Political world reacts to the passing of former NY Governor Mario Cuomo

NEW YORK -- News of the death of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo Thursday night at the age of 82 brought reaction from national, state and local leaders.

His son, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo:
"Governor Mario Cuomo served as New York's Chief Executive from 1983 through 1994. He was credited with simultaneously improving the business environment of New York and the quality of life for its citizens, despite a national recession at the time. Governor Cuomo presented eleven consecutive balanced budgets, reduced taxes, and implemented comprehensive governmental ethics and fiscal reforms. From the time Cuomo took office, New York experienced an increase of hundreds of thousands of jobs and tens of thousands of businesses. Proclaiming the Decade of the Child, Mario Cuomo ushered in a multi-faceted effort to improve the lives of all New York's children. His administration became the first in the country to develop an Energy Plan and to sign into law controls on acid rain among many undertakings."

Cardinal Dolan
"Although he was Governor of New York long before I arrived here as archbishop, I had the pleasure of meeting and corresponding with Mario Cuomo on numerous occasions, and always found him to be a keen observer of the issues facing our city, state, and country. He was always ready to share his insights about the state of the Church as well, and it was obvious to me that he was intensely proud of his Catholic faith. My prayerful condolences go out to his loving wife, Matilda and the family. We thank them for sharing their husband and father with the city, state, and nation, and we praise God for the 82 years we had him."

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani

Judith and I extend our deepest condolences to Matilda and the wonderful Cuomo family on the loss of a truly exceptional American. Mario was a giant political influence of his generation. His ability to make riveting political speeches was only exceeded by his ability to logically argue and defend his position. Even when you disagreed with him you could understand his position and it increased your knowledge of the issue. My endorsement of him was very controversial at the time. It took some time to establish my relationship with my party and with my good friend George Pataki. I was proud to have endorsed a truly exceptional man of conscience and of great intellect. He raised the level of respect for Italian Americans and for all elected public servants. And he and Matilda raised two sons Andrew and Chris who I know Mario was very proud of for their own accomplishments.

President Barack Obama

"Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo. An Italian Catholic kid from Queens, born to immigrant parents, Mario paired his faith in God and faith in America to live a life of public service - and we are all better for it. He rose to be chief executive of the state he loved, a determined champion of progressive values, and an unflinching voice for tolerance, inclusiveness, fairness, dignity, and opportunity. His own story taught him that as Americans, we are bound together as one people, and our country's success rests on the success of all of us, not just a fortunate few. Michelle and I extend our deepest condolences to Mario's wife Matilda, his children, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Maria, Margaret, Madeline, and Chris, and his family, friends, and New Yorkers who loved him dearly."

Former New York Governor George Pataki

"Libby and I extend our deepest condolences to Matilda, Governor Cuomo and the entire family on the passing of Governor Mario Cuomo. Governor Cuomo was a proud son of immigrants and a compassionate leader who possessed a soaring intellect. He was a great New Yorker who will be missed."

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

"Our country and our region lost a giant today with the passing of Governor Mario Cuomo. He was a strong, eloquent leader who loved New York and its people. As an Italian-American, he was also a role model for future generations that anything was possible through hard work and education. Finally, he was a great husband, father and grandfather."

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy

"Today, America lost a man who inspired so many with extraordinary vision, soaring oratory, and an unwavering commitment to democratic values. Governor Mario Cuomo's words inspired public officials and community leaders across the nation that we can and must do better - for everyone. He leaves a legacy of government that does not turn its back on those who are struggling. Mario Cuomo indeed defined what it means to be a Democrat. We offer our condolences to Governor Andrew Cuomo and the entire Cuomo family on their loss."

U.S. Senator from New York Charles Schumer

"From the hard streets of Queens, Mario Cuomo rose to the very pinnacle of political power in New York because he believed in his bones in the greatness of this state, the greatness of America and the unique potential of every individual. From soaring oratory that stirred the very soul to painstaking coalition building to advance policies and accomplishments, he was a colossal political mind and represented the very best of public service; he leaves an indelible legacy on the state he loved. My prayers and thoughts are with the Governor, the whole Cuomo family, and all who knew and loved Mario. Our hearts go out to Governor Andrew Cuomo who gave a great speech today that I am certain his father was proud of."

U.S. Senator from New York Kirsten Gillibrand

"I am deeply saddened to learn about the passing of former Governor Mario Cuomo. His outstanding service to our state and his commitment to the ideals that founded our nation inspired a new generation to devote their lives to public service. I learned from Governor Cuomo's example, and his extraordinary legacy will continue to guide my own work on behalf of New Yorkers. I will always be grateful for his wisdom and generosity."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

"Mario Cuomo was a man of unwavering principle who possessed a compassion for humankind that was without equal. He established the gold standard in New York State for how public servants should act, and set an example that the rest of us continue to aspire to today. He was a man who campaigned with poetry and governed with beautiful prose. He was a man who always stood for what he believed in, no matter what challenges were before him. He taught us how the family of New York-and indeed the family of Americans-must always support those most in need of help. And he was a leader who always brought New York State to a better place. "

New York State Senate co-leader Dean Skelos

"Mario Cuomo was a legendary figure in New York politics who chose public service for all the right reasons. He could have run for President or been appointed to the Supreme Court, but he chose to stay and serve the people of New York. Mario Cuomo used his gift for oratory to speak about his beliefs and ideals with great passion and, in doing so, made a significant impact on the political history of our state and nation."

Rev. Al Sharpton

"The passing of Governor Mario Cuomo is a true loss to the nation, the state and lovers of civil rights and liberties. He was the last liberal giant of New York politics and was a true statesman/politician. We debated often but he never would reduce our disagreements to petty personal grudges. He was a philosopher at heart that always saw the bigger picture. Even when we would engage in debate I felt he was playing chess while I was playing checkers."

You can hear more from Rev. Al Sharpton on the passing of former Governor Mario Cuomo on "Up Close with Diana Williams" this Sunday at 11 a.m. on Channel 7.