American politician Mario Cuomo died on January 1, 2015 at the age of 82 of heart failure, born on June 15, 1932 he served as the 52nd Governor of New York for three terms, from 1983 to 1994, Lieutenant Governor of New York from 1979 to 1982; and Secretary of State of New York from 1975 to 1978.
Cuomo was born in the Briarwood section of the New York City borough of Queens to a family of Italian origin.
His father, Andrea Cuomo, was from Nocera Inferiore, Italy, and his mother, Immacolata (née Giordano), was from Tramonti, Campania.
He 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 signing bonus, which he used to help purchase the engagement ring for his wife, Matilda.
With teammate Fred Green Cuomo played for the Brunswick Pirates of the Class D Georgia-Florida League, with a .244 batting average until he was struck in the back of the head by a pitch.
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’s 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 1952 he married St. John’s student Matilda Raffa, a union that lasted 62 years until his death.
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.
In July 1984, he delivered the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention; a barnburner that amounted to a rebuttal of President Ronald Reagan’s stirring vision of America as a “shining city on a hill.
Two months later, Cuomo delivered a second spellbinder, an address at Notre Dame University in Indiana on abortion, religion and politics.
Cuomo toyed with the idea of a White House run, first in 1988 and then in 1992, solidifying his nickname, Hamlet on the Hudson.
He decided not to enter the ’92 race at the last minute — and a plane that was to whisk the necessary paperwork to New Hampshire in December 1991 was left idling on an Albany runway.
Cuomo was a devout Roman Catholic, and while he was opposed to abortion he felt the state had no right to ban it.
As the decade progressed Cuomo focused attention on children’s issues, and created 300,000 jobs for New Yorker’s, and defied two Republican led recessions.
Mario Cuomo also created the first major ethics law for public officials and gave New York the largest tax cut in the states history.
Cuomo also appointed all of the judges to the state’s court of appeals.
To add to his large list of accomplishments he appointed the first African-American, Hispanic, and the First two women.
Cuomo’s strong progressive record made him a rallying point for liberals all across the nation. He was a favorite to run for president in 1988 and 1992.
Cuomo refused to run either year. He was the Keynote Speaker at the 1984 Democratic Convention.
Rumours were abound as to why he didn’t run, the most notable of which was supposed ties to the Mafia, which were never confirmed.