Assembly Celebrates the Life and Achievements of Governor Mario Cuomo

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Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today led his colleagues in a memorial tribute to Mario M. Cuomo, honoring his legacy of distinguished service as Lieutenant Governor and three term Governor. Members of the Assembly shared their memories of Governor Cuomo, recognizing his exceptional speeches, leadership, tenaciousness and commitment to the "Family of New York."

Speaker Sheldon Silver and members of the New York State Assembly paused before the start of Tuesday's legislative session to pay tribute to Governor Mario Cuomo, whose generous and thoughtful concern for the welfare of others enhanced the lives of those so fortunate to have called him family, colleague, mentor and friend (K00009, Silver).

Governor Mario Cuomo passed away on Thursday, January 1, 2015, in Manhattan, at the age of 82.

"It is the custom of this Legislative Body to recognize and commend those individuals of distinguished purpose whose lives have been committed to the pursuit of excellence and to the care and advancement of all people," said Speaker Silver during his presentation of the resolution. "The Family of New York has most certainly benefitted from the love, compassion and humanist spirit Mario M. Cuomo brought to his work as our Governor, one of New York State's greatest leaders, but at heart, a man of profound faith who never lost touch with the values of his immigrant upbringing."

The fourth child of Italian immigrants and a Queens native, Cuomo dedicated his life to helping New Yorkers prosper. Early in his career as a lawyer, he helped New York's working families save their homes and settled neighborhood disputes. As secretary of State, he intervened in numerous statewide crises including a Mohawk Indian lands claim dispute, nursing home practice issues and rent strikes as Secretary of State.

As Governor, Mario Cuomo worked with the Legislature to guide the Empire State through two national recessions. He understood the importance of investing to revitalize education and infrastructure, created a large homeless assistance program, established programs to build high-tech research and development facilities, created programs to serve the mentally ill and to address the burgeoning AIDS crisis, enacted the largest tax cut in state history at that time and the first seat belt law.

Governor Mario Cuomo initiated the first major ethics law for public officials and appointed all of the judges to the New York State Court of Appeals including the first African American, the first Hispanic, and the first two women judges, including the first woman to serve as Chief Judge, the Honorable Judith Kaye. He proclaimed 1988 the beginning of the Decade of the Child, 1989 the Year to Fight Drug Abuse, and when he won his third term as Governor in 1990, the Year of the Environment, advancing groundbreaking programs in support of each.

Apart from his three terms as 52nd Governor of the State of New York, Mario Cuomo is most well-known for the keynote address at the 1984 Democratic National Convention.

"With this resolution, we honor an exceptional man and express our deepest condolences to his family," said Speaker Silver. "His legacy will live on in New York."