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Local democrats to attend funeral for former Governor Mario Cuomo

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WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
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Three democratic Buffalo lawmakers are attending Tuesday's funeral for former Governor Mario Cuomo.   WBFO'S Eileen Buckley caught up with them at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport before they departed on a flight to New York City. 

Western New York Congressman Brian Higgins, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown headed out on the same flight late Monday afternoon.

"The Governor certainly cared about Buffalo and Western New York more than I think any other governor had before him," stated Poloncarz. 

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Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
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Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz reflects on former Governor before leaving the Buffalo Niagara International Airport Monday.

Former Governor Mario Cuomo will be laid to rest during a funeral Mass in New York City Tuesday morning.  Cuomo was a three-term governor. He died last Thursday at his Manhattan home at the age of 82.  His funeral begins at 11-o'clock at St. Ignatius Loyola Church on Park Avenue. 

"He talked about the good of public service. HE talked about how government is here for a reason and that's to serve its people," said the county executive. 

"He was a compelling, eloquent speaker. He espoused the principles of the democratic party, and it moved people accordingly," said Congressman Higgins.

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Congressman Brian Higgins reflecting on former Governor.

"The state is a better place because of the work of former Governor Mario Cuomo," said Mayor Brown. 

Mayor Brown was just starting his political career in the early part of the Cuomo Administration as a Common Council staffer in Buffalo. But later into the administration, Brown headed to Albany where he worked as a staff member for former Deputy Assembly Speaker Arthur Eve who had direct contact with Mario Cuomo.  

"I had the opportunity to be in a number of meetings with Governor Mario Cuomo.  Was certainly a major admirer of his," said Mayor Brown. "He was an amazingly  charismatic individual. He was a brilliant individual."  

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Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown reflecting on former Governor.

Brown noted he and the former governor both grew up in the same Queens neighborhood in New York City.

"I had the opportunity to be in a number of meetings with Governor Mario Cuomo. Was certainly a major admirer of his," said Mayor Brown. "He was an amazingly charismatic individual. He was a brilliant individual."

"He was an inspiration to me and so many others in this state," said Mayor Brown.

Newly sworn-in democratic state Senator Marc Panepinto also traveled to New York City Monday to attend both the wake and Tuesday's funeral for the former Governor. 

Panepinto, who was sworn-in during a Buffalo ceremony Monday, referred to former Governor Mario Cuomo as a "Liberal lion and the greatest orator of his time."

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