Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Black Governor Watch: David Paterson
With the impending resignation of New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, David Paterson, the current NY Lt. Gov., will be only the third Black governor since Reconstruction. He will be the first Black governor for New York. He will make history alongside Deval Patrick (Mass.) and L. Douglas Wilder (VA).
Spitzer is in trouble for frequenting prostitutes. Spitzer's actions rise to scandal level because he has marketed himself as an incorruptiable, virtuous politician who has also been quick to indict others' professional and personal ethics. Spitzer took on Wall Street, attempting to bust up corruption in the financial district. His opponents said he had a "holier-than-thou" attitude.
Paterson, a Democrat, seems to be well-liked all around. He is a Harlemite. He is the son of Basil Paterson, a NY state senator from 1965-1970. David Paterson is a graduate of Columbia University and Hofstra University School of Law. He was elected to the state Senate in 1985, and by all accounts represented districts such as Harlem well. He earned the post of Senate minority leader in 2002. In 2004, he addressed the Democratic National Convention-- the first blind person to do so.
Yes, in addition to being NY's first Black governor, Paterson will also be its first blind one. An infancy ailment took virtually all of his sight. Still, he can memorize and deliver lengthy, highly engaging speeches. He has stored in this memory banks legal references which he can pull up at the drop of a hat during debates. He possesses an incomparable intellect...as well as wit.
Paterson would serve out the nearly three years left on Spitzer's term.