Hugh Carey, the former NY Governor who helped stabilize the state during the major financial crisis in the 1970s, died today. He passed away "peacefully" at his summer home on Shelter Island, his family said in a statement. He was 92.
Carey was the 51st governor of New York, serving from 1975 to 1982. “Governor Carey led our state during a time of great financial turmoil and pulled us back from the brink of bankruptcy and economic ruin,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement. Cuomo also called Carey "one of our finest leaders" and "a true American success story."
Carey was a liberal Democrat who served in Congress as a representative from Brooklyn for 14 years before running for governor in 1974. He made financial discipline a priority, declaring famously that New York state had been “living far beyond our means,” and telling the legislature in his first State of the State speech that “the days of wine and roses are over.”
The Times said Carey successfully navigated the state through the "direst emergency a governor had faced since the Depression", and also called him an enigma: "The witty storyteller who could charm an audience alternated with the irascible loner who alienated many of his allies."
Former Mayor Ed Koch effervescently praised Carey to the News: "He is the greatest governor of the modern era who saved both the city and the state and who has not been adequately appreciated for all the things he did...He knew how to get people to cooperate, knowing how to use the power of the governor's office. Some people govern by fear. He governed through exhibiting leadership and extending the hand of partnership."
Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement, "His strong and determined leadership and his ability to bring people together to fix the most difficult problems saved New York City during one of the toughest times in our history and set the stage for the city’s incredible rebirth in the years and decades that followed."