This Month In History
Mario Cuomo grew up in a working class family, the son of two immigrants from the Campania region of southern Italy.
Mario had an early love of baseball, and played for St. John’s University while attending school. He would sign with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, but after an injury, he decided to forgo his baseball dreams in order to pursue a legal and political career. In 1954, he married the woman who would be his wife of over 60 years, Matilda.
Mario Cuomo first entered the political scene by representing Queens homeowners who felt they were being forced out of their homes. He would become known as one of the more notable public advocates in New York City, and would run for Lieutenant Governor on a gubernatorial ticket headed by Howard Samuels. Though Samuels and Cuomo would lose the nomination, Cuomo was selected to be Secretary of State for New York by the eventual Governor-elect Hugh Carey. Carey would later urge him to run for New York City mayor, but Cuomo lost a heated race to Ed Koch in 1977. Following the loss, Cuomo took the place of exiting Lieutenant Governor Mary Anne Krupsak on Governor Carey’s ticket, and was elected to the Lieutenant Governor position in 1978.
After one term as Lieutenant Governor, Cuomo decided to run for Governor of New York following Hugh Carey declining to run for another term. Cuomo beat opponent Lewis Lehrman by 4 points and began his term as the 52nd Governor of New York State. Most of Cuomo’s policies and agenda were marked by staunch opposition to the “trickle-down economics” of President Ronald Reagan and pushing a platform of “progressive pragmatism.” Cuomo, a wonderful orator, would be a consistent name for a potential Presidential ticket in 1984, 1988 and 1992, but declined each time.
Seeking his fourth term as Governor, Cuomo was defeated in the 1994 gubernatorial election, but remained a steadfast supporter of progressive ideals throughout the remainder of his life. His 5 children – Andrew, Maria, Margaret, Madeline and Chris, have all become successful in their own right, with Andrew Cuomo being the current Governor of New York, Chris Cuomo being a successful journalist for CNN, and Margaret Cuomo being a leading voice in the fight against cancer. Cuomo passed away on January 1, 2015, but left behind a legacy that greatly impacted the state of New York.