|52nd Governor of New York|
From: January 1, 1983 – December 31, 1994
|58th New York Secretary of State|
From: January 1, 1975 – December 31, 1978
Mario Matthew Cuomo (June 15, 1932 – January 1, 2015) was the governor of New York from 1983 through 1994. Cuomo was defeated in his bid for a fourth term by the little-known Republican George Pataki in the election of 1994, despite New York being an overwhelmingly Democratic state and despite Republican New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani crossing party lines and endorsing Cuomo.
Born and raised in Queens, New York, Cuomo earned a law degree from St. John's School of Law and became an assistant to Judge Adrian P. Burke of the New York State Court of Appeals. Cuomo first gained attention in the early 1970s when he represented residents of the Forest Hills section of Queens when they opposed the construction of a public-housing development in that neighborhood. After unsuccessfully seeking the Lieutenant Governorship in 1974, he was appointed New York Secretary of State in 1975 by Governor Hugh Carey. He went on to be defeated for the Democratic nomination for mayor of New York City by Ed Koch in 1977. Cuomo was, however, elected Lieutenant Governor the following year and was elected governor in 1982 and then reelected in 1986 and 1990. After giving a well-received keynote address at the 1984 Democratic National Convention he was mentioned as a possible presidential candidate; however, he declined to run.
As Governor, Cuomo was an unwavering supporter of abortion rights and a proponent of the social welfare state. He strongly opposed capital punishment during a high-crime era. His liberal policies caused millions to move away from New York, and it had one of the highest tax rates, highest taxpayer-funded abortion rates, and worst business climates of any state in the nation.
Mario Cuomo's son Andrew Cuomo is the current governor of New York. Mario Cuomo died the day of his son's second inauguration.
Opposition To Death Penalty
Cuomo is against the death penalty for capital crimes. In 1994 he was widely criticized for his administration of justice and for his leftist, anti-death-penalty parole-board appointments in particular, in light of the Arthur Shawcross (Genesee River Killer) mass-murderer case. He vetoed death-penalty legislation more than seven times in spite of the public's wishes, which passed by Democratic controlled State Assembly.