Commemorating the Life of Mario Cuomoby Representative Gregory W. Meeks
Posted on 2015-01-12
MEEKS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
When I think of Governor Mario Cuomo, many talk about his great oratory, many talk about some of the fantastic speeches that he made, but when I think about Mario Cuomo, he didn't just talk the talk; he walked the walk.
His speeches were not made just because it was a political gathering or forum. His speeches were made because that is what he truly believed. It came from his heart. It is how he lived his life, and you could see that in how he dealt with his family because that was his foundation.
From that foundation, he was able to build--and starting with that little place in Jamaica, Queens, that I am now proud to represent, he looked at Queens and then, by extension, the city of New York and then, by extension, the State of New York as the foundation of which he could make a difference, learning from his growing up with his parents.
As a result, you found individuals falling in love with Mario Cuomo, and you could see that by the people that were around him who became completely loyal to him because he had a real great leadership.
Once you became infected with the spirit of Mario Cuomo, you continued to stay around him, and you would see in the visuals who were with Mario Cuomo until the day that he died folks loyal to him. In this business in this day and age, sometimes, if you don't have that kind of character, people come, and people go.
Lastly, because I know that we have got so many members of the New York delegation that are here that want to speak, let me just say that he was competitive. I can think about those days when--I thank him first because he talked about getting into politics, he allowed me to cut my teeth by appointing me first to the New York State Workers' Compensation Board as a judge, then later appointed me to become the supervising judge in the State, having me going all over the State, and then encouraging me to run for the State assembly and, once I got elected to the State assembly, working very closely with him.
Once I got into the assembly, I thought he was a nice guy until you got on the basketball court. How competitive was he on that basketball court? Elbows--I look at some of the players now when they are complaining, et cetera, well, you need to go play old school basketball with Governor Mario Cuomo.
I close by saying that I thank God--because he was a very religious man, Mario Cuomo, too, but God could have sent him to California; he didn't. He could have had him in Illinois or in Texas or in Florida; no.
We were fortunate because God had him, through his parents, who emigrated from Italy to come to a place where the Statue of Liberty was, who believed ``Give me your tired, give me your weary,'' who believed in family, and we had him in the great State of New York.