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Edward Irving Koch

Koch, Edward Irving (kŏch) [key], 1924–2013, U.S. politician, mayor of New York City (1977–89), b. New York City. After receiving his law degree (New York Univ., 1948), he practiced as a lawyer, became active in reform Democratic politics, and later served on the New York city council (1967–68) and in the U.S. House of Representatives (1969–77). He came to political prominence as an opponent of Tammany Hall and later became a critic of the Vietnam War. In 1977 he became mayor of New York City. With the support of the municipal labor unions and the creation of the Municipal Assistance Corporation, Koch is credited with avoiding the city's bankruptcy during the financial crisis of the mid-1970s. He was reelected in 1981 and 1985. As mayor, his style was brash, forceful, and outspoken. In political philosophy, he moved from classic New York liberal in his early days to independent conservative in his later years. In 1982 he lost a bid for the Democratic nomination for governor of New York. He sought an unprecedented fourth term as mayor in 1989 but was defeated in the Democratic primary by David N. Dinkins, who was then elected mayor. With William Rauch, Koch wrote Mayor (1984), one of his 17 books. After leaving office, he remained active in politics, practiced law, lectured, wrote, and appeared frequently on television.

See his autobiography, Citizen Koch (1992); J. Soffer, Ed Koch and the Rebuilding of New York (2010); Neil Barsky, dir., Koch (documentary, 2013).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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