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Grace M.
Democrat NY 6

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  • Commemorating the Life of Mario Cuomo

    by Representative Grace Meng

    Posted on 2015-01-12

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    MENG. Thank you to the gentleman for yielding.

    Mr. Speaker. Governor Mario Cuomo's legacy is important for all of us to remember here in Congress. Although the late Governor Cuomo is most well known nationally as an eloquent orator and bastion of liberalism, he first received public attention for his career creatively merging the values of social justice and access to affordable housing while protecting family values in my home borough of Queens.

    Governor Cuomo's life is a personal inspiration as he was also raised in Queens and born to immigrant parents. Perhaps it was this background that allowed him to regard himself as a progressive pragmatist who upheld the idea that government should be a positive source for good.

    This is best seen through Governor Cuomo's advocacy for an activist government that provides shelter for the homeless, work for the idle, and care for the elderly and infirm even in times of austerity. This belief in a dynamic government met some opposition, but Governor Cuomo recognized the crucial safety net and that government investment is the foundation for a strong economy, an understanding that is imperative in today's political and economic climate.

    As a mom of two young children, I am particularly touched by his launching of the Decade of the Child to enact educational and health care reforms affecting children. He deeply understood that improving children's lives ultimately betters our communities and empowers our future. Under his leadership, New York was the very first State to enact seatbelt laws, and today we continue focusing on making sure that children's toys and car seats are safe and effective. This academic year, New York City implemented universal pre-K, a concept that the late-Governor Mario Cuomo championed and the current Governor Andrew Cuomo aptly budgeted for success.

    I believe in what Hubert Humphrey said: The moral test of a government is how it treats those who are at the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those who are in the shadow of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped.

    I think that Hubert Humphrey would have found Governor Cuomo to be a [[Page H214]] strong, moral leader and, like the rest of us, would have mourned the loss of an inspired beacon of progressive ideology.

    I join my colleagues today from the New York delegation in sending condolences and sympathy to the entire Cuomo family, and know that Governor Cuomo's respected legacy will be a blessing to us all.

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