Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Introducing David Paterson

The current scandal involving Elliot Spitzer, governor of New York, might bring David Paterson into the governor's seat:

From his official state website:

David A. Paterson was elected New York’s lieutenant governor on November 7, 2006.

Elected to represent Harlem in the New York State Senate in 1985, David Paterson has demanded and achieved change at every level, not simply by what he stands for but by who he is.

In 2002, David Paterson was elected minority leader of the New York State Senate, the first non-white legislative leader in New York’s history. In 2004 in Boston, he became the first visually impaired person to address a Democratic National Convention. And 2006 saw Mr. Paterson make history again by being elected New York’s first African-American lieutenant governor.

As New York State Senate minority leader, David Paterson led the charge on several crucial issues for New York’s future, proposing legislation for a $1 billion voter-approved stem cell research initiative, demanding a statewide alternative energy strategy, insisting on strong action to fight against domestic violence, and serving as the primary champion for minority- and women-owned businesses in New York. As a result, Governor Spitzer asked Mr. Paterson to continue to lead New York State on these issues as lieutenant governor.

Lt. Governor Paterson, who is legally blind, is also nationally recognized as a leading advocate for the visually and physically impaired. A graduate of Columbia University and Hofstra Law School, Mr. Paterson also currently serves as an adjunct professor at Columbia’s School for International and Public Affairs. David Paterson lives in Harlem with his wife, Michelle, and their two children, Ashley and Alex, and he is the son of Basil Paterson, the first non-white secretary of state of New York and the first African-American vice-chair of the national Democratic Party.

From: http://www.ny.gov/ltgov/


Penny L. Richards said...

Thanks Leila! I was planning to look up more about him today myself -- sounds like an interesting, accomplished guy, to say the least.

Leila Monaghan said...

Yeah, although I like Spitzer a lot and think he did well as the attorney general, Paterson would be a great person to have in such an important office, a real advocate for Disability Rights. Max Cleland, the former senator, was the highest ranking person with disabilities that I know of, any information about other blind people holding office?

Problem is Spitzer & Paterson's opponents in the Assembly and Senate are hard core Republicans who have been consistently battling with them over the last few years. Don't know if this will change under Paterson if he does become governor.

Penny L. Richards said...

I wrote a post last year sometime about some disabled veterans and other amputees in Congress:


We've also had posts here about Barbara Jordan and Tony Coelho as disabled members of Congress. There was at least one blind member of Congress (Thomas D. Schall, 1878-1935), I have him in the queue for a post soon.

But I can't find any evidence of a blind state governor--if Paterson takes the top post in all this, I think he'll be a first for that.

Penny L. Richards said...

Sorry, wrote that in haste--Thomas D. Schall was another blind Congressman, after Ira Clifton Copley (1864-1947), who was mentioned in the post above. So there are two that I know of.