Ed Koch, who served as Mayor of New York City for twelve years, died today of congestive heart failure at the age of 88. His political career included a stint a city councilman and nine years in congress. He was known as an "independent liberal", who could work with conservatives. He crossed party lines on two notable occasions, supporting Rudy Giuliani's mayoral campaign in 1993 and President George W. Bush's re-election in 2004. Outside of politics, he had also been a television judge, radio talk show host, law partner, newspaper columnist, professor and movie reviewer.
Koch was born in the Bronx in 1924, the son of Louis and Joyce (Silpe) Koch, both Polish Jews who had each immigrated to New York. His family would move to Newark, NJ and later to Brooklyn. He spent two years attending City College in Manhattan before being drafted into the Army in 1943. Because he could speak German, he was assigned to help replace Nazis in government positions with non-Nazi Germans. He was discharged in 1946 with the rank of Sergeant. He got his law degree from New York University and spent 20 years practicing law before entering Congress. During his time as Mayor, from January 1, 1978 to December 31, 1989, he ran unsuccessfully for Governor, losing in the 1982 Democratic primary to Mario Cuomo. In 1989, he lost the primary for Mayor, to the man who would succeed him, David Dinkins.
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