Commemorating Mario Cuomoby Representative Nita M. Lowey
Posted on 2015-01-13
of new york
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Mrs. LOWEY. Mr. Speaker, I wish to submit the text of an op-ed in The
Journal News I wrote commemorating former New York Governor Mario
[From The Journal News, Jan. 2, 2015] Rep. Lowey: Mario Cuomo Was My Mentor and Inspiration (By Nita Lowey) Mario and Matilda Cuomo and their five children were our neighbors in Holliswood, Queens. Mario's parents, Andrea and Immaculata, lived around the corner.
When Mario, an attorney and law professor who gained prominence by successfully mediating thorny housing disputes in Corona and Forest Hills, first ran for Lieutenant Governor of New York in 1974, Steve and I promptly jumped into his campaign. He lost. But Gov. Hugh Carey, recognizing Mario's extraordinary talents, appointed him as Secretary of State. (His parents famously asked: ``Mario--you're a lawyer and a teacher. How come you took a job as a secretary?'') My first job in public service was in 1975 as an assistant to Mario Cuomo, working as a [[Page E57]] community relations officer in the New York metropolitan region. I worked closely with Mario, as he took charge of New York's anti-poverty programs following their devolution by the federal government through block grants to the states. He pursued housing, education, health, community development, and senior citizen initiatives, among others.
He was indefatigable and inspirational. A profound thinker and eloquent speaker, no wonder that he was elected lieutenant governor in 1978 and then governor three times.
Nobody articulated the ideals and values of public service better than Mario Cuomo. He aptly captured the essence of his brilliant career: ``You campaign in poetry, but govern in prose.'' During an event in 1984, when I was a New York state assistant secretary of state and Mario Cuomo was governor, Mario told me, ``Now listen to me and you'll be OK.'' I listened, I learned, and I am doing OK.
I was honored when Gov. Cuomo spoke on my behalf at a ceremony celebrating my election to Congress in 1988. As we mourn his loss, I am confident that Mario Cuomo's legacy will continue and endure with the re-election of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.