By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer
Last Thursday, former New York governor Mario Cuomo passed away at the age of 82. He served three terms from 1983 to 1995.
His son, Andrew Cuomo, was elected Governor of New York in 2010, carrying on his family’s legacy. He was sworn in for a second term just six hours before his father passed away.
Back in 1978, the senior Cuomo was running mate to former governor Hugh Carey, and won election four years later after Carey stepped aside. His popularity skyrocketed following a powerful keynote speech he delivered at the 1984 Democratic National Convention, and he soon became known as an inspiring public speaker.
Cuomo focused his efforts on lowering taxes, improving public education, and increasing opportunities for minorities. In 1994, he tried to win a fourth term, but lost to Republican George Pataki by 3 percent of the vote. Just one year before, he had been offered an opportunity to be appointed to the USA’s Supreme Court! He took the loss with good humor, starring in a Doritos commercial alongside Ann Richards, who lost the Texas governor race that same year.
In his youth, Cuomo lived in an apartment above his father’s grocery store in Queens, the easternmost borough of New York City. He rose up from these humble beginnings to graduate at the top of his class at St. John’s University School of Law, and he even had a shot at minor league baseball.
“Our country and our region lost a giant today with the passing of Governor Mario Cuomo,” said New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, in a statement. “He was a strong, eloquent leader who loved New York and its people. As an Italian-American, he was also a role model for future generations that anything was possible through hard work and education.”
Image of Andrew Cuomo courtesy of Governor Andrew Cuomo Facebook.