Alfred B. DelBello: His Life and Times, by John A. Lipman
“Without dedicated public servants, as yourself, at the local level, our efforts here in Washington would be for naught. I am very much aware of your personal commitment in this regard and I thank you for it….”
Jimmy Carter, former U.S. President, writing to Al Delbello in 1977.
“Al’s legacy is bigger than all of us, touching each of our lives, even today. A kind, generous and brilliant man who was a mentor to me, (Al) proved that anything is possible for a boy from Yonkers.” Michael Spano, mayor, city of Yonkers
As mayor of his native Yonkers—the third largest city in New York—Alfred Delbello defied an ingrained, corrupt, inefficient patronage system to bring fiscal sanity and better living conditions to Yonkers’ citizens. Delbello then became the first Democrat to be elected Westchester County Executive, where he balanced fiscal conservatism and an innovative approach to funding with improvements to health care, the environment, the criminal justice system, and equal rights.
Delbello brought a bipartisan approach to his role as New York State Governor Mario M. Cuomo’s first lieutenant governor in the early 1980s. Even after his resignation in 1985, he continued to pursue many of his political passions in business and, in so doing, become what Socrates would have called “a citizen of the world.”
In an age in which climate change, health care, and social injustice are key issues and bipartisanship an endangered species, one politician remains a not-so-distant mirror of how to work across party lines to ensure quality of life for all Americans.