Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo died Thursday at the age of 82, according to various news sources including the The New York Daily News and the Wall Street Journal.
The former governor — who served three terms and was a star of the Democratic Party — died just hours after his son, Andrew, was sworn in for a second term as governor of New York.
“He couldn’t be here physically today … but my father is in this room,” Andrew Cuomo said in his inaugural address, according to the Daily News.
“He’s in the heart and mind of every person who is here. His inspiration and his legacy and his spirit is what has brought this day to this point.”
The elder Cuomo was hospitalized in November for a heart problem but was released the next month.
Mario Cuomo — a liberal icon and the first Italian-American governor of New York state — lost his race for a fourth term to George Pataki in 1994. He led the Empire State at a particularly difficult time between 1983 and 1984, as The New York Times noted in its obituary. He struggled just to balance the state’s budget.
Still, he attracted the admiration of others in the party, who encouraged him to run for president in both 1988 and 1992, as The Times noted.
Cuomo never did run for president, though he came very close. On Dec. 20, 1991, Cuomo left a plane idling on a runway waiting to take him to New Hampshire before the primary-filing deadline, according to a 1994 article in New York magazine. He opted out at the last minute, disappointing many in the party.
Cuomo had a large personality and was famous for his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 1984, where he ridiculed Ronald Reagan for describing America as a “shining city on a hill.”
“Mr. President, you ought to know that this nation is more a ‘Tale of Two Cities’ than it is just a ‘Shining City on a Hill,'” Cuomo said during his speech.
Here is the speech in full:
Mario Cuomo was born in Queens, New York in 1932. He staunchly opposed the death penalty and vetoed death penalty bills 12 times, as his official biography notes. His major accomplishments include nominating the state’s first African-American, Latino, and women justices to the court of appeals, New York’s highest court.
His son, Andrew, won the Democratic nomination for governor in 2010 after serving as Attorney General of New York.
Hunter Walker contributed to this report.
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