Former Governor Mario Cuomo: A Friend & Progressive Leader Dies

Governor Mario Cuomo with Mayor Ed Koch: often adversaries.

Governor Mario Cuomo with Mayor Ed Koch: often adversaries.

It is with a sad heart that I have learned that Former Governor Mario Cuomo has passed away. His passing comes on the same day that his son, Andrew Cuomo, was sworn in for his second term as governor of New York.

Mario Cuomo was a true progressive who believed that supporting the rights of individuals always came first. His support of women’s rights, environmental initiatives, LGBT issues, animal welfare, andĀ opposition to the death penalty were only part of what made him a great governor. He cared about people and their sensitivities.

I got to know him well during his three terms in office and I saw him as a man who cared. Interestingly enough, when he first ran I did not support him in the democratic primary. However, that did not matter to him because he embraced everybody as he worked for the people of New York State.

Governor Cuomo was known for his liberal views and public speeches, particularly his keynote speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention where he criticized Ronald Reagan’s policies. The speech brought him 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”.

Cuomo was defeated when he ran for a fourth term as governor by George Pataki in the Republican Revolution of 1994. He subsequently retired from active politics but continued to be politically active by advising his son when he became governor four years ago. He was the father of five, including Andrew Cuomo, the current Governor of New York, and journalist Chris Cuomo, who currently works at CNN.