Stephanopoulos wrote in 1999 that Clinton came within 15 minutes of nominating Cuomo before the latter pre-emptively rejected the post. [29]

In 1994, Cuomo ran for a fourth term. In this election, Republicans attacked him for the weak economic recovery within the state since the early 1990s recession and the resulting high unemployment as well as his opposition to the death penalty by highlighting the case of Arthur Shawcross, a multiple murderer convicted of manslaughter who was paroled by the state 1987 and while on release became a serial killer. Republicans were able to associate Shawcross with Cuomo much like Willie Horton with Michael Dukakis six years earlier. Cuomo was defeated by George Pataki in the 1994 Republican landslide, 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, Albany County.

Cuomo and fellow Democrat Ann Richards, the Governor of Texas who had been defeated in her re-election campaign by George W. Bush, appeared in a series of humorous 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.


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. [11] His philosophy in leading the State was one of "progressive pragmatism". [11] 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". [11]

During his second term as governor, Cuomo successfully pushed for the enactment of sweeping fiscal reforms for the State. [11] Comprehensive reform measures were also enacted in governmental ethics for New York State under Cuomo's leadership. [11] Cuomo extended New York State's economic reach in business, globally, contributing to both strengthening and developing it. [11] [30]

Cuomo is also known for beginning the "Decade of the Child" initiative, an effort that included multiple health care and educational strategies to better the lives of children in New York State. [11] 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. [11] Cuomo increased assistance to local law enforcement agencies in order to help reduce or eliminate crime; [11] and prison expansion in the State was continued which he is said to have regretted. [11] Under Cuomo, New York State was also the first in the nation to enact seat belt laws.

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.

Healthcare was also an area that Cuomo improved as governor, implementing initiatives that succeeded in reducing costs of prescription medications. [11] This endeavor assisted senior citizens in making the medications more affordable. [11] Under Cuomo's leadership, a public health plan that tackled the AIDS epidemic was the most intense in the nation. [11]

Overseeing programs for environmental preservation and conservation, Cuomo implemented aggressive initiatives in these areas. [11] Under Cuomo's leadership, New York State was the first in the United States to integrate both environmental protection and energy conservation goals. [11]

Cuomo's progressivism was also evident in his appointments of judges to the New York Court of Appeals. 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.

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

Attempted assassination

Ex-Mafia imprisoned informant Maurizio Avola told The Guardian in 2016 that the Sicilian mafia had planned to kill Governor Cuomo on a visit to Italy in November 1992. The plan was for about a dozen gunmen armed with assault rifles and explosives to ambush Cuomo. Avola's godfather, Aldo Ercolano, considered that Cuomo would be an excellent target; Avola said "The aim was to target politicians or members of institutions in order to send out a clear message"—this was a few months after the mafia murdered antimafia judge Giovanni Falcone as a demonstration of power. Killing a prominent American was a warning to law enforcement agencies that had allowed several prominent mafia informants to live in the US under assumed identities. The attack was to be carried out in the main square of Messina in Sicily, in daylight. However, after Cuomo arrived in Rome, it became apparent that he had extremely tight security, with many bodyguards and a bullet-proof car, and the attack was called off. [31]

Political views

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

Cuomo was notable for his liberal political views, particularly his steadfast opposition to the death penalty, [32] an opinion that was unpopular in New York during the high-crime era of the 1980s and early 1990s. [32] While governor, he vetoed several bills that would have re-established capital punishment in New York State. [32] 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. [33]

Cuomo, a Roman Catholic, [1] was personally opposed to abortion, but he was pro-choice on the issue, believing that the State does not have the right to ban it. 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." [34] For this position, Cardinal John Joseph O'Connor considered excommunicating him. [35] [36]

He was also outspoken on what he perceived to be the unfair stereotyping of Italian Americans, including the existence or at least pervasiveness of the Mafia. Joseph Pistone, after an undercover FBI role as Donnie Brasco, wrote disparagingly of the New York governor in Unfinished Business.

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".


Mario Cuomo giving a speech in 2007 GovernorMarioCuomo.jpg
Mario Cuomo giving a speech in 2007

From 1995 until his death, Cuomo worked as counsel at the New York law firm, Willkie Farr & Gallagher. [30] In 1996, Cuomo joined 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. [37] [38] [39] Cuomo also sat on the Advisory Council of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.


External video
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Booknotes interview with Cuomo on Why Lincoln Matters, July 25, 2004, C-SPAN

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.

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 also wrote and delivered numerous speeches and remarks.

Selected works

  • 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

Honors and awards

At its 1983 commencement ceremonies, Barnard College awarded Cuomo its highest honor, the Barnard Medal of Distinction. In 1983, Yeshiva University awarded Cuomo an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

In 2017, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation officially naming the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement, the "Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge". [40]

Family and personal life

Cuomo was married for 60 years to Matilda (née Raffa), from 1954 until his death in 2015. [1] She was a graduate of St. John's University's Teachers College. [41] They had five children, [1] Andrew, Maria, Margaret, Madeline, and Christopher. In 2017, Matilda was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. [1] [42]

Cuomo's older son Andrew married Kerry Kennedy, a daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Skakel Kennedy, on June 9, 1990. They have three daughters, twins Cara Ethel Cuomo and Mariah Matilda Cuomo, born on January 11, 1995; and Michaela Andrea Cuomo, born on August 26, 1997. Kennedy and Cuomo divorced in 2005. He served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 2001. In an attempt to succeed his father, he ran as Democratic candidate for New York governor in 2002, but withdrew before the primary. He withdrew after criticizing Republican incumbent George Pataki's leadership following the terrorist attacks on the city on 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'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 co-hosted the morning news magazine New Day . He currently anchors his own prime time show Cuomo Prime Time . He was picked as one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in 1997. [43]

Cuomo's daughter Maria is married to Kenneth Cole, a well-known New York fashion designer. She is Chair of the Board of HELP USA, a charitable foundation [44] that is also associated with the organization her mother founded, Mentoring USA. [41]

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". [45] She is the author of A World Without Cancer: The Making of a New World and the Real Promise of Prevention (2013), [45] and she serves on the Board of Directors of the nonprofit organization, LessCancer. [45] She has been featured on such TV shows as Good Morning America , Good Day New York , Morning Joe , and Inside Edition . [45] In 2011, she was awarded the Commendation of the Order of the Star by the president and prime minister of Italy. [45] [46]

Cuomo remained a baseball fan after his athletic career ended, reportedly limiting his television watching to baseball games and C-SPAN. [9] He was an avid player of fantasy baseball, always with an Italian player on his team, regardless of how many Italian players were available or how well they were doing. [47] In 1994, he was featured several times on the Ken Burns PBS series Baseball , where he shared memories of his life in baseball before he entered politics.

Cuomo was the first guest on the long-running CNN talk show Larry King Live that began in 1985 and ended in 2010. [48]

Neal Conan described Cuomo as both the most intelligent and wittiest politician he has ever interviewed. [49]

Illness and death

Officers of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and a state police honor guard saluting Cuomo's hearse as it passes through the Queens Midtown Tunnel, January 6, 2015 Gov. Mario Cuomo Hearse at QMT (16221388421).jpg
Officers of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and a state police honor guard saluting Cuomo's hearse as it passes through the Queens Midtown Tunnel, January 6, 2015

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, at his home in Manhattan, New York, of heart failure, only hours after his son Andrew was sworn into a second term as Governor of New York State.

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." [50]

Cuomo had a recent history of heart issues, which contributed to his death at the age of 82. [51] His wake was held on January 5, 2015, and his funeral was held at Saint Ignatius Loyola Church in Manhattan on January 6. [52] He is interred at St. John Cemetery, in Middle Village, Queens.


Various elected officials praised Cuomo following his death. 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." [53]

Vice President Joe Biden described Cuomo as "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." [54] Former Governor of New York George Pataki called Cuomo "a proud son of immigrants and a compassionate leader who possessed a soaring intellect." [55] Former Mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani stated: "Mario was a giant political influence of his generation. His ability to make riveting political speeches was only exceeded by his ability to logically argue and defend his position." [55]

See also

Related Research Articles

Herman Carl McCall is an American politician of the Democratic Party. A former New York State Comptroller and New York State Senator, McCall was the Democratic candidate for Governor of New York in 2002. McCall was the first African-American to be elected New York State Comptroller. He is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, and he currently serves on the board of directors of several corporations. Since October 17, 2011, McCall has served as chairman of the State University of New York Board of Trustees.

Ed Koch Former mayor of New York City

Edward Irving Koch was an American lawyer, politician, political commentator, movie critic, and television personality. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1969 to 1977 and was mayor of New York City from 1978 to 1989.

The Liberal Party of New York is a minor American political party that has been active only in the state of New York. Its platform supports a standard set of socially liberal policies: it supports the right to abortion, increased spending on education, and universal health care.

Andrew Cuomo 56th Governor of New York

Andrew Mark Cuomo is an American politician, author, and lawyer serving as the 56th governor of New York since 2011. A member of the Democratic Party, he was elected to the same position his late father, Mario Cuomo, held for three terms.

Conservative Party of New York State Conservative third party in the United States

The Conservative Party of New York State is a political party founded in 1962. The Party was founded due to conservative dissatisfaction with the Republican Party in New York. Since 2010, the Conservative Party has held "Row C" on New York ballots—the third-place ballot position, directly below the Democratic and Republican parties—because it received the third-highest number of votes of any political party in the 2010, 2014, and 2018 gubernatorial elections.

Cuomo family

The Cuomo family is an American political family. Mario Cuomo and his son Andrew Cuomo both have served as governor of New York.

2006 New York gubernatorial election

The New York gubernatorial election of 2006 took place on November 7, 2006 to elect the governor and lieutenant governor of New York, concurrently with elections to the United States Senate in other states and elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections. Democrat Eliot Spitzer, the New York Attorney General, won the election, succeeding incumbent Republican Governor George Pataki, who did not run for a fourth term.

2002 New York gubernatorial election

The New York gubernatorial election of 2002 was held on November 5, 2002. Governor George Pataki, the two-term Republican incumbent, ran for a third term. Governor Pataki was re-elected to a third term, defeating Democrat Carl McCall and Rochester billionaire Tom Golisano. As of 2019, this is the most recent election in which a Republican was elected Governor of New York and the last time a Republican won a statewide election in New York.

Herbert Ira London was an American conservative activist, commentator, author, and academic. London was the president of the Hudson Institute from 1997 to 2011. He was a frequent columnist for The Washington Times. London was president of the London Center for Policy Research, a conservative think tank hosted at The King's College in New York City, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Alfred Benedict DelBello was an American politician and lawyer from New York. A registered Democrat, he served as the Lieutenant Governor of New York from 1983 to 1985. DelBello was the first Democrat to be elected Westchester County Executive, an office he held from 1974 until 1982, when he stepped down to become Lieutenant Governor.

2006 New York state elections

New York held various elections on November 7, 2006. The senatorial and gubernatorial elections were two of the most lopsided elections in New York statewide election history.

2010 United States Senate special election in New York

The 2010 United States Senate special election in New York took place on November 2, 2010, concurrently with other elections to the United States Senate in other states as well as elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections. Governor David Paterson had appointed Kirsten Gillibrand to serve as United States Senator from New York until the 2010 special election, replacing former Senator Hillary Clinton, who resigned to serve as Secretary of State in the Barack Obama administration. The winner of the special election was to complete the term ending in January 2013. The special election took place concurrently with the regular election for the Senate seat held by Charles Schumer and the 2010 New York gubernatorial election.

1977 New York City mayoral election

The New York City mayoral election of 1977 occurred on Tuesday, November 8, 1977.

2014 New York Attorney General election

The 2014 New York Attorney General election took place on November 4, 2014, to elect the Attorney General of New York. The incumbent Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman won reelection to a second term in office, defeating Republican John P. Cahill with 53% of the vote.

George Pataki 2016 presidential campaign

The 2016 presidential campaign of George Pataki, the 53rd Governor of New York, was formally launched on May 28, 2015. After having considered a candidacy in previous cycles, his campaign for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in the 2016 election was his first bid for the presidency.

2018 New York gubernatorial election

The 2018 New York gubernatorial election occurred on November 6, 2018. Incumbent Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo won re-election to a third term, defeating Republican Marc Molinaro and several minor party candidates. Cuomo received 59.6% of the vote.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Mario Cuomo, NNDB, Soylent Communications, 2013, Retrieved December 29, 2013.
  2. Guide to U.S. Elections .
  3. Eidenmuller, Michael E. "American Rhetoric: Mario Cuomo - Keynote Address at the 1984 Democratic National Convention". Archived from the original on October 7, 2006. Retrieved September 18, 2018.Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  4. Plante, Bill (August 22, 2012). "Best and worst convention addresses: How will Gov. Chris Christie measure up?". CBS News. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 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.
  6. Sack, Kevin. "For Citizen Cuomo, a Law Job and a Book Deal". The New York Times. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  7. Immacolata Andrea Cuomo, Epoca, Google Books, 1988, Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  8. Baseball: A film by Ken Burns, PBS, 2010, Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  9. 1 2 3 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.
  10. Roberts, Quinn (January 2, 2015). "Former NY governor Cuomo dies at 82, played in Minors". Retrieved January 2, 2015.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 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.
  12. Charles J. Hynes, Bob Drury, Incident at Howard Beach, 2011, page 86.
  13. Robert S. McElvaine, Mario Cuomo: A Biography, 1988, page 143.
  14. "Donald Trump's Seduction of Mario Cuomo | Village Voice".
  15. Raab, Selwyn (April 14, 1989). "Cuomo Settles Suit on a Share In a Law Firm" via
  16. Robert Viscusi, Buried Caesars, and Other Secrets of Italian American Writing, 2006, page 133.
  17. Poster, Thomas (December 20, 1974). "Cuomo Named N.Y. Sec. of State". New York Daily News. p. 37. Archived from the original on September 28, 2018. Retrieved September 28, 2018 via uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help) Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  18. Edward I. Koch, a mayor as brash, shrewd and colorful as the city he led, dies at 88, The New York Times, February 1, 2013, McFadden, R.D., Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  19. 1 2 3 Ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is burning: 1977, baseball, politics, and the battle for the soul of a city, New York: Picador/Macmillan Publishers, 2006, Mahler, J.
  20. Mario Cuomo Delivers Keynote Address to Democratic National Convention Archived December 31, 2013, at the Wayback Machine ,, A & E Television Networks, 2013. Retrieved December 29, 2013.
  21. Cuomo, M.M. (1993). More than words: The speeches of Mario Cuomo. St. Martin's Press.
  22. Schmalz, Jeffrey (May 15, 1988). "The mystery of Mario Cuomo". New York Times. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  23. Fassin, Éric (1996). "Une morale de la vérité: Journalisme et pouvoir dans la culture politique américaine contemporaine". Esprit (in French). 226 (11): 176–177. ISSN   0014-0759. JSTOR   24277975.
  24. 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 . . .Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  25. 1 2 3 Sack, Kevin (February 22, 1992). "The 1992 Campaign: Write-In: Cuomo tells presidential draft group to end campaign". New York Times. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  26. Mario Cuomo, Hamlet on the Hudson, The Economist, High Beam Research, Independence, Kansas: High Beam Research/Cengage Learning, September 28, 1991. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  27. Ifill, Gwen (July 10, 1992). "The 1992 Campaign: Democrats: Clinton selects Senator Gore of Tennessee as running mate". New York Times. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  28. Cuomo announces he is not seeking seat on high court, The New York Times, April 8, 1993, Sack, Kevin. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  29. Book tells of 'courtship' to get Cuomo on high court, The New York Times, March 8, 1999, McFadden, R.D. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  30. 1 2 In Memoriam: Mario M. Cuomo (1932-2015), Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP (January 2, 2015).
  31. Lorenzo Tondo (March 11, 2016). "Mafia planned to kill Mario Cuomo during Italy trip as New York governor". The Guardian. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  32. 1 2 3 Cuomo vetoes death penalty seventh time, The New York Times Archives, New York, March 21, 1989, Kolbert, E., Retrieved December 29, 2013.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. Beltramini, Enrico (September 12, 2009). "Il cattolicesimo politico in America". Limes (in Italian). Retrieved December 26, 2011.
  36. West, John G.; MacLean, Iain S. (1999). Encyclopedia of religion in American politics, Volume 2. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 98. Retrieved December 26, 2011.
  37. Medallion Financial Group 2010 annual report, p. 78 [ permanent dead link ], Medallion Financial Group, New York, 2010, Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  38. Medallion Financial Group 2012 annual report, p. 139 [ permanent dead link ], Medallion Financial Group, New York, 2012, Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  39. Medallion Financial Mourns the Passing of Board Member Governor Mario M. Cuomo (press release), Medallion Financial Corp. (January 2, 2016).
  40. Campbell, Jon (June 29, 2017). "Tappan Zee Bridge gets new name: The Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge". lohud. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  41. 1 2 Our Founder- Matilda Raffa Cuomo, Mentoring USA, New York: Mentoring USA/HELP USA, 2013; retrieved December 27, 2013.
  42. Posted: Sep 17, 2017 12:53 AM EDT (September 17, 2017). "Ten women added to National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca". Retrieved September 28, 2017.
  43. Christopher Cuomo, Archives, May 12, 1997, Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  44. Board and Leadership: Board of Directors Archived March 24, 2012, at the Wayback Machine , HELP USA, New York, 2013, Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  45. 1 2 3 4 5 Less Cancer Board of Directors: Margaret I. Cuomo, Maryland, LessCancer, 2014, Retrieved January 29, 2014.
  46. Star of Italian Solidarity for Matilda Raffa Cuomo and Margaret Cuomo, I-Italy, June 11, 2011, Pirani, A., Retrieved January 29, 2014.
  47. Walker, Sam: Fantasyland: A Season on Baseball's Lunatic Fringe Viking Press, 2006.
  48. Twitter, @KingsThings, Twitter, 2014, Retrieved January 2, 2015.
  49. Conan, Neal (October 16, 2013). "KCUR Reception with Neal Conan" (Interview). Kansas City, Missouri: KCUR-FM.
  50. Helsel, Phil. "'Lost a Giant': Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo Dies". NBC News. Retrieved January 2, 2015.
  51. McShane, Kenneth Lovett, Larry. "Mario Cuomo, former New York governor, dead at 82".
  52. "Former Gov. Mario Cuomo's funeral planned for Tuesday – UPDATED 2X". New York Daily Retrieved January 3, 2015.
  53. Obama, Barack (January 1, 2015). "Statement by the President on the passing of Mario Cuomo". The White House. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  54. Biden, Joe (January 2, 2015). "Statement by the Vice President on the passing of Mario Cuomo". The White House. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
  55. 1 2 "Political world reacts to the passing of former NY Governor Mario Cuomo". WABC-TV. January 2, 2015. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
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