- Associated Press - Saturday, May 16, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - Alfred DelBello, a former New York lieutenant governor, Westchester County executive and Yonkers mayor, has died at age 80.

DelBello’s wife, Dee DelBello, said he died Friday. She said her husband had been suffering from several ailments including neuropathy.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement that DelBello “demonstrated an enduring commitment to bettering the lives of others. This state is in a better place today because of his service.”

Rob Astorino, the incumbent Westchester executive, ordered county flags lowered to half-staff.

“We were good friends and I always appreciated his advice and counsel,” Astorino said.

DelBello, a Democrat, began his political career on the Yonkers City Council then became mayor in 1970. He was elected county executive in 1973, becoming the first Democrat to hold the office at a time when Westchester was heavily Republican. He was re-elected in 1977 and 1981.

While DelBello was county executive, the Westchester County Medical Center and a major recycling plant were established. County agencies were created to help women and the disabled.

In 1982, New York City Mayor Ed Koch ran for governor and chose DelBello as his running mate. Koch lost to Mario Cuomo in the Democratic primary, but DelBello defeated Cuomo’s chosen running mate, Carl McCall. That made for an awkward pairing of Cuomo and DelBello, but they won the election.

The governor and lieutenant governor were said to have a strained relationship, but DelBello’s resignation in 1985, to go into private business, was a surprise nevertheless. He called it “the most difficult decision of my career.”

DelBello later returned to law and was a partner in one of Westchester’s most prominent firms. He ran unsuccessfully for the state Senate in 1994.

Besides his wife, who is publisher of Westfair Communications, DelBello is survived by a son, Damon DelBello, and three grandchildren.

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