Remembering Former Governor Mario Cuomo’s Legacy After Death​

Local political leaders reflect on the passing of New York’s longest-serving Democratic governor

The office of Nita Lowey released a photo of the congresswoman meeting Mario Cuomo in 1984 when Lowey was an assistant secretary of state. The photo, autographed by Cuomo, is captioned “Now listen to me and you’ll be OK! Mario 1984”

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D, NY-18)

“With the passing of Mario Cuomo, New York has lost one of its greatest leaders — one that I was proud to call a mentor and a friend.

As a 17-year-old kid, I found myself watching the Democratic National Convention in July of 1984, when Mario Cuomo delivered his Tale of Two Cities speech. For kids like me, whose folks were middle class Catholics, Mario Cuomo was like a trumpet sounding for the values of faith, hard work, family and inclusion — values we believed in and depended on. 

Mario Cuomo’s famous Tale of Two Cities speech

Later, as a young lawyer at Willkie Farr & Gallagher, I had the extraordinary good luck of occupying the office next to his when he joined the firm in 1995. He spent hours with me, sitting across the desk in his corner office or over lunch. Once, after the 1996 presidential election, he asked me what I thought of it. I said, ‘We won.’ He then asked, ‘What have we won?’ It's a follow-up question I’ve never forgotten, and one I ask myself frequently.

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The answer he taught me: ‘We’ve won a grant of time, a short opportunity to do some good.’ That was Mario Cuomo. His example and big-heartedness continue to inspire me as well as countless other New Yorkers.

Our hearts are heavy with sadness, but for generations to come, his legacy will stay with us. Randy and I offer our deepest sympathies to Matilda, Andrew, Margaret, Maria, Madeline and Christopher and the entire Cuomo family. I pray that our former Governor rests now in eternal peace.”

Mario Cuomo is survived by his wife Matilda Raffa, five children, and 14 grandchildren.

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