The late Gov. Mario Cuomo speaks at an Executive Mansion BBQ reception for the Democratic State Committee (1986).

The late Gov. Mario Cuomo speaks at his BBQ reception for the Democratic State Committee (1986). [photo credit: Michael Benjamin]

Excerpt from my latest City and State NY column, The Contradictions of Mario Cuomo:

“Bronx Rep. Jose E. Serrano, who served in the Assembly when Mario Cuomo was New York’s secretary of state, lieutenant governor and governor, told me that the man was an inspiration.

“We can do better for those who have less,” is a phrase Serrano recalled Cuomo often saying when reflecting on his approach to government.

That approach resulted in balanced education funding for communities previously given short shrift, Serrano said.

As a part of his Decade of the Child initiative, Gov. Cuomo created Child Health Plus (CHP) for uninsured, low-income children. As community relations manager at the time for The Bronx Health Plan (now rebranded as Affinity), I would promote CHP and Medicaid managed care enrollments.

Cuomo signed legislation sponsored by former Assemblyman Roberto Ramirez creating the Office of Minority Health to look at and deal with health care disparities in minority communities. Manny Rosa, the office’s first director, recalls that Cuomo tried “to make government relevant in everyday lives.”

Rosa credits the elder Cuomo for reaching out to minority communities, creating an office on women, pioneering domestic violence legislation, authorizing the EPIC prescription assistance program for seniors and examining sexual harassment in the state Legislature and government, and on SUNY campuses.”

Read the complete column here –