Mario Cuomo entered government with a progressive, pragmatic philosophy centered on programs to create jobs and fight crime. Under his leadership, New York has gained 500,000 jobs and 50,000 new businesses have been created. Governor Cuomo has also cut state income taxes to their lowest level in thirty years, and this year, he achieved reductions in ten business taxes and five fees and declared a moratorium on new business fees.
During Governor Cuomo's tenure, New York has invested $50 billion in the State's infrastructure, building roads, bridges, university buildings and making unprecedented improvements in mass transit systems from New York City to the Niagara Frontier.
New York's role in the global economy has been strengthened significantly during the Cuomo years, with our State's foreign exports growing faster than the national average, while the growth of foreign investment in New York is outpacing that of any other state. New York Governor Cuomo's "Global New York" program has helped thousands of businesses enter overseas markets, generating nearly $300 million in new exports since the program began.
Now, Governor Cuomo's plan for a "New, New York" promises to put more than 300,000 people to work. Using state, federal and local financing, this $32 billion investment in roads and bridges, commercial and residential projects, and high tech research centers will build a future of hope for all New Yorkers as we head into the 21st Century.
The Governor's extensive criminal justice record has made New York tougher on criminals than any other large state. Governor Cuomo has presided over the largest prison expansion program in history and increased State Police to record levels. He pushed for innovative programs like "Shock Incarceration," and he made New York the first state to place drug treatment programs on prison grounds.
New York has also remained a leader in education from Pre-K programs through higher education. In fact, New York has the most extensive public university system in the nation and gives more tuition assistance to needy and working class students than the next two states combined. During his term, state aid to public schools has more than doubled.
The Decade of the Child program has ensured health care for thousands of youngsters, expanded early childhood education programs, and provided pre-natal care for working-poor mothers to help them have healthier babies. The Neighborhood Based Initiative has created centralized operations for social service programs, making it easier for families to receive assistance they need.
New York's Mentoring program, which is led by First Lady Matilda Raffa Cuomo, has become a national model. More than 3,000 children have benefited from a one-to-one relationship with a mentor who serves as a role model, a teacher and a friend.
The Governor has also put New York at the forefront of the welfare reform movement. The Child Assistance Program, which provides incentives to women with children to join the workforce, has won national awards. This year, Governor Cuomo called for a complete overhaul of the welfare system through his "Jobs First" initiative. This program ensures that welfare applicants are aggressively steered toward employment or job training.
Governor Cuomo's achievements in New York have made him one of the most compelling national leaders of the last fifteen years. He captured the entire country's attention in July, 1984, with his stirring keynote speech to the Democratic National Convention that urged America to build a future of hope together, as a family, abiding by the simple principle that by sharing benefits and burdens, we will all grow stronger.
Mario Cuomo was born to Andrea and Immaculata Cuomo on June 15, 1932. An alumnus of the New York City public schools, Mr. Cuomo graduated summa cum laude from St. John's University in 1953 and tied for top class honors at St. John's University School of Law in 1956. He was a confidential legal assistant to Judge Adrian P. Burke of the New York State Court of Appeals in 1956 and he joined the law firm of Corner, Weisbrod, Froeb and Charles in 1958. He taught law at St. John's Law School as an adjunct professor for more than ten years.
After gaining a reputation as a hard-fighting lawyer and a skilled mediator, Mario Cuomo was named Secretary of State by Governor Carey in 1975. In 1978, he was elected Lieutenant Governor.
Married since 1954 to Matilda Raffa, the Cuomos have five children: Margaret, married to Howard Maier; Andrew, married to Kerry Kennedy; Maria, married to Kenneth Cole; Madeline, married to Brian O'Donoghue; and Christopher. They are the grandparents of Christina Perpignano and Emily Carrie Cole, Amanda Matilda Cole and Catherine Camilla Cole.