Monday, March 17, 2008

New York's New Governor

David Alexander Paterson (born May 20, 1954) is an American politician and the current Lieutenant Governor of New York. He is the first African American and the first legally blind person to hold this position. He was selected as running mate by New York Attorney General and Democratic Party nominee Eliot Spitzer in the 2006 New York gubernatorial election. In addition to serving as lieutenant governor, Paterson serves as an adjunct professor at Columbia University's School for International and Public Affairs.

Following a sex scandal, Spitzer announced his intent to resign as governor, effective at noon on March 17, 2008. The date was requested by Paterson to provide for a smooth and orderly transition, also allowing for him to be sworn in before a joint session of the legislature.

Paterson is the first African American Governor of New York and the fourth in any U.S. state (following current Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder, and Reconstruction-era Louisiana Gov. P. B. S. Pinchback).

Paterson was born in Brooklyn. An infection during infancy left him with no sight in his left eye and severely limited vision in his right, due to optic atrophy. His family moved to the Long Island suburb of Hempstead so that he could attend mainstream classes. An excellent student, he graduated from Hempstead High School in 1971. He received a BA in history from Columbia University in 1977 and a law degree from Hofstra Law School in 1983.

He is the son of former New York Secretary of State Basil Paterson, who was the first African American Deputy Mayor of New York City, and the second African American to run for statewide office in New York in 1962. He and his wife Michelle Paige Paterson live in Harlem. They have two children: Ashley, who entered Ithaca College in fall 2006, and Alex, who attends school in New York City.

Paterson is an active advocate for people with visual and physical impairments. He was elected as a member of the American Foundation for the Blind. He serves on the board of directors of the the Achilles Track Club, an organization which sponsors disabled Paterson is an active advocate for people with visual and physical impairments. Paterson himself completed the New York City Marathon in 1999. Find out more about him at:

Research info gathered at:

Now, here's one of my poems voted homecoming queen:

Melancholy-Meets-Exoticism (Piano Version)

-Dawn arrives peeling off night's lingerie.

-Or marble reliefs of a goddess sniffing lotus.

-She rings my doorbell pretending to borrow sugar.

-Neat rows of houses with the lawns all mowed.

-She is barefoot with a gardenia in her hair.

-At a picnic spot by some monumental ruin.

-I tell her I have a sister named sky.

-Or a wheat field rippling in yellow.

-But instead, I offer to wash her feet.

-With piano music playing in the background.

-I pour some liquid soap in my palm.

-Or through a dusty village on camel.

-With a face that belongs on stamps.

-As rivers meander then change their course.

-Or the wind belly dancing across the dunes.

Poem first published online at:
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Copyright 2008 by Maurice Oliver. All Rights Reserved.

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