Two legendary politicians passed away this month. The former New York governor and liberal titian Mario Cuomo passed away this month. And we just found out that Edward Brooke, the first Black senator from Massachusetts has passed away.
Mario Cuomo was an American politician and member of the Democratic Party. He served as the 52nd Governor of New York for three terms, from 1983 to 1994,
Lieutenant Governor of New York from 1979 to 1982, and Secretary of State of New York from 1975 to 1978.
Cuomo was known for his liberal views and public speeches, particularly his keynote speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention where he criticized Ronald Reagan's policies.
The speech brought him to national attention, and he was widely considered a front-runner for the Democratic nomination for President in both 1988 and 1992, but he declined to seek the nomination in both instances. His legacy as a reluctant standard-bearer for the Democrats in presidential elections led to him being dubbed "Hamlet on the Hudson".
Cuomo was defeated for a fourth term as Governor by George Pataki in the Republican Revolution of 1994, and he subsequently retired from politics. He was the father of five, including Andrew Cuomo, the current Governor of New York, and journalist Chris Cuomo, currently at CNN.
He died of natural causes due to heart failure in Manhattan, New York City on New Year's Day, 2015.
|President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Senator Edward Brooke, the first African American Republican to be elected since Reconstruction.|
Brooke was the last Republican Senator elected from Massachusetts until Scott Brown was elected in 2010. At his death in 2015, Brooke was the oldest living former Senator.
In 1967, he was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP.
In 1966, Brooke defeated former Governor Endicott Peabody with 1,213,473 votes to 744,761, and served as a United States Senator for two terms, from January 3, 1967, to January 3, 1979.
The black vote had, Time wrote, "no measurable bearing" on the election as less than 3% of the state's population was black, and Peabody also supported civil rights for blacks. Brooke stated "I do not intend to be a national leader of the Negro people", and the magazine stated that he "condemned both Stokely Carmichael and Georgia's Lester Maddox" as extremists; nonetheless, his historic election gave Brooke "a 50-state constituency, a power base that no other Senator can claim." In 1967, he served on the President's Commission on Civil Disorders. He was a member of the moderate wing of the Republican Party and organized the Senate's "Wednesday Club" of progressive Republicans who met for Wednesday lunches and strategy discussions. Brooke, who had supported Michigan Governor George W. Romney and then New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller's bids for the 1968 GOP presidential nomination against Richard Nixon's, often differed with President Nixon on matters of social policy and civil rights.
By his second year in the Senate, Brooke had taken his place as a leading advocate against discrimination in housing and on behalf of affordable housing. With Walter Mondale, a Minnesota Democrat and fellow member of the Senate Banking Committee, he co-authored the 1968 Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing, and created HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity as the primary enforcer of the law. President Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act into law on April 11, one week after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.. Dissatisfied with the weakened enforcement provisions that emerged from the legislative process,
Brooke repeatedly proposed stronger provisions during his Senate career. In 1969, Congress enacted the "Brooke Amendment" to the federal publicly assisted housing program which limited the tenants' out-of-pocket rent expenditure to 25 percent of his or her income. By the 1990s, the percentage had gradually increased, but the principle of limiting the housing 'burden' of very-low income renters survives in statute, as of 2008.
During the Nixon presidency, Brooke opposed repeated Administration attempts to close down the Job Corps and the Office of Economic Opportunity and to weaken the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission—all foundational elements of President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society.
In 1969, Brooke was a leader of the bipartisan coalition that defeated the Senate confirmation of the President's nominee to the Supreme Court, Clement Haynsworth. A few months later, he again organized sufficient Republican support to defeat Nixon's second Supreme Court nominee Harrold Carswell. Nixon then turned to Harry A. Blackmun, later the author of the Roe v. Wade opinion.
In 2008, Barbara Walters wrote in her memoir Audition that she and Brooke had an affair lasting several years during the 1970s, while Brooke was married to his first wife. Walters said that they ended the relationship to protect their careers from possible scandal.
We here at Journal de la Reyna send our condolences to the families of Mario Cuomo and Edward Brooke.