Friday, November 24, 2006
David Paterson, Lt. Governor-Elect An Introduction
David Paterson, Lt. Governor-Elect
(From Transition:New York)
David PatersonOn November 7th 2006, David A. Paterson was elected Lieutenant Governor of New York. Lieutenant Governor-elect David A. Paterson has overcome obstacles, broken barriers, and demanded change throughout his career. Paterson - who soon will become New York State's non-white and disabled Lieutenant Governor - has spent 21 years representing the New York State Senate's 30th District, encompassing Harlem, East Harlem, and the Upper West Side. During his campaign with gubernatorial running mate Eliot Spitzer, Paterson unveiled a series of initiatives that he plans to oversee as he reshapes the role of Lieutenant Governor. Paterson detailed plans involving stem cell research, domestic violence, Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprises, and energy. "For the past eight years, Eliot Spitzer has been the advocate for all of New York and now I want to be the advocate's advocate," Paterson said when addressing delegates at the New York State Democratic Convention in Buffalo in May. "I want to join Eliot Spitzer in putting this state back on track."
During the campaign, Paterson traveled across New York State and talked about reinvigorating the state's economy while lowering property taxes and ensuring that all communities benefit during the new administration. The Lieutenant Governor-elect also often talked about his own experience in surmounting challenges during his life and career. Paterson was born legally blind in St. John's Hospital in Brooklyn in 1954. When it came time for him to go to school, New York City's public schools refused to let him join a class with sighted children. Beginning a lifelong pattern, Paterson found another way to achieve his goal. David's parents established residency in Hempstead so he could attend a regular public school and, as a result, David graduated from Hempstead High School in 1971, Columbia University in 1977 and Hofstra Law School in 1983. After law school, he went to work for the Queens District Attorney's Office. Paterson was elected to the Senate in 1985 at age 31. In November 2002, Senator Paterson made history when he was elected Senate Minority Leader, becoming the first non-white legislative leader in New York State history, as well as the first visually-impaired senior member of New York's state government. As Senate Minority Leader,
Paterson also has served as the highest-ranking African-American elected official in New York State. As a member of the Democratic National Committee and a board member of the Democratic Legislature Campaign Committee, Paterson increasingly has been recognized as a rising figure in the Democratic Party. He was invited to address the delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004 as well as the Democratic mayors at the U.S. Conference of Mayors, underscoring his reputation as a gifted and sought-after leader.
As Senate Minority Leader, Paterson elevated his long-time commitment to reforming Albany into a statewide crusade. Having joined a Senate Reform Task Force in 1991, his new position as Minority Leader allowed him to bring reform to center stage. He called for reforms of the state lobbying laws, of state procurement procedures, and of campaign finance rules, reforms that he talked about during his campaign for Lieutenant Governor. Before last year, New York's state budget had not been passed on time for 20 years; Paterson thus proposed bills compelling legislators to remain in Albany until a budget had been passed. Paterson put New York's health care crisis front and center, issuing a comprehensive report on New York's Medicaid program. He proposed many innovations and effective tactics used by other states (including the bulk purchasing of medicines, a preferred drug list, and the increasing use of information technology in health care) that if implemented, would lower county and local taxes, vastly improve Medicaid's efficiency, and extend health care coverage to every qualified New Yorker.
The Lieutenant Governor-elect is nationally recognized as a leading advocate for the visually and physically impaired. He was elected as a member of the American Foundation for the Blind, and also serves as a board member of the Achilles Track Club, having completed the New York City Marathon in 1999. In September 2006, Paterson was honored by the New York Institute for Special Education. The Lieutenant Governor-elect lives in Harlem with his wife, Michelle Paige Paterson. They have two children: Ashley, who attends Ithaca College, and Alex, who attends school in New York City.
I am very happy to see David rise through the ranks and become Lt. Govenor..I am visually impaired myself and understand how hard it is sometimes to accomplish the most basic of things.............andy