A Conversation with Mario Cuomo

November 19, 2009

Mario Cuomo is the epitome of the lawyer-statesman. Born in Depression-era Queens, Cuomo rose to become a successful attorney, law professor, and, of course, a three-term Governor of New York. His electric speeches and dignified presence made him an instant contender for both the White House and the Supreme Court. He even wrote a book on Abraham Lincoln–another great lawyer turned statesman.

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Mario Cuomo

Mario Cuomo was the longest-serving Democratic governor in the modern history of New York State. He was elected New York States 54th Governor in 1983 and twice won re-election, setting records for popularity in both contests. Beginning with his widely admired keynote address at the 1984 Democratic National Convention and his celebrated speech on the relationship of religion and politics at Notre Dame, he has helped define the progressive political landscape for two decades.

In twelve years at the helm of the nation’s most populous state, Governor Cuomo steered the state through two recessions, balanced twelve consecutive budgets, created more than half a million jobs, and led the state through two national recessions. He launched the largest economic development initiative in New York history, spurring private sector growth through billions of dollars of public investment in infrastructure enhancements and the creation of an unparalleled network of high-tech research facilities. During Cuomo’s tenure, foreign investment in New York almost doubled and thousands of new export opportunities were created for New York firms. He furthered the national debate on economic policy and trends through the findings of the Cuomo Commission on Trade and Competitiveness: The Cuomo Commission Report (1988) and America’s Agenda: Rebuilding Economic Strength (1992).

Since leaving public office, Governor Cuomo has returned to the practice of law, as a Partner and now Of Counsel in the New York office of the international firm of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, advising public companies, boards of directors and audit committees on issues of corporate governance and financial reporting, and has engaged in a broader practice specializing in national and international corporate law.

He continues to pursue his wide-ranging interest in public policy, writing and appearing as a guest commentator on radio.