ALBANY, N.Y. – Local lawmakers met at the Capitol on Tuesday morning before traveling to New York City for the funeral of Mario Cuomo.
Cuomo’s service was held in Manhattan at the St. Ignatius Loyola Church. The services were open to family and friends of the Cuomo family.
State Police lined up in front of the church in Manhattan as many people lined the streets and waited to enter. Those attending had to be on a list in order to be admitted.
Two of Mario’s daughters did readings at the funeral mass. His grandchildren also stood on the altar to read the Prayers of the Faithful.
On Monday, hundreds of people said their final goodbyes at Cuomo’s wake, held at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral home in New York City. High profile public figures like Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, the Minority Leader of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer came out to pay their respects.
Some of the lawmakers headed to the funeral said they remember Cuomo as a leader who was very much for the people. Senator Joseph Griffo of the 47th District said he was the Mayor of Rome in Central New York during Cuomo’s last term and that despite political and ideological differences, he respected the Governor.
“He worked hard. He was a tireless worker. A very intelligent man, concerned for the people,” Griffo said. “He was very informed on the issues, very involved in trying to get to know what needed to be done and how to not only be attentive, but also responsive to those needs.”
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand traveled to New York for the funeral services.
“He was a role model,” she said. “He was a mentor. He was someone who helped me when I was a young congressional candidate without much of a chance.”
Those who worked with him in the legislature said he was incredibly intelligent, well read, and he did his homework.
“When you went to discuss a bill with him, and I’ve said this on many occasions, you better be prepared because he knew the bill inside and out,” Sen. Rep. Majority Leader Dean Skelos said.
Republican Senator Hugh Farley of the 49th District said he was part of the legislature all 12 years Cuomo was in office. He said they were close friends.
“He always was very interested in his job. He worked hard at his job. He paid attention, and he worked very hard at being governor,” he said.
“I was just so impressed with his eloquence,” Sen. Betty Little said. “You came out of there thinking you ought to believe everything he said even though you didn’t agree with it.”
Cuomo was remembered as a liberal icon. His son said he called himself a progressive pragmatist and that he believed in government and its power to help people. He focused on doing what was right regardless of what it would mean for him politically.
“He really was an example of how a governor should conduct themselves,” Skelos said. “Challenging the legislature but also respecting the legislature.”
“Family was first with him no question,” Farley said. “But his family was also the state of New York.”
In lieu of flowers, the Cuomo family requests contributions be made to HELP USA for the Mario M. Cuomo Mentoring Fund.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has postponed his state-of-the state address until January 21. It was initially scheduled for Wednesday, but has been pushed back after the news of his father’s death last week.