Mario Cuomo’s 1983 Inaugural Address

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The state Archives has posted these videos of Mario Cuomo’s inaugural address in 1983.

The first clip outlines Mario Cuomo’s vision of the role of government, saying, “This state has always led the way in demonstrating government’s best uses. Overall, it has pursued a course of progressive pragmatism.”

Cuomo’s message then — and likely the one today from his son, Andrew — will be that government can be a source for positive change. Mario also walked into office with budget deficits, but he vowed that government needs to provide the support necessary to help those in need.

That will be a challenge for Andrew, who faces a $9 billion budget deficit and the likely need to cut services after vowing not to raise taxes.

“For more than 50 years without dramatic deviation, whatever party happened to be in power, New York has proven that government can be a positive source for good, and it still can be,” Mario Cuomo said.

“I believe government’s purpose, basically, is to allow those blessed with talent to go as far as they can on their own. But I believe government also has an obligation to assist those who for whatever inscrutable reason have been left out by fate – the homeless, the infirmed, the destitute – to help provide those necessary things, which through no fault of their own they cannot provide for themselves.

“Of course, we should have only the government that we need. But we must have and we will insist on, all the government that we need.”

In the second clip, Mario talks about his family coming to America with a strong work ethic and the hope that government can be of assistance as they pursued their dreams.

“This is not a personal story,” Mario said. “This is the story of all of us, what our imperfect but peerless system of government has done for those two frightened immigrants from Europe, it has done for millions of others in different ways.

“It must serve as a challenge to all of us, as we face the future. The achievements of our past impose upon us the obligation to do as least as much for those who come after us.”

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