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David Paterson

David Paterson

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David Alexander Paterson (born May 20, 1954) is an American politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 who served as the 55th Governor of New York
Governor of New York
The Governor of the State of New York is the chief executive of the State of New York. The governor is the head of the executive branch of New York's state government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military and naval forces. The officeholder is afforded the courtesy title of His/Her...

, from 2008 to 2010. During his tenure he was the first governor of New York of African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 heritage and also the second legally blind
Blindness
Blindness is the condition of lacking visual perception due to physiological or neurological factors.Various scales have been developed to describe the extent of vision loss and define blindness...

 governor of any U.S. state after Bob C. Riley
Bob C. Riley
Bob Cowley Riley was an American educator and politician who served as Acting Governor of Arkansas for 11 days in 1975. He had previously been a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1946 to 1950, the mayor of Arkadelphia, Arkansas, in 1966 and 1967, and the eighth Lieutenant...

, who was Acting Governor of Arkansas for 11 days in January 1975. Since leaving office, Paterson has been a radio talk show host on station WOR
WOR (AM)
WOR is a class A , AM radio station located in New York, New York, U.S., operating on 710 kHz. The station has a talk format and has been owned by Buckley Broadcasting since 1987, after the station was sold by RKO. The station has conservative, or right-of-center hosts.Its call letters have no...

 in New York City.

After graduating from Hofstra Law School, Paterson worked in the District Attorney's office
District attorney
In many jurisdictions in the United States, a District Attorney is an elected or appointed government official who represents the government in the prosecution of criminal offenses. The district attorney is the highest officeholder in the jurisdiction's legal department and supervises a staff of...

 of Queens County, New York
Queens
Queens is the easternmost of the five boroughs of New York City. The largest borough in area and the second-largest in population, it is coextensive with Queens County, an administrative division of New York state, in the United States....

, and on the staff of Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

 Borough President
Borough president
Borough President is an elective office in each of the five boroughs of New York City.-Reasons for establishment:...

 David Dinkins
David Dinkins
David Norman Dinkins is a former politician from New York City. He was the Mayor of New York City from 1990 through 1993; he was the first and is, to date, the only African American to hold that office.-Early life:...

. In 1985, he was elected to the New York State Senate
New York State Senate
The New York State Senate is one of two houses in the New York State Legislature and has members each elected to two-year terms. There are no limits on the number of terms one may serve...

 to a seat that was once held by his father, former New York Secretary of State Basil Paterson
Basil Paterson
Basil Alexander Paterson , a labor lawyer, is a longtime political leader in New York and Harlem and father of the 55th Governor of New York, David Paterson. His mother was Jamaican, his father Grenadian.-Early life:...

. In 2003, he rose to the position of Senate Minority Leader. Paterson was selected as running mate
Running mate
A running mate is a person running together with another person on a joint ticket during an election. The term is most often used in reference to the person in the subordinate position but can also properly be used when referring to both candidates, such as "Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen were...

 by then-New York Attorney General and Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 gubernatorial nominee Eliot Spitzer
Eliot Spitzer
Eliot Laurence Spitzer is an American lawyer, former Democratic Party politician, and political commentator. He was the co-host of In the Arena, a talk-show and punditry forum broadcast on CNN until CNN cancelled his show in July of 2011...

 in the 2006 New York gubernatorial election
New York gubernatorial election, 2006
The New York gubernatorial election of 2006 was a race for the governorship of this U.S. state. Eliot Spitzer was elected on November 7, 2006, succeeding Governor George Pataki, the three-term incumbent, who did not run for a fourth term....

. Spitzer and Paterson were elected in November 2006 with 69 percent of the vote, and Paterson took office as Lieutenant Governor on January 1, 2007.

When Spitzer resigned in the wake of a prostitution scandal
Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal
The Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal began on March 10, 2008, when The New York Times reported that Democratic New York Governor Eliot Spitzer had patronized a prostitution service called Emperors Club VIP...

, Paterson was sworn in as governor of New York on March 17, 2008. Paterson launched a brief campaign for a full term as Governor in the 2010 gubernatorial election
New York gubernatorial election, 2010
The New York gubernatorial election of 2010 was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2010, to elect the Governor of New York, who will serve a four-year term to begin in January 2011. Incumbent Democratic Governor David Paterson, elected as Lieutenant Governor in 2006 as the running mate of former Governor...

, but announced on February 26, 2010, that he would not be a candidate in the Democratic primary.

Early life and background


David Paterson was born in Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

 to Portia Paterson, a homemaker, and labor law attorney Basil Paterson
Basil Paterson
Basil Alexander Paterson , a labor lawyer, is a longtime political leader in New York and Harlem and father of the 55th Governor of New York, David Paterson. His mother was Jamaican, his father Grenadian.-Early life:...

. Basil Paterson was later a New York state senator and secretary of state, and served as deputy mayor
Deputy Mayor
Deputy mayor is an elective or appointive office of the second-ranking official in many local governments. Many elected deputy mayors are members of the city council who are given the title and serve as acting mayor in the mayor's absence...

 of New York City. According to a New York Now interview, Paterson traces his roots on his mother's side of the family to pre-Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 African American slaves in the states of North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

 and South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

. His father is half Afro-Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

n. His paternal grandmother, Evangeline Rondon Paterson (1900–1985) was secretary to Black Nationalist leader Marcus Garvey
Marcus Garvey
Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr., ONH was a Jamaican publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator who was a staunch proponent of the Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements, to which end he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League...

. His paternal grandfather was Leonard James Paterson (1894–1968), a native of St. George's, Grenada
St. George's, Grenada
St. George's, population 89,018 , with an agglomeration of 4,500 people , is the capital of Grenada, . The city is surrounded by a hillside of an old volcano crater and is on a horseshoe-shaped harbor....

 who arrived in the United States aboard the S.S. Vestris on May 16, 1917. Paterson has recently undergone genetic genealogy
Genealogy
Genealogy is the study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history. Genealogists use oral traditions, historical records, genetic analysis, and other records to obtain information about a family and to demonstrate kinship and pedigrees of its members...

 testing. His father's side consists of ancestors from England, Ireland, and Scotland, while his mother's side includes European ancestry as well as the Guinea-Bissau
Guinea-Bissau
The Republic of Guinea-Bissau is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Senegal to the north, and Guinea to the south and east, with the Atlantic Ocean to its west....

 region of West Africa.

At the age of three months, Paterson contracted an ear infection which spread to his optic nerve
Optic nerve
The optic nerve, also called cranial nerve 2, transmits visual information from the retina to the brain. Derived from the embryonic retinal ganglion cell, a diverticulum located in the diencephalon, the optic nerve doesn't regenerate after transection.-Anatomy:The optic nerve is the second of...

, leaving him with no sight in his left eye and severely limited vision in his right. Since New York City public schools would not guarantee him an education without placing him in special education
Special education
Special education is the education of students with special needs in a way that addresses the students' individual differences and needs. Ideally, this process involves the individually planned and systematically monitored arrangement of teaching procedures, adapted equipment and materials,...

 classes, his family bought a home in the Long Island
Long Island
Long Island is an island located in the southeast part of the U.S. state of New York, just east of Manhattan. Stretching northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island contains four counties, two of which are boroughs of New York City , and two of which are mainly suburban...

 suburb of South Hempstead
South Hempstead, New York
South Hempstead is a hamlet in Nassau County, New York, United States. The population was 3,243 at the 2010 census.South Hempstead is in the town of Hempstead...

 so that he could attend mainstream classes there. Paterson was the first disabled student in the Hempstead public schools, graduating from Hempstead High School
Hempstead High School (New York)
Hempstead High School is a public high school located in Hempstead, New York.-Design:The building is a three level structure with an open courtyard in the center of the school. The school is built on a marshy area and local legend holds that the school sinks a few inches every year...

 in 1971.

Paterson received a B.A.
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 in History from Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 in 1977 and a law degree
Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor is a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law.The degree was first awarded by Harvard University in the United States in the late 19th century and was created as a modern version of the old European doctor of law degree Juris Doctor (see etymology and...

 from Hofstra Law School in 1983. After law school, he went to work for the Queens
Queens
Queens is the easternmost of the five boroughs of New York City. The largest borough in area and the second-largest in population, it is coextensive with Queens County, an administrative division of New York state, in the United States....

 District Attorney
District attorney
In many jurisdictions in the United States, a District Attorney is an elected or appointed government official who represents the government in the prosecution of criminal offenses. The district attorney is the highest officeholder in the jurisdiction's legal department and supervises a staff of...

's Office, but did not pass the New York bar examination
Bar examination
A bar examination is an examination conducted at regular intervals to determine whether a candidate is qualified to practice law in a given jurisdiction.-Brazil:...

, and did not become an Attorney at law. He attributed his failing the New York bar to insufficient accommodation for his visual impairment, and has since advocated for changes in bar exam procedures.

While he was governor, Paterson's staff read documents to him over voice mail. Paterson was the first governor of New York to be partly blind.

Political career



In 1985, Paterson resigned from the Queens District Attorney's office so he could join the campaign of then city clerk David Dinkins
David Dinkins
David Norman Dinkins is a former politician from New York City. He was the Mayor of New York City from 1990 through 1993; he was the first and is, to date, the only African American to hold that office.-Early life:...

 to win the Democratic nomination for Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

 Borough President
Borough president
Borough President is an elective office in each of the five boroughs of New York City.-Reasons for establishment:...

. That summer, on August 6, state senator Leon Bogues
Leon Bogues
Leon Bogues was a New York State politician. Bogues was a State Senator representing the 29th District, comprising Harlem and the Upper West Side. He was succeeded in office by David Paterson....

 died, and Paterson sought and obtained the Democratic party nomination for the seat. In mid-September, a meeting of 648 Democratic committee members on the first ballot gave Paterson 58% of the vote, giving him the party nomination. That October, Paterson won the virtually uncontested special State Senate
New York State Senate
The New York State Senate is one of two houses in the New York State Legislature and has members each elected to two-year terms. There are no limits on the number of terms one may serve...

 election. At the time, the 29th Senate district covered the Manhattan neighborhoods of Harlem
Harlem
Harlem is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan, which since the 1920s has been a major African-American residential, cultural and business center. Originally a Dutch village, formally organized in 1658, it is named after the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands...

, Manhattan Valley
Manhattan Valley
Manhattan Valley is a neighborhood on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City, bounded by West 110th Street to the north, Central Park West to the east, West 96th Street to the south, and Broadway to the west...

 and the Upper West Side
Upper West Side
The Upper West Side is a neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan, New York City, that lies between Central Park and the Hudson River and between West 59th Street and West 125th Street...

, the same district that Paterson's father had represented. Upon his election, Paterson became the youngest State Senator in Albany. He won the seat again in 1986 for a full term representing the 29th District in the New York State Senate, and served as senator until assuming the office of Lieutenant Governor on January 1, 2007.

Paterson briefly ran in the Democratic primary for the office of New York City Public Advocate in 1993, but was defeated by Mark J. Green
Mark J. Green
Mark J. Green is an author, public interest lawyer and a Democratic politician who lives in New York City. He worked with Ralph Nader from 1970-1980, eventually as director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch, and is also the former president of Air America Radio .He was New York City Consumer...

.

Senate minority leader


Paterson was elected by the Democratic caucus of the Senate as Minority Leader
Minority leader
In U.S. politics, the minority leader is the floor leader of the second largest caucus in a legislative body. Given the two-party nature of the U.S. system, the minority leader is almost inevitably either a Republican or a Democrat, with their counterpart being of the opposite party. The position...

 on November 20, 2002, becoming both the first non-white state legislative leader and the highest-ranking black elected official in the history of New York State, unseating the incumbent Minority Leader, Martin Connor
Martin Connor
Martin Connor is a former member of the New York State Senate from Brooklyn, New York. He was first elected to the State Senate in a special election in 1978. He is a Democrat. The 25th Senate District that he represented covers lower Manhattan and an area of Brooklyn down the East River from...

. Paterson became known for his consensus-building style coupled with sharp political skills.

In 2006, Paterson sponsored a controversial bill to limit the use of deadly force by the police, but later changed that position. He also supported non-citizen voting in New York local elections. According to the New York Post
New York Post
The New York Post is the 13th-oldest newspaper published in the United States and is generally acknowledged as the oldest to have been published continuously as a daily, although – as is the case with most other papers – its publication has been periodically interrupted by labor actions...

, he "chalked up a heavily liberal record. " Describing Paterson's tenure in the senate, The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

cited his "wit, flurries of reform proposals and unusual bursts of candor."

Lieutenant Governor of New York



Paterson was selected by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer
Eliot Spitzer
Eliot Laurence Spitzer is an American lawyer, former Democratic Party politician, and political commentator. He was the co-host of In the Arena, a talk-show and punditry forum broadcast on CNN until CNN cancelled his show in July of 2011...

 as his running mate for the Governor's office in 2006. The news stunned the New York political world, as the Democratic minority was poised to possibly take over the state legislature. Paterson would trade a possible powerful Senate Majority Leader position for the largely ceremonial Lieutenant Governor post. During their 2006 campaign, Paterson resolved a dispute with Spitzer over turf wars between staff members. The Spitzer-Paterson ticket won a landslide victory in the election, with 69% of the vote. It was the largest margin of victory in a gubernatorial race in New York history, and the second-largest for any statewide race in New York history.

In late December 2006, shortly before being sworn in as lieutenant governor, Paterson said that if he ever succeeded Spitzer as governor, he and Nelson A. Rockefeller would have something besides the governorship in common: great difficulty in reading. Rockefeller was dyslexic, which Paterson compared to his blindness. During his time as Lieutenant Governor, Paterson also served as an adjunct professor at Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

's School for International and Public Affairs.

As Lieutenant Governor, Paterson was involved in a range of issues, including:
Stem cell research
Paterson is a proponent of embryonic stem cell research. He led Spitzer's successful 2007 legislative effort to approve a bond issue
Bond (finance)
In finance, a bond is a debt security, in which the authorized issuer owes the holders a debt and, depending on the terms of the bond, is obliged to pay interest to use and/or to repay the principal at a later date, termed maturity...

 which will provide at least $1 billion toward stem cell research. Spitzer and Paterson touted the measure partly for its economic development
Economic development
Economic development generally refers to the sustained, concerted actions of policymakers and communities that promote the standard of living and economic health of a specific area...

 benefits, following California's $3 billion effort
California Constitution Article XXXV
Proposition 71 of 2004 is a law enacted by California voters to support stem cell research in the state. It was proposed by means of the initiative process and approved in the 2004 state elections on November 2...

, which in turn had been prompted by the U.S. federal government halting funding for such research. The New York state legislature had opposed funding the research, and it remains controversial
Stem cell controversy
The stem cell controversy is the ethical debate primarily concerning the creation, treatment, and destruction of human embryos incident to research involving embryonic stem cells. Not all stem cell research involves the creation, use, or destruction of human embryos...

.

Voting rights
In September 2007, Paterson weighed in on a proposal before the New York City Council
New York City Council
The New York City Council is the lawmaking body of the City of New York. It has 51 members from 51 council districts throughout the five boroughs. The Council serves as a check against the mayor in a "strong" mayor-council government model. The council monitors performance of city agencies and...

 to extend voting rights to noncitizens. He told a crowd gathered at the West Indian American Day Carnival Parade that he believed noncitizens should be granted voting rights. He stressed he was asking for a change in policy, rather than a new law, citing that although 22 states and territories between 1776 and 1920 allowed the practice, none do now. Governor Spitzer issued a statement that he did not agree with Paterson's position, and claimed he was unaware Paterson would be speaking on the matter. Paterson had tried to introduce legislation granting voting rights to noncitizens as a State Senator fifteen years earlier.

Lawsuit over bias allegation
In February 2008, a U.S. District Judge denied a motion to dismiss a racial discrimination lawsuit naming Paterson. A former staff photographer, a white male, claimed that he was the victim of discrimination in 2005 when Paterson's office replaced him with a black photographer. According to the New York Post
New York Post
The New York Post is the 13th-oldest newspaper published in the United States and is generally acknowledged as the oldest to have been published continuously as a daily, although – as is the case with most other papers – its publication has been periodically interrupted by labor actions...

, Paterson's chief of staff "denied the claim... Paterson, in his deposition, countered that the decision... was simple politics - [the photographer] was a holdover from former Minority Leader Marty Connor
Martin Connor
Martin Connor is a former member of the New York State Senate from Brooklyn, New York. He was first elected to the State Senate in a special election in 1978. He is a Democrat. The 25th Senate District that he represented covers lower Manhattan and an area of Brooklyn down the East River from...

, who was ousted by Paterson in 2003."

Governor of New York


Following Spitzer's resignation, Paterson was sworn in as the 55th Governor of New York
Governor of New York
The Governor of the State of New York is the chief executive of the State of New York. The governor is the head of the executive branch of New York's state government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military and naval forces. The officeholder is afforded the courtesy title of His/Her...

, at the New York State Capitol
New York State Capitol
The New York State Capitol is the capitol building of the U.S. state of New York. Housing the New York State Legislature, it is located in the state capital city Albany, on State Street in Capitol Park. The building, completed in 1899 at a cost of $25 million , was the most expensive government...

 on March 17, 2008, by New York Chief Judge Judith Kaye
Judith Kaye
Judith S. Kaye is a retired New York judge who served as Chief Judge of New York from March 23, 1993 until December 31, 2008. She was the first woman to occupy the State Judiciary's highest office.-Early life and education:...

.

Paterson was the first black Governor of New York
Governor of New York
The Governor of the State of New York is the chief executive of the State of New York. The governor is the head of the executive branch of New York's state government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military and naval forces. The officeholder is afforded the courtesy title of His/Her...

 and the fourth in any U.S. state (following Reconstruction-era Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

 Gov. P. B. S. Pinchback
P. B. S. Pinchback
Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback was the first non-white and first person of African American descent to become governor of a U.S. state...

, former Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 Gov. Douglas Wilder
Douglas Wilder
Lawrence Douglas "Doug" Wilder is an American politician, the first African American to be elected as governor of Virginia, and the second to serve as governor of a U.S. state. Wilder served as the 66th Governor of Virginia from 1990 to 1994. When earlier elected as Lieutenant Governor, he was...

, and current Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

 Gov. Deval Patrick
Deval Patrick
Deval Laurdine Patrick is the 71st and current Governor of Massachusetts. A member of the Democratic Party, Patrick served as an Assistant United States Attorney General under President Bill Clinton...

). The Lieutenant Governor's office remained vacant until September 22, 2009, when the New York Court of Appeals
New York Court of Appeals
The New York Court of Appeals is the highest court in the U.S. state of New York. The Court of Appeals consists of seven judges: the Chief Judge and six associate judges who are appointed by the Governor to 14-year terms...

, ruled in a 4-3 decision that Paterson's appointment of Richard Ravitch
Richard Ravitch
Richard Ravitch is an American politician and businessman who served as the 75th Lieutenant Governor of New York from 2009 to 2010. He was appointed to the position in July 2009 by New York Governor David Paterson...

 was constitutional. Prior to this appointment, under the state's constitution, the president pro tempore of the state senate
Majority Leader of the New York State Senate
The Majority Leader of the New York State Senate is elected by the majority of the members of the New York State Senate. The position usually coincides with the title of Temporary President of the State Senate, who presides over the session of the State Senate if the Lieutenant Governor of New York...

, Malcolm Smith, would have been next in the line of succession for the Governor's office.

Paterson has used Global Strategy Group
Global Strategy Group
Global Strategy Group is a public affairs and research firm specializing in research, strategic communications, digital strategy, grassroots and grasstops organizing, marketing and branding. GSG clients include political candidates, corporations and advocacy organizations worldwide...

 consultants for political advice as governor. His relationship with the firm began earlier. When he was lieutenant governor, GSG executives advised him on how to make the job more prominent, and the firm again advised him during the transition and afterward. Soon after becoming governor, Paterson hired former Risa B. Heller from GSG as his director of communications. As of September 2008, Paterson and the state Democratic Party were each paying GSG a retainer of $15,000 a month in addition to costs associated with polling and political advertising.

On July 17, 2008, Paterson was the keynote speaker addressing the 99th annual convention of the NAACP in Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio. Cincinnati is the county seat of Hamilton County. Settled in 1788, the city is located to north of the Ohio River at the Ohio-Kentucky border, near Indiana. The population within city limits is 296,943 according to the 2010 census, making it Ohio's...

. Other speakers included Congressman Charles Rangel and U.S. Presidential candidate John McCain
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

.

Although Paterson is a lifelong Democrat who was considered a liberal during his time in the State Senate, he earned praise from conservatives during his time as Governor for his efforts to combat the 2008 New York fiscal crisis by major reductions in spending and the enaction of an inflation-indexed property tax cap, a school tax "circuit breaker," and unfunded mandate relief, as well as his appointment of Blue Dog Democrat
Blue Dog Democrat
The Blue Dog Coalition, commonly known as the Blue Dogs, is a group of United States Congressional Representatives from the Democratic Party who identify themselves as moderates....

 Kirsten Gillibrand
Kirsten Gillibrand
Kirsten Elizabeth Rutnik Gillibrand is an attorney and the junior United States Senator from the state of New York and a member of the Democratic Party...

 to the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 to fill the vacancy created by Hillary Clinton's appointment as United States Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

.

In September 2010, Paterson was one of seven governors to receive a grade of F
Academic grading in the United States
Academic grading in the United States most commonly takes on the form of five letter grades. Historically, the grades were A, B, C, D, and F—A being the highest and F, denoting failure, the lowest. In the mid-twentieth century, many American educational institutions—especially in the Midwest —began...

 in the Cato Institute
Cato Institute
The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1977 by Edward H. Crane, who remains president and CEO, and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries, Inc., the largest privately held...

's fiscal-policy report card.

First day as Governor


Paterson ascended to the governor's office during the busiest legislative period of the year. The state is required by law to pass its budget
Budget
A budget is a financial plan and a list of all planned expenses and revenues. It is a plan for saving, borrowing and spending. A budget is an important concept in microeconomics, which uses a budget line to illustrate the trade-offs between two or more goods...

 prior to April 1. He had only two weeks to negotiate with lawmakers a proposal to close a $4.7 billion deficit and pass a $124 billion budget from the Spitzer administration. He stated in his inauguration speech that it would be his top priority.

Paterson also made reference in his speech to the economic woes
Subprime mortgage crisis
The U.S. subprime mortgage crisis was one of the first indicators of the late-2000s financial crisis, characterized by a rise in subprime mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures, and the resulting decline of securities backed by said mortgages....

 being faced in the United States, calling them a "crisis", and promised to "adjust the budget accordingly." Since 1984, New York State has only passed a budget on time once, in 2005, leading Paterson to call for an "end to the dysfunction in Albany" in his speech, echoing a 56-page study from the nonpartisan New York University
New York University
New York University is a private, nonsectarian research university based in New York City. NYU's main campus is situated in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan...

 School of Law's
New York University School of Law
The New York University School of Law is the law school of New York University. Established in 1835, the school offers the J.D., LL.M., and J.S.D. degrees in law, and is located in Greenwich Village, in the New York City borough of Manhattan....

 Brennan Center for Justice
Brennan Center for Justice
The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School is a non-partisan public policy and law institute that focuses on issues involving democracy and justice...

, which referred to the legislature as "the least deliberative and most dysfunctional in the nation".

Paterson quickly signed five pieces of legislation on his first day in office: to add the New York State Department of Labor to the New York City Transit Track Safety Task Force; to eliminate a law that discouraged employers from holding blood drives
Blood donation
A blood donation occurs when a person voluntarily has blood drawn and used for transfusions or made into medications by a process called fractionation....

; to change the way in which members are appointed to a state health and research board; to restore eligibility caps to certain senior employment programs; and to grant tax exemptions to several local development corporations in New York State.

He went on to ask for letters of resignation from all of his top staff members and state-agency commissioners. This typical action does not mean the hold overs from the Spitzer administration will be replaced, and Paterson said that "having the letters gives him the flexibility to make changes if he decides to".

Personal revelations


One day after Paterson's inauguration as the Governor of New York, both he and his wife acknowledged having had extramarital affairs, one with a state employee. Paterson's admissions went against the so-called "Bear Mountain Compact
Bear Mountain Compact
The Bear Mountain Compact is an unofficial agreement among members of the New York State legislature in which they agree to keep whatever happens in the state capital in Albany, such as extramarital affairs and other embarrassing behavior, secret...

", a practice by lawmakers that their transgressions in the state capital would be reported elsewhere.

Same-sex marriage


In May 2008, Governor Paterson informed New York State agencies that they were required to recognize same-sex marriage licenses from other jurisdictions for purposes of employee benefits. The governor's directive was purportedly based upon a decision from New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division
New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division
The Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division is the intermediate appellate court in New York State. The Appellate Division is composed of four departments .*The First Department covers the Bronx The Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division is the intermediate...

's Fourth Department. The governor's directive did not receive widespread public attention until weeks after the directive was given. At that time, the governor's decision provoked public reaction on both sides of the issue. While Governor Paterson's directive received widespread approbation from same-sex marriage supporters, it was met with criticism from conservative legislators and from same-sex marriage opponents, one of whom referred to the directive as Governor Paterson's "first major blunder." Then-Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno
Joseph Bruno
Joseph L. Bruno is an American businessman, and Republican politician. He was the Temporary President of the New York State Senate and its majority leader. Most recently he also served as Lieutenant Governor of New York ....

 and others accused Governor Paterson of having overstepped his bounds and usurped the authority of the Legislature. Governor Paterson reportedly described same-sex marriage as "beautiful," and contended that his decision was "the right thing to do"; the governor was enthusiastically cheered when he attended the 2008 gay pride parade in Manhattan.

On June 3, 2008, a lawsuit was filed by the Alliance Defense Fund
Alliance Defense Fund
The Alliance Defense Fund is a conservative Christian nonprofit organization with the stated goal of "defending the right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding, and litigation." ADF was founded in 1994 by the late Bill Bright , the late Larry Burkett , James Dobson The...

 challenging the governor's directive. On September 2, 2008, Justice Lucy A. Billings, of the State Supreme Court in the Bronx, NY, issued a decision that Governor Paterson acted within his powers when he required state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages from outside New York State. In her dismissal of the Alliance Defense Fund suit, Justice Billings found that the governor's order was consistent with state laws on the recognition of marriages from outside the state. The decision has been appealed.

In April 2009, it was revealed that Paterson would propose legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in New York
Same-sex marriage in New York
Same-sex marriage in the U.S. state of New York became legal on July 24, 2011, under the Marriage Equality Act, which was passed on June 24, 2011, by the New York State Legislature and signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on the same day...

. Paterson later tapped former Senate Majority Leader and former political foe Joseph Bruno
Joseph Bruno
Joseph L. Bruno is an American businessman, and Republican politician. He was the Temporary President of the New York State Senate and its majority leader. Most recently he also served as Lieutenant Governor of New York ....

 to support same-sex marriage in Albany. On December 2, 2009, same-sex marriage legislation was “overwhelmingly” defeated on the floor of the New York State Senate by a vote of 24 to 38; no Republican voted yes, eight Democrats voted no. The Daily News described the defeat as a “major blow,” while the New York Times stated that the defeat “all but ensures that the issue is dead in New York until at least 2011, when a new Legislature will be installed.”

In late 2010, before the January
January
January is the first month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars and one of seven months with the length of 31 days. The first day of the month is known as New Year's Day...

 2011 expiration of his term as governor, Governor Paterson reached out to members of the New York State Senate
New York State Senate
The New York State Senate is one of two houses in the New York State Legislature and has members each elected to two-year terms. There are no limits on the number of terms one may serve...

 in an attempt to gauge support for the passage of same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage is marriage between two persons of the same biological sex or social gender. Supporters of legal recognition for same-sex marriage typically refer to such recognition as marriage equality....

 legislation during a lame-duck session of the Legislature
Legislature
A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

; however, the governor came to the conclusion that passage of the bill during the lame-duck session was not feasible. When asked what would have to occur in order for same-sex marriage to be legalized in New York, Governor Paterson responded, "Get rid of the lobbyists," and added that same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage is marriage between two persons of the same biological sex or social gender. Supporters of legal recognition for same-sex marriage typically refer to such recognition as marriage equality....

 advocates had forced a Senate floor vote prematurely in December 2009.

New York fiscal crisis


In July 2008, Paterson warned state lawmakers and citizens of New York that the state faces its worst fiscal crisis since the 1970s. On Tuesday, July 29, Governor Paterson gave a rare televised address that was broadcast on all of New York's major news networks, stating that the state budget deficit had gone up 1.4 billion dollars over the 90 days since his original budget submission, citing rising costs due to the poor economy and a struggling Wall Street
Wall Street
Wall Street refers to the financial district of New York City, named after and centered on the eight-block-long street running from Broadway to South Street on the East River in Lower Manhattan. Over time, the term has become a metonym for the financial markets of the United States as a whole, or...

, and calling the State Legislature back to Albany for an emergency session starting on August 19, 2008. He also warned that the budget deficit is estimated to grow 22 percent by 2011, and called for the special legislative session on August 19 to deal with the crisis. With AIG
AIG
AIG is American International Group, a major American insurance corporation.AIG may also refer to:* And-inverter graph, a concept in computer theory* Answers in Genesis, a creationist organization in the U.S.* Arta Industrial Group in Iran...

 on the verge of collapse on September 16, 2008, and in the aftermath of Lehman Brothers
Lehman Brothers
Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. was a global financial services firm. Before declaring bankruptcy in 2008, Lehman was the fourth largest investment bank in the USA , doing business in investment banking, equity and fixed-income sales and trading Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (former NYSE ticker...

 filing for bankruptcy, Paterson publicly lobbied for a government bailout of the insurance giant. He hit the cable networks early and was quoted by media around the world. The previous day, Paterson had loosened regulations to allow AIG to draw reserves from its subsidiaries.

In March 2009, Paterson announced at a town hall meeting in Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls, New York
Niagara Falls is a city in Niagara County, New York, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 50,193, down from the 55,593 recorded in the 2000 census. It is across the Niagara River from Niagara Falls, Ontario , both named after the famed Niagara Falls which they...

 that in light of the fiscal crisis, he would take a 10% pay cut. On January 2, 2009, Paterson joined the governors of four other states in urging the federal government to provide $1 trillion in aid to the country's 50 state governments to help pay for education, welfare and infrastructure as states struggle with steep budget deficits amid a deepening recession.
2008-09 executive budget

Governor Paterson revised Governor Spitzer's record-size executive budget proposal to cut spending. Budget negotiations carried over past the deadline, causing the new Governor to lament that too many lawmakers were "unwilling to make serious cuts to our budget." On April 10, the $121.7 billion budget package was passed by both houses of the State Legislature. His budget closed a projected $4.6 billion deficit with $1.8 billion of spending cuts, $1.5 billion in additional revenue from increased taxes and fees and $1.3 billion of one time transfers, and did not tap into the state's $1.2 billion of reserves or increase the top income tax rate on those earning $1 million or more.

Paterson's budget provided property tax relief by delivering aid to municipalities, and included restoration of hundreds of millions in property tax rebates for middle-class homeowners and $1 billion for upstate economic development. The spending included a record $1.8 billion aid increase to local school districts, and $2.5 billion in aid for construction projects at state and city public colleges. Governor Paterson decided to fully fund a landmark proposal authored by State Assemblyman Greg Ball
Gregory R. Ball
Gregory R. Ball is an American business executive, former active duty Air Force officer and member of the New York State Senate. He is a resident of Carmel, New York....

, creating a tuition remission program for military veterans, offering them free tuition at both SUNY
State University of New York
The State University of New York, abbreviated SUNY , is a system of public institutions of higher education in New York, United States. It is the largest comprehensive system of universities, colleges, and community colleges in the United States, with a total enrollment of 465,000 students, plus...

 and CUNY institutions.

Although the legislature was unable to come to a decision on a separate bill to enact congestion pricing
Congestion pricing
Congestion pricing or congestion charges is a system of surcharging users of a transport network in periods of peak demand to reduce traffic congestion. Examples include some toll-like road pricing fees, and higher peak charges for utilities, public transport and slots in canals and airports...

 in New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the budget "good news for our city." Even though the budget enacted was the first in a decade that included less spending than the proposal, Paterson promised to slash next year's state budget by 5 to 10 percent, because the spending plan he inherited was "too big and too bloated." The accidental nature of Paterson's ascension may have hampered his involvement in this year's process to some degree, but he told the New York Times that "I think we passed a sound budget, but I don’t think that we left ourselves enough room."

In April 2008, Governor Paterson asked the heads of all state agencies to cut their budgets by 3.35% and threatened a hiring freeze; the governor also asked legislative leaders to follow suit. In August 2008, he called a special emergency session of the legislature and enacted 6% across-the-board cuts in all state agencies. He called another special session in November 2008 to trim an additional 3%, but this effort was met without success.
2009-10 executive budget

In 2009, New York faced a budget deficit of $15 billion, and state debt approached $55 billion. During his state of the state address, Governor Paterson outlined many issues critical to closing the budget caps, and restoring New York's economic strength and quality of life. He recommended adapting the Suozzi commission recommendations on a property tax cap and circuit breaker, and even joked that he should switch parties as the proposal has remained more popular amongst Republicans than his own party.

To address the State's budget gap, the Governor recommended a Deficit Reduction Assessment for the 2009-10 School Year, which will result in a decrease of $1.1 billion in total State School Aid. He also outlined several new taxes and fees he supported.

These taxes include:
  • An "Obesity tax", which would add an extra tax of over 18% on all non diet soft drinks such as regular soda, and energy drinks
  • New 4% Taxes on digital music downloads, videos and pictures downloaded or the "itax"
  • A tax increase on malt-flavored beverages, beer, and wine
  • A 4% tax on taxi rides, car rentals and limousine services
  • A tax on movie tickets
  • A new 4% 'personal services tax' on haircuts, beauty salons, health club services, and weight loss programs
  • A 4% tax placed on cable and satellite TV, pay per view movies
  • Additional fees for fishing, and camping
  • New fees on items ranging from boilers, to explosives, to jewelry, to sporting events
  • A 4 percent sales tax on clothing and shoes under $500, except for two weeks out of the year
  • Additional fees on automobile purchases, registration and driving fees.
  • The Ravitch Commission recommendations, which include tolls on the city-owned East River
    Brooklyn Bridge
    The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. Completed in 1883, it connects the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River...

     and Harlem River
    Harlem River Bridge
    The Harlem River Bridge of the IRT Third Avenue Line was a double-decked swing railroad bridge that spanned across the Harlem River between Manhattan and the Bronx. It was located between the Third Avenue Bridge and the Willis Avenue Bridge...

     bridges (which has never been done before), and levy an annual driver's tax based on vehicle weight


The proposed 4 percent tax increases, all of which were levies of the state's sales tax
Sales tax
A sales tax is a tax, usually paid by the consumer at the point of purchase, itemized separately from the base price, for certain goods and services. The tax amount is usually calculated by applying a percentage rate to the taxable price of a sale....

 on items that were previously untaxed, also authorized local counties and municipalities to collect their local share of the sales tax on those items; these local taxes ranged from the default of 3% to as high as 4.75%.

The budget also recommends dramatic across-the-board cuts to various state agencies, which he called "deep and painful" in his address. Other major budget initiatives included eliminating the STAR property tax rebate program (1.4 billion), suspending increases in aid and incentives for municipalities, Empire Zone reforms, and pension reforms.

He also moved to close the 81-year-old Reynolds Game Farm in Tompkins County, the State's only remaining pheasant facility. This decision drew criticism from sportsmen's groups, as the farm is funded through licensing fees paid by hunters, and not taxpayer dollars. In addition, Paterson's recommendation to close the farm would only result in the employees being reassigned. Some have questioned whether the $750,000 in savings from closing the facility would outweigh the estimated $700 million generated for the upstate economy if hunters simply take their business to other states. Various sportsmen's groups were able to obtain a court ordered injunction in January 2009 to temporarily halt the measure. The next day, Paterson reversed his decision and decided to keep the game farm operating, acknowledging that it does generate significant revenues for the state.

On June 2, 2010, Paterson announced layoffs of state of workers that would be planned and executed by January 1, 2011. Amidst the failed attempt of passing a furlough, Paterson stated that he expected the layoffs would help close the budget deficit.

Capital punishment



According to state Senator Liz Krueger
Liz Krueger
Liz Krueger is a member of the New York State Senate, representing a district on the East Side of Manhattan.She was first elected in February 2002 during a special election. Krueger is the ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee. She was Chairwoman of NY's Democratic Senate Campaign...

, Paterson has always been against capital punishment
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

. In July 2008, he ordered the removal of the state's equipment to perform lethal injection
Lethal injection
Lethal injection is the practice of injecting a person with a fatal dose of drugs for the express purpose of causing the immediate death of the subject. The main application for this procedure is capital punishment, but the term may also be applied in a broad sense to euthanasia and suicide...

, previously housed in Dutchess County
Dutchess County, New York
Dutchess County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York, in the state's Mid-Hudson Region of the Hudson Valley. The 2010 census lists the population as 297,488...

's Green Haven Correctional Facility
Green Haven Correctional Facility
Green Haven Correctional Facility is a maximum security prison in New York, United States. The prison is located in the Town of Beekman in Dutchess County. The New York State Department of Correctional Services lists the address as Route 216, Stormville, NY 12582...

. In spring 2008 the state Senate passed a bill that would make murderers of policemen eligible for execution; though it is doubtful the state Assembly would pass a similar bill, it is certain that Paterson would not sign it.

Senate appointment


After being nominated for the position on December 1, 2008, New York Senator Hillary Clinton was confirmed as United States Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 by the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

. Clinton resigned her Senate seat on January 21, 2009, in order to assume the Cabinet
United States Cabinet
The Cabinet of the United States is composed of the most senior appointed officers of the executive branch of the federal government of the United States, which are generally the heads of the federal executive departments...

 post. By mandate of the New York Constitution, Paterson was tasked with appointing a temporary replacement until a special election in 2010 for the conclusion of the term of her Class 1 seat
United States Senate special election in New York, 2010
The 2010 United States Senate special election in New York took place on November 2, 2010, concurrently with other elections to the United States Senate in other states as well as elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections...

. Paterson's aides had intimated that his desire was to appoint a candidate who is from upstate, since every other statewide official in New York save Clinton herself was from New York City. Paterson named several advisers on the matter prior to his appointment, including Chuck Schumer, Charles B. Rangel
Charles B. Rangel
Charles Bernard "Charlie" Rangel is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1971. A member of the Democratic Party, he is the third-longest currently serving member of the House of Representatives. As its most senior member, he is also the Dean of New York's congressional delegation...

, Nita Lowey
Nita Lowey
Nita Melnikoff Lowey is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1993. She is a member of the Democratic Party. She previously represented the 20th district from 1989 to 1993.-Early life, education and career:...

, Gregory W. Meeks, and two staffers.

Some thought that Paterson might appoint a prominent minority member such as Meeks, H. Carl McCall, William C. Thompson, Jr., Byron Brown
Byron Brown
Byron William Brown II is the 58th and current mayor of Buffalo, New York, elected on November 8, 2005 and is the city's first African-American mayor. He previously served Western New York as a member of the New York State Senate and Buffalo Common Council...

, José E. Serrano or Nydia M. Velázquez. Among the prominent women mentioned were former 2000 senatorial contender Lowey, NY-14
New York's 14th congressional district
New York's 14th Congressional District is a congressional district for the United States House of Representatives located in New York City. It includes most of the East Side of Manhattan, all of Roosevelt Island and the neighborhoods of Astoria, Long Island City, and Sunnyside in Queens...

 Representative Carolyn B. Maloney
Carolyn B. Maloney
Carolyn Bosher Maloney is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1993. She is a member of the Democratic Party. The district, popularly known as the "silk stocking district", includes most of Manhattan's East Side; Astoria and Long Island City in Queens; and Roosevelt Island.-Early life,...

, former Clinton aide Leecia Eve
Leecia Eve
Leecia Roberta Eve is an attorney in New York. A resident of Fort Washington, Maryland and former resident of Buffalo, NY, Eve is the daughter of former Assembly member Arthur Eve and was candidate for Lieutenant Governor of New York during the 2006 election. She was a Senior Policy adviser to...

, United Federation of Teachers
United Federation of Teachers
The United Federation of Teachers is the labor union that represents most educators in New York City public schools. , there were about 118,000 in-service educators and 17,000 paraprofessionals in the union, as well as about 54,000 retired members...

 president Randi Weingarten
Randi Weingarten
'Randi Weingarten is an American labor leader, attorney, and educator, the current president of the American Federation of Teachers , a member of the AFL-CIO, and former president of the United Federation of Teachers. New York magazine called her one of the most influential people in education in...

, NY-20
New York's 20th congressional district
The 20th Congressional District of New York is a congressional district for the United States House of Representatives in eastern New York. It includes all or parts of Columbia, Dutchess, Delaware, Essex, Greene, Otsego, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Warren, and Washington counties. It includes the...

 Representative Kirsten Gillibrand
Kirsten Gillibrand
Kirsten Elizabeth Rutnik Gillibrand is an attorney and the junior United States Senator from the state of New York and a member of the Democratic Party...

, and political heiress Caroline Kennedy
Caroline Kennedy
Caroline Bouvier Kennedy is an American author and attorney. She is a member of the influential Kennedy family and the only surviving child of U.S. President John F...

. Actress Fran Drescher
Fran Drescher
Francine Joy "Fran" Drescher is an American film and television actress, comedian, screenwriter, director, producer, author, singer, talk show host, political lobbyist and health activist...

 also expressed interest in becoming the New York Senator. On December 1, 2008, when President-elect
President-elect of the United States
President-elect of the United States is the title used for an incoming President of the United States in the period between the general election on Election Day in November and noon eastern standard time on Inauguration Day, January 20, during which he is not in office yet...

 Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 announced his nomination of Clinton as Secretary of State, Lowey declared she was not a candidate. While New York Attorney General and former United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
The United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development is the head of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, a member of the President's Cabinet, and thirteenth in the Presidential line of succession. The post was created with the formation of the Department of Housing...

 Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Mark Cuomo is the 56th and current Governor of New York, having assumed office on January 1, 2011. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the 64th New York State Attorney General, and was the 11th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development...

 refused to publicly declare his interest in the seat, he attracted a plurality of support from polled New Yorkers to take the seat and was cited by some analysts as a savvy choice for Paterson to head off the possibility of a strong primary
Primary election
A primary election is an election in which party members or voters select candidates for a subsequent election. Primary elections are one means by which a political party nominates candidates for the next general election....

 challenge by Cuomo in the 2010 gubernatorial election
New York gubernatorial election, 2010
The New York gubernatorial election of 2010 was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2010, to elect the Governor of New York, who will serve a four-year term to begin in January 2011. Incumbent Democratic Governor David Paterson, elected as Lieutenant Governor in 2006 as the running mate of former Governor...

. Paterson acknowledged on January 20, 2009, that Cuomo was indeed under consideration for the appointment. NY-2
New York's 2nd congressional district
The 2nd Congressional District of New York is a congressional district for the United States House of Representatives in central Long Island. It includes all of the town of Huntington and parts of the towns of Babylon, Islip, and Smithtown in Suffolk County as well as part of the town of Oyster Bay...

 Representative Steve Israel
Steve Israel
Steve J. Israel is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 2001. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district is located on Long Island and includes the towns of Huntington, Babylon, Islip, and Smithtown in Suffolk County, part of the town of Oyster Bay in Nassau County, and the...

 also expressed his interest in taking the seat.

It was reported on December 5, 2008 that Governor Paterson had spoken with Caroline Kennedy regarding her interest in filling the seat of Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton, but in a confusing turn of events, Kennedy abruptly withdrew her name from consideration on January 21, 2009. Up until her withdrawal, for which no official explanation was given, the high-profile, well-connected daughter of former President John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 was widely considered the front-runner for the nomination. However, some reports that came after Kennedy removed herself from consideration claimed that Paterson "never intended" to pick Kennedy, having come to consider her "unready" for the seat after a series of media misfires attracted criticism of the political debutante. Some sources and analysts doubted the reports' veracity, calling the Paterson camp's denials of intention to pick Kennedy "misdirection". Joseph Mercurio remarked that Paterson's caginess had backfired, noting, "Now no matter who he picks, it's always going to be the choice after what happened to Kennedy."

On January 23, 2009, Governor Paterson chose Kirsten Gillibrand
Kirsten Gillibrand
Kirsten Elizabeth Rutnik Gillibrand is an attorney and the junior United States Senator from the state of New York and a member of the Democratic Party...

, an upstate congresswoman known as a centrist Blue Dog Democrat
Blue Dog Democrat
The Blue Dog Coalition, commonly known as the Blue Dogs, is a group of United States Congressional Representatives from the Democratic Party who identify themselves as moderates....

, to fill Clinton's vacated seat. The reaction from the Kennedy family
Kennedy family
In the United States, the phrase Kennedy family commonly refers to the family descending from the marriage of the Irish-Americans Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald that was prominent in American politics and government. Their political involvement has revolved around the...

 was reportedly "furious", according to The New York Post and The New York Daily News. Although Gillibrand's appointment was praised by some, including Schumer, New York's senior senator; President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 and Clinton herself, others criticized Paterson's choice, calling Gillibrand "inexperienced", "sharp-elbowed", "too conservative", and "unliked". Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy
Carolyn McCarthy
Carolyn McCarthy is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1997. She is a member of the Democratic Party. The district is located in central Long Island in west-central Nassau County and includes Mineola, the Five Towns, East Rockaway, Rockville Centre, Oceanside, Garden City, Hempstead,...

, a strong advocate for gun control
Gun control
Gun control is any law, policy, practice, or proposal designed to restrict or limit the possession, production, importation, shipment, sale, and/or use of guns or other firearms by private citizens...

, threatened to run against Gillibrand in a 2010 primary due to her support for Second Amendment
Second Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights.In 2008 and 2010, the Supreme Court issued two Second...

 rights, concurrence with the platform of the National Rifle Association
National Rifle Association
The National Rifle Association of America is an American non-profit 501 civil rights organization which advocates for the protection of the Second Amendment of the United States Bill of Rights and the promotion of firearm ownership rights as well as marksmanship, firearm safety, and the protection...

 as a member of the House
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

, and reported opposition to the Obama stimulus plan (Gillibrand eventually voted for the stimulus, along with every other Senate Democrat). Still others, including liberal
Liberalism in the United States
Liberalism in the United States is a broad political philosophy centered on the unalienable rights of the individual. The fundamental liberal ideals of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion for all belief systems, and the separation of church and state, right to due process...

 New York Times editorialist Maureen Dowd
Maureen Dowd
Maureen Bridgid Dowd is a Washington D.C.-based columnist for The New York Times and best-selling author. During the 1970s and the early 1980s, she worked for Time magazine and the Washington Star, where she covered news as well as sports and wrote feature articles...

 and New York Magazine writer Chris Smith, criticized Paterson's "peculiar" and "dithering" handling of the Senate appointment and suggested it was a cynical way of rallying upstate support for re-election. Dowd went so far as to will Andrew Cuomo to run against Paterson in the 2010 gubernatorial election. Paterson later admitted that he personally ordered his staff to contest Caroline Kennedy's version of events in the hours after she withdrew from consideration to be United States senator.

Appointment of new Lieutenant Governor



Due to the ongoing leadership crisis in the New York State Senate
New York State Senate
The New York State Senate is one of two houses in the New York State Legislature and has members each elected to two-year terms. There are no limits on the number of terms one may serve...

, which has left the Senate tied with 31 Democratic votes and 31 Republican votes, with no presiding officer to break the tie, Paterson announced on July 8, 2009 that he would appoint Richard Ravitch
Richard Ravitch
Richard Ravitch is an American politician and businessman who served as the 75th Lieutenant Governor of New York from 2009 to 2010. He was appointed to the position in July 2009 by New York Governor David Paterson...

, a former chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York)
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York is a public benefit corporation responsible for public transportation in the U.S...

, to be the Lieutenant Governor
Lieutenant governor
A lieutenant governor or lieutenant-governor is a high officer of state, whose precise role and rank vary by jurisdiction, but is often the deputy or lieutenant to or ranking under a governor — a "second-in-command"...

.

On August 20, 2009, however, a four-judge panel of the Second Judicial Department Appellate Division in Brooklyn ruled that Gov. Paterson had no legal authority to name a lieutenant governor, and that the lieutenant governor position cannot be filled in any other way other than via an election.

The Appellate Division decision was overruled, and Paterson's appointment of Richard Ravitch
Richard Ravitch
Richard Ravitch is an American politician and businessman who served as the 75th Lieutenant Governor of New York from 2009 to 2010. He was appointed to the position in July 2009 by New York Governor David Paterson...

 was held to be constitutional by the New York State Court of Appeals on September 23, 2009.

Aqueduct Race Track


In January 2010 Paterson awarded a contract to operate a 4,500 slot machine
Slot machine
A slot machine , informally fruit machine , the slots , poker machine or "pokies" or simply slot is a casino gambling machine with three or more reels which spin when a button is pushed...

 racino
Racino
A racino is a combined race track and casino. In some cases, the gambling is limited to slot machines, but many locations are beginning to include table games such as blackjack, poker, and roulette....

 at the Aqueduct Race Track to Aqueduct Race Track Entertainment Group (AEG) in Queens, New York. The appointment has generated controversy because of charges that AEG, which had the worst bid of those bidding, was allowed to change its bid so that it had the best. Paterson is reported to have demanded that the ownership have an affirmative action
Affirmative action
Affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group, usually as a means to counter the effects of a history of discrimination.-Origins:The term...

 component. During this time, rapper Jay-Z
Jay-Z
Shawn Corey Carter , better known by his stage name Jay-Z, is an American rapper, record producer, entrepreneur, and occasional actor. He is one of the most financially successful hip hop artists and entrepreneurs in America, having a net worth of over $450 million as of 2010...

 through his company Gain Global Investments Network LLC then got a 7 percent ownership stake in AEG and charges were made that Jay-Z and Paterson had a personal relationship. U.S. prosecutors are reported to be investigating the bidding process, particularly that AEG won the bid two days after Queens megachurch
Megachurch
A megachurch is a church having 2,000 or more in average weekend attendance. The Hartford Institute's database lists more than 1,300 such Protestant churches in the United States. According to that data, approximately 50 churches on the list have attendance ranging from 10,000 to 47,000...

 pastor Floyd Flake (who is also an AEG investor) threatened to switch his support in the 2010 governor race from Paterson to Andrew Cuomo. New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver
Sheldon Silver
Sheldon "Shelly" Silver is an American lawyer and Democratic politician from New York. He has held the office of Speaker of the New York State Assembly since 1994.- Personal life :...

 has threatened not to sign off on the deal. Paterson has maintained there was no quid pro quo
Quid pro quo
Quid pro quo most often means a more-or-less equal exchange or substitution of goods or services. English speakers often use the term to mean "a favour for a favour" and the phrases with almost identical meaning include: "give and take", "tit for tat", "this for that", and "you scratch my back,...

.

On March 9, 2010, Paterson recused himself from the case, saying he was doing so on the advice of his lawyers. On the same day Flake and Jay-Z withdrew from AEG. Flake had a 0.6% share.

Witness tampering and World Series tickets scandals



In February 2010, charges were made that Paterson may have been involved in witness tampering
Witness tampering
Witness tampering is harming or otherwise threatening a witness, hoping to influence his or her testimony.-Witness tampering in the USA:In the United States, the crime of witness tampering in federal cases is defined by statute at , "Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant"...

 in a domestic abuse case involving staffer David W. Johnson after New York State Police
New York State Police
The New York State Police is the state police force of over 4,600 sworn Troopers for the state of New York. It was established on April 11, 1917 by the New York Legislature, in response to the 1913 murder of a construction foreman named Sam Howell in Westchester County, which at that time did not...

 and his staffers talked to the woman to get her to drop the case. Paterson was accused of talking to the woman personally a day before the case was dropped. Paterson dropped his re-election bid on February 26 but has maintained his innocence and rejected calls for his resignation.

On March 3, 2010, charges were made that he had lied under oath, with regard to charges that he, through Johnson, had solicited free tickets from the Yankees for the World Series.

Since the case occurred, five staff members have resigned and no charges have been filed against Paterson, although Johnson has been charged in the abuse case.

On December 20, 2010, the Commission on Public Integrity, saying Paterson had lied about the accepting the tickets, fined Paterson $62,125.

On March 2, 2011, Johnson pleaded guilty to misdemeanor second-degree harassment. If he stays out of trouble for a year, it will be removed from his record.

Saturday Night Live controversy


After the Weekend Update
Weekend Update
Weekend Update is a Saturday Night Live sketch that comments on and parodies current events. It is the show's longest running recurring sketch, having been on since the show's first broadcast, and is typically presented in the middle of the show immediately after the first musical performance...

 sketch featuring David Paterson aired in 2009 on the NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 show Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

, Paterson was upset by the way the sketch portrayed him, stating that it was an offensive stereotype to those who were visually impaired. On the 36th season premiere of Saturday Night Live (aired September 25, 2010), Paterson appeared in the Weekend Update
Weekend Update
Weekend Update is a Saturday Night Live sketch that comments on and parodies current events. It is the show's longest running recurring sketch, having been on since the show's first broadcast, and is typically presented in the middle of the show immediately after the first musical performance...

 sketch alongside Fred Armisen
Fred Armisen
Fred Armisen is an American actor, comedian and musician best known for his work as a cast member on Saturday Night Live, and portraying off-color foreigners in various comedy films such as EuroTrip, Anchorman and Cop Out...

, who was comedically portraying Paterson.

2010 Gubernatorial Campaign



In October 2008 Paterson announced his intentions to run for a full term as Governor and launched a campaign website. Early speculation focused on an upstate Democrat—outgoing Syracuse
Syracuse, New York
Syracuse is a city in and the county seat of Onondaga County, New York, United States, the largest U.S. city with the name "Syracuse", and the fifth most populous city in the state. At the 2010 census, the city population was 145,170, and its metropolitan area had a population of 742,603...

 Mayor Matt Driscoll--as a potential running mate. Paterson's prime Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 opposition would most likely be from former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani
Rudy Giuliani
Rudolph William Louis "Rudy" Giuliani KBE is an American lawyer, businessman, and politician from New York. He served as Mayor of New York City from 1994 to 2001....

,. By February 2009, after the prolonged Senate appointment process, a Siena College
Siena College
Siena College is an independent Roman Catholic liberal arts college in Loudonville, in the town of Colonie, New York, United States. Siena is a four-year, coeducational, independent college in the Franciscan tradition, founded by the Franciscan Friars in 1937. It has 3,000 full-time students and...

 poll indicated that Paterson was losing popularity among New Yorkers, and showed Giuliani with a fifteen-point lead in a hypothetical contest. In April 2009, a poll of 1,528 New York State registered voters taken by Quinnipiac University
Quinnipiac University
Quinnipiac University is a private, nonsectarian, coeducational university located in Hamden, Connecticut, United States at the foot of Sleeping Giant State Park...

 found that 60 percent disapproved of the job Paterson was doing (the worst-ever rating for a New York governor), with 53 percent stating that Paterson should withdraw his candidacy for the gubernatorial election. On August 21, in a radio interview, Paterson suggested that his low popularity is due to racism, and mentioned Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick
Deval Patrick
Deval Laurdine Patrick is the 71st and current Governor of Massachusetts. A member of the Democratic Party, Patrick served as an Assistant United States Attorney General under President Bill Clinton...

 as receiving the same treatment. Paterson also said that President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 would be the next African-American elected official to suffer from poor approval due to his skin color. The White House asked Paterson to tone down his comments on race, but less than 24 hours later, Paterson said: "Part of what I feel is that one very successful minority is permissible; but when you see too many success stories, then some people get nervous."

On September 18, 2009, advisors to President Barack Obama informed Paterson that the President believed Paterson should withdraw his 2010 gubernatorial candidacy, stepping aside for "popular Attorney General Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Mark Cuomo is the 56th and current Governor of New York, having assumed office on January 1, 2011. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the 64th New York State Attorney General, and was the 11th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development...

." The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

reported that Obama was worried that Paterson's continued unpopularity would drag on the 26 Democratic members of New York's 29-member congressional delegation and potentially reverse the existing Democratic control of the State Legislature. Furthermore, the Times cited a potential gubernatorial run by Rudolph Giuliani as a reason for the Obama administration's request. On September 19, 2009 Paterson insisted he was still running, even knowing he could face a primary challenge from Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Mark Cuomo is the 56th and current Governor of New York, having assumed office on January 1, 2011. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the 64th New York State Attorney General, and was the 11th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development...

 if he continued to seek election. On February 8, 2010, Paterson dismissed rumors that he had engaged in womanizing and drug use as "outrageous". He also characterized some reports in the media about his personal life as "callous and sleazy." He specifically denied allegations in a New York Post article that a state trooper had caught him involved in an extramarital affair. He also stated that an investigation being conducted by the New York Times had "spawned a bunch of speculations that are so way out that it's shocking." On February 26, 2010, Paterson officially withdrew his bid for a full term as Governor of New York.

Radio career


After leaving office at the end of 2010, Paterson appeared on New York radio station WOR
WOR (AM)
WOR is a class A , AM radio station located in New York, New York, U.S., operating on 710 kHz. The station has a talk format and has been owned by Buckley Broadcasting since 1987, after the station was sold by RKO. The station has conservative, or right-of-center hosts.Its call letters have no...

 on a number of occasions as a substitute talk show host, filling in for morning host John Gambling
John R. Gambling
John R. Gambling is an American radio personality. He is the son of John A. Gambling and the grandson of John B. Gambling, and as such was, and once again is, the third-generation host of The Gambling family's very-long-running New York morning radio show...

. On September 1, 2011, the station announced that Paterson will become the regular weekday afternoon drive-time host beginning on September 6. He replaces Steve Malzberg
Steve Malzberg
Steve Malzberg is a radio personality. He most recently hosted The Steve Malzberg Show on the WOR Radio Network.A graduate of Brooklyn College, Malzberg worked at 77 WABC for over twenty-five years in several capacities, i.e., as an overnight political talk show host, a sports commentator, and...

.

External links


Accolades posted to Spitzer's 2006 gubernatorial campaign website.
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