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Mario Cuomo, Former New York Governor, Dies at 82

  • VOA News

FILE - Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo celebrates with his son, Andrew, after the younger Cuomo won re-election as governor of the state, Nov. 4, 2014.

FILE - Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo celebrates with his son, Andrew, after the younger Cuomo won re-election as governor of the state, Nov. 4, 2014.

Mario Cuomo, a former three-term governor of New York and father of current governor Andrew Cuomo, has died. He was 82.

He was hospitalized Nov. 30 to treat a heart condition.

Cuomo, a liberal Democrat, never sought the presidential nomination in spite of twice being considered among his party's front runners.

He was scheduled to take part in his son's second inauguration Thursday but was unable to attend due to health concerns.

In his inauguration address Thursday, Andrew Cuomo said he had read his speech to his father the night before.

"He said it was good, especially for a second-termer,'' the younger Cuomo said. "He couldn't be here physically today, my father. But my father is in this room. He is in the heart and mind of every person who is here.''

Cuomo loomed large in New York politics as governor from 1983 through 1994 and became nationally celebrated for his ability to weave the story of his humble upbringing with ringing calls for social justice.

Cuomo came to national attention in 1984 when he gave an electrifying keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco.

The speech came in the middle of the presidential terms of Ronald Reagan, who had likened America to a "shining city on a hill.''

Cuomo responded by saying, "A shining city is perhaps all the president sees from the portico of the White House and the veranda of his ranch, where everyone seems to be doing well.

"But there's another city; there's another part to the shining city, the part where some people can't pay their mortgages, and most young people can't afford one; where students can't afford the education they need; and middle-class parents watch the dreams they hold for their children evaporate."

His speech defining Republicans as looking out only for the well-off and Democrats as champions of the middle class and the poor propelled Cuomo to the forefront of the party leadership.

Mario Matthew Cuomo was born on June 15, 1932, and grew up behind the small grocery store run by his parents in Queens.

Cuomo and his wife, Matilda, had three daughters and two sons. Andrew was New York's attorney general before becoming governor. His other son, Chris, is a CNN newscaster. Daughter Maria married designer Kenneth Cole.

Some material for this report came from Reuters.

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