Monday, March 17, 2008

David A. Paterson Sworn In As The 55th Governor of New York

Paterson Is Sworn In
Published: March 17, 2008

ALBANY — Lt. Gov. David A. Paterson ascended to New York’s highest office on Monday, pledging civility and unity in government to an ecstatic and palpably relieved gathering of state lawmakers and officials.

Mr. Paterson was sworn in as the state’s 55th governor almost exactly a week after revelations emerged that his predecessor, Gov. Eliot Spitzer, had patronized a prostitute and faced federal investigation.

In a relatively brief speech lasting about half an hour, Mr. Paterson offered soothing rhetoric to an audience that clearly ached to move beyond what has been an unusually sordid ordeal even for Albany, a capital well-acquainted with political scandal.

Speaking to a joint session of the state Assembly and Senate, with senior officials from at least three states in attendance, Mr. Paterson alluded briefly to the Mr. Spitzer’s difficulties over the past year in working with the Democratic-controlled Assembly and Republican-controlled state Senate.

“What we are going to do from now on is what we always should have done: We are going to work together, Mr. Paterson said. “With conviction in our brains and compassion in our hearts and the love for New York on our sleeves, we will dedicate ourselves to principle but always maintain the ability to listen.”

But Mr. Paterson’s inaugural remarks were most striking for what was absent from them.

In a speech with so many nods to other elected officials that even a former lieutenant governor made the cut, Mr. Paterson made no mention of Mr. Spitzer, who plucked him from virtual obscurity to join the ticket for statewide office in 2006, and whose powerful and at times overbearing personality were the central fact of political life here for nearly a year and a half.

Mr. Paterson alluded only vaguely to Mr. Spitzer’s resignation, noting that New York had experienced “a very difficult week.” And though he and his staff have sent signals in recent years that continuity would be a key theme of the transition between administrations, Mr. Paterson made no suggestion that the Mr. Spitzer’s core agenda items deserved to survive even if the former governor’s career did not.

Indeed, Mr. Paterson offered almost no specific policy proposals or promises, though an aide said that the new governor would lay out a more a specific agenda in the days ahead. He hewed closely to the theme of partnership, describing himself as Brooklyn-born, Long-Island-educated, and Harlem-residing, to rousing cheers from elected officials who hailed from each of those areas.

Unlike Mr. Spitzer, who in his inaugural address fifteen months ago fired shot after shot across the bow of Albany’s political establishment, Mr. Paterson warmly embraced the capital’s two other major powers, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno.

“Let us grab the unusual opportunities that circumstance has handed us today and put personal politics, party advantage and power struggles aside, in favor of service, in the interests of the people,” Mr. Paterson said.

Rest of Article is HERE.

Congratulation, Governor. May you serve the people of New York well.

Governor Paterson and his family today, at the swearing-in.

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