HKSB in the Media
Paterson Will Call for Bipartisanship in Speech
March 17, 2008
by James T. Madore
ALBANY—David A. Paterson, after being sworn in as the 55th governor this afternoon, will call for ending partisan wars to achieve a “good budget,” and more opportunities for all residents to succeed through hard work - a reference to his own striving to overcome blindness.
In his speech - expected to be about 20 minutes - Paterson will attempt to bolster residents’ faith in state government after Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s sudden resignation last Wednesday amid a sex scandal, an aide said yesterday. The ceremony occurs just a week after news broke of Spitzer’s alleged use of a high-priced prostitution ring.
While acknowledging this extraordinary string of events, Paterson will strike a tone of “optimism,” emphasizing the need for state leaders “to get back to work,” his aide said, adding the occasion wouldn’t be used to outline new policy initiatives.
Paterson, 53, spent yesterday memorizing his remarks at his house in an Albany suburb. He also discussed pressing issues with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan), according to Silver’s spokesman.
Paterson will be the state’s first black governor and the nation’s second legally blind governor. He’s expected to recount his refusal to learn Braille and insistence on being mainstreamed in public schools in Hempstead to “rally the troops” and speak of “the importance of creating a state where you can achieve great things if you work hard,” his aide said.
At the Capitol yesterday, broadcast technicians tested cameras in preparation for the 1 p.m. ceremony in the majestic Assembly chamber. Dignitaries expected to attend include Sens. Charles Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who came to office after her predecessor was engulfed by a corruption scandal.
Paterson is only the third person in modern times to reach New York’s Executive Mansion after its previous occupant resigned. In 1973, Lt. Gov. Malcolm Wilson succeeded Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, who stepped down to head a federal commission. And in 1913, acting Gov. Martin H. Glynn took over after the impeachment of Gov. William Sulzer on charges of campaign-finance irregularities.
Paterson, however, is the first to be sworn in before a joint session of the Legislature followed by a formal address.
Political experts advised him against dwelling on Spitzer’s fall from grace.
”It was so odd, so weird. ... I don’t think there’s any great healing or anything like that has to occur,” said political scientist Jeffrey Stonecash of Syracuse University. “[Paterson] needs to get on with the business of government.”
Richard M. Bivone of the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce, invited to the ceremony, agreed. “I’m expecting to hear unity, working together ... because when people elect officials to represent them, they want to see things get done.”
PATTERSON’S BIG DAY
11:30 a.m. He’ll meet privately with Mayor Michael Bloom- berg in the state Capitol Building.
1 p.m. Will be sworn in as New York’s 55th governor in the State Assembly chamber before Court of Appeals judges and 212 lawmakers, followed by speech.
When David A. Paterson is sworn in this afternoon, he will become the state’s first African-American governor and its first blind governor. We asked people with similar backgrounds what qualities they believe he will bring to the office.
John DeWitt Gregory, professor of family law at Hofstra University School of Law, 76, Manhattan:
”I think all of us, at least as far I can tell, are products of our experiences, and the experience of being black ... is certainly different from the experiences that one might have in a majority culture ... I do think there is bound to be some additional perspectives that one would gain because of what one has to overcome in order to succeed - without question.”
Henry Holley, president of the Holley Group, a business consulting firm, and past president of the 100 Black Men of Long Island, 68, Hempstead:
”David [Paterson] is extremely smart. He is a people person, he is very candid, politically knowledgeable and business knowledgeable. ... David has the ability to pull both political sides, as well as any other political group, together.”
Carmen Greico, a retired teacher from Levittown:
”He’s been chosen because of his ability—for what he can do—not for what he can’t do because of his impairment.
Amanda Baker, 12, interviewed at Helen Keller Services for the Blind in Huntington:
”He’s going to show everybody that just because we’re blind doesn’t mean we have to be challenged, because we’re not physically challenged or mentally challenged.”
Copyright © 2008, Newsday Inc.