Cuomo, Mario (Matthew)(1932– ) governor; born in Queens County, N.Y. His parents were Italian immigrants. An excellent athlete and student, he played minor-league baseball before going to law school and receiving his degree (1956). He first gained public recognition when he represented community groups in New York City during the 1960s. Entering politics, he became the secretary of state (1975–79), lieutenant governor (1979–83), and finally governor (1983–94) of New York after losing a New York City mayoral race to Ed Koch (1977). As governor, he emerged as the spokesman for the traditional Democratic Party and its supporters. An eloquent speaker, he gave the nominating speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention and the keynote speech in 1992. He debated running for the presidency himself, but declined both in 1988 and 1992.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.