Monday, August 08, 2011

Farewell to Brooklyn's Hugh Carey

Hugh Carey, the Brooklyn-born Democrat who governed New York from 1975 through 1983 during the toughest fiscal crisis in state history, passed away today at the age of 92. You can read comprehensive obits at all the major news sites (WSJ, NYT, etc), but if you'd like a more in-depth look at what made Carey great, the book pictured above, The Man Who Saved New York, offers a good one (a book which I reviewed for the New York Observer last summer). Carey's passing is a sad reminder of his successful rescue of New York City in 1975, which couldn't contrast more starkly with the current Congressional catastrophe. An independent Democrat who beat the machine candidate to the Governor's mansion (someday soon, New Kings Democrats, someday soon), Carey was able to walk a fine line between constituents and players that included businessmen eager to break the welfare state and union chiefs with a fierce desire to protect their pension funds and guaranteed raises. With the help of his political team, Carey brokered a solution that cut costs, raised revenues, and set the state budget on a relatively balanced track for close to a generation. It's no wonder that Andrew Cuomo passed copies of The Man Who Saved New York to labor leaders and others he'll be working with on the state budget when he took office.

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