Monday, March 17, 2008

Paterson’s Sudden Ascent to Power

Is he a role model to the blind?

In an unseen twist of fate, David A. Paterson [D], 53 was sworn in, Monday, 17th of March in a packed Assembly Chamber at the state Capitol Albany, NY., by Chief Judge Judith Kaye as the State of New York’s first African-American black governor [the nation's third since Reconstruction]. His oath was made with his wife Michelle holding the Bible, as his stepdaughter, Ashley and his son, Alexander watched.

From a lieutenant governor of 14 months[Spitzer’s running mate], he rose to be the New York's 55th chief executive after the resignation of Eliot Spitzer amid allegations of hiring a high-priced escort call girl. A graduate of Columbia University [history, 1977] and Hofstra Law School [law, 1982], he was elected to the senate at the age of 31 representing the Harlem's 29th District, and also served as assistant professor at Columbia University's School for International and Public Affairs. He also worked as prosecutor before entering politics. He has a younger brother Daniel, who works in the New York state court system. His father, Basil [81], is the former New York's secretary of state, senator and deputy mayor. His wife, Michelle Paige Paterson, who has a graduate degree in health services policy, worked as director of government affairs in North General Hospital from 2002 to 2005.

In his address of the joint session of the New York legislature [with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno on the background], he said,
"This transition today is an historic message to the world: That we live by the same values that we profess, and we are a government of laws, not individuals ... We move forward ... Today is Monday. There is work to be done ... There was an oath to be taken. There's trust that needs to be restored. There are issues that need to be addressed ..."
which was interrupted several times with thunderous applause. Among the attendees are Sen. Hillary Clinton, Mayor Michael Bloomberg [New York City], and governors from three neighboring states.

President Bush sent his congratulatory call on Monday morning. According to White House press secretary Dana Perino,
"He said that his friends in New York had told him that while it's a big job … that you can handle it ... knows that Lt. Gov. Paterson will be able to do a great job, and that he looks forward to meeting him soon."
Regarding the New York’s estimated $124 billion budget this year facing a deadline this April 1, he was appraised by Joseph Bruno saying, "David is going to be right in the middle." Sheldon Silver said, "It's a daunting task, but I think with all the good will that's created, with the leadership of David Paterson, we're going to have a logical conclusion to a budget process."

Because he was legally blind since infancy [an infection had made his left sightless and his right with partial vision], there are some ridiculous, uncalled-for blind jokes and funny comments about him. One said that he might be blind also of his predecessor’s wrongdoings speculating that he will pardon him. Another said, “… a blind leading the blinds … he may never see that America is doomed.” Another one rebutted, “… excited to see somebody with disability to do so great.” Paterson once said, “I think people’s perception of me sometimes is that I see more than I actually do.” On an interview, days before being sworn, he responded with humor and frankness,
“I kind of feel like the student who’s getting ready for the final exam, but they didn’t attend any classes.”
Congratulations for the New Yorkers and hope that he will be accorded due support not only by the people of Harlem [as he is considered as their favorite son] but by all citizens of the State of New York.

Today, a staggering 70% of the nation’s legally blind are unemployed. Has he given hope to the visually impaired Americans?

Paterson Signs Five Bills Into Law
New N.Y. Governor Addresses Affairs

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