A picture of Representative Hakeem S. Jeffries
Hakeem J.
Democrat NY 8

About Rep. Hakeem
  • Commemorating the Life of Mario Cuomo

    by Representative Hakeem S. Jeffries

    Posted on 2015-01-12

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    JEFFRIES. I thank my good friend, the distinguished gentleman from Queens, for anchoring this Special Order hour and for yielding a few moments for me to reflect on the passing of our great Governor, Mario Cuomo.

    Mr. Speaker, like many other members of the New York delegation, I also served in the New York State Assembly. But unlike most, I didn't get the opportunity to serve alongside Governor Mario Cuomo. I arrived several years after he had completed his three terms in office.

    So I speak today not from the perspective of someone who served in government alongside Mario Cuomo, but as a young man who grew up in Mario Cuomo's New York. What an opportunity to be able to come of age in the 1980s with a Governor, a leader, who articulated such an eloquent vision of equal protection under the law for everyone. What an opportunity to be able to come of age under a Governor who believed in opportunity for everyone, who recognized that New York State's greatest strength was our diversity from every community, every perspective, and every religious background.

    It was great to be able to come of age and look up at a Governor who, notwithstanding the political potential pitfalls, stood on principle, was ahead of his time as it relates to his firm opposition to the death penalty at a time when that was not a popular position to take. He was a great leader, a charismatic intellectual, a wonderful family man, a tremendous lawyer, and a wonderful statesman and Governor.

    I can only imagine that when Mario Cuomo arrived up in Heaven he was prepared to get to work. But I think that there was probably a greeting committee that was there at the gates of Heaven, one of whom was FDR, a former Governor of the State of New York, the other of whom was FDR's cousin, Teddy Roosevelt, two former great Governors of the State of New York. And I think they probably ushered Mario Cuomo to a place in front of the throne of glory where Almighty God Himself may have said to Governor Cuomo: Listen, you can take your suit off and put this robe on. Governor Cuomo, you can rest now. You have been faithful over a few things. You can rest now. Well done, My good and faithful servant, well done.

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