Area Politicos Back Paterson
By Linda j. wilson
Area political figures lost no time in weighing in on Eliot Spitzer’s resignation and Lieutenant Governor David Paterson’s succeeding him as the 55th governor of the state of New York, effective Monday, March 17. Many expressed sympathy for the Spitzer family, and most said they looked forward to working with Paterson, whom they appeared to regard highly.
Andrew Cuomo, who became New York state attorney general last January, occupies the office Spitzer once held and in which the former attorney general solidified a reputation as a hard-charging crusader against corruption and vices such as prostitution. “My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Spitzer family as they cope with this personal tragedy,” Cuomo said. “Obviously, this is an extraordinarily difficult time for the family and for the entire state of New York. David Paterson, who has years of experience in state government, is a talented leader, a wonderful man, and a great friend. I look forward to working closely with Governor Paterson as he leads us forward. New York state faces many challenges and we have much work to do. Let us all work together, with a shared purpose, to make New York better for all its citizens.”
“I’m deeply saddened by this turn of events and my thoughts are with Governor Spitzer’s family during this painful time,” United States Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton said. “I would also like to express my support for Lieutenant Governor David Paterson. I look forward to continuing to work with him on behalf of the people of New York. David has overcome every obstacle and broken every barrier in his path–and I know that he’ll continue to display that leadership and determination as governor.”
Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-Queens/Manhattan agreed. “This is a sad time for our state and the Spitzer family,” she said. “As a longtime opponent of sex trafficking, I was shocked and heartbroken to hear that the governor was linked to a prostitution ring. It’s a sad irony that Governor Spitzer fought for and signed the toughest anti-trafficking legislation in our state’s history.
“At a time when hard work and leadership are needed in Albany to pass the state budget and fund crucial improvements to our transit network, Governor Spitzer’s resignation is the best thing for the people of New York. The governor’s office could not be in better hands than those of David Paterson. I know he will lead our state with the same dedication he’s shown throughout his two decades in public service.”
State Senator John D. Sabini (D-I, Queens), Assistant Minority Leader for Intergovernmental Affairs, had similar sentiments. “It is at moments like this that we see the fact that people in public office also have human frailties,” he said. “My thoughts are with Silda and the girls [Silda Wall Spitzer and their three daughters]; I hope they could try to find some comfort in the midst of this situation; and with Governor Spitzer as he struggles to move on with his life.
“I am confident that under the leadership of Lieutenant Governor David Paterson, our state will move forward. I have worked closely with David during my entire time in the senate. He has family residing in my district and has accompanied me to community events. He understands the concerns of my diverse constituency and I know we can do great things together.
“Now it is time to get back to work. I am prepared to stay and work each and every day needed to get a budget done that is fair to all New Yorkers and adequately addresses the transportation, healthcare and education needs of our state.”
State Senator George Onorato (D-Queens) commented: "Today is a very sad and difficult day for New York state, and as Governor Spitzer prepares to leave office, I sincerely hope that he and his family will now be able to begin the process of healing and moving forward with their lives.
“On Monday, Lieutenant Governor David Paterson—a good friend and long-time former colleague of mine in the senate—will take over the reins of state government. Given his tremendous intelligence, institutional knowledge, great sense of humor, and marked ability to build consensus among people of differing views, I have every confidence that David will be an effective leader and a positive force for all New Yorkers in the years to come.
“In this light, it is vital that we immediately move forward with the people’s business, and get back to work on developing and enacting a final 2008-2009 State Budget. As the 2008 legislative session continues, I look forward to working with Governor Paterson and my senate and Assembly colleagues to achieve this and many other critical goals on behalf of the people of New York state.”
Republican State Senator Frank Padavan (Bellerose) commented: “ I have worked with [incoming] Governor Paterson for a number of years in the senate, and I have known him as a true leader for the people of this great state. As we move forward, I am confident that Governor Paterson will work with all members of the state legislature to restore a spirit of bipartisan cooperation as we work to meet the challenge facing all New Yorkers.”
Assemblymember Michael Gianaris, whose 36th Assembly District encompasses Astoria, commented: “I have known and worked with David Paterson for many years and am confident that he is a well-qualified, upstanding and hard-working individual who will continue to make valuable contributions to the state of New York as our next governor. I intend to dedicate myself to working with him and doing my part to help our state address New Yorkers’ serious and pressing concerns that deserve our attention.”
“Governor Spitzer worked hard for the people of New York throughout his career,” Assemblymember Ellen Young added. “My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family during this very difficult time.
“The people place their trust in elected officials to lead them with truth and integrity, and we should always hold their interests as our first priority. I have absolute confidence that my good friend David Paterson has the ability, compassion and honor to effectively lead New York.
“While the troubling events surrounding the resignation of Governor Spitzer are severely damaging to the stability of this great state, now is the time to heal, move forward and get back to the important business at hand as efficiently as possible.
“Today in the Assembly, I and my colleagues will pass the Assembly’s version of the budget as scheduled. I will commit to carrying out my duties in Albany and working hard with my fellow legislators and Mr. Paterson to produce an on-time budget for the new year that includes critical services for mental health, education and health care.”
New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. called Wednesday, March 12 “a day of great sadness for the state of New York”. He added: “I share with many New Yorkers the stunned disbelief in all that has transpired over the last few days. My thoughts are with Eliot, Silda, and their family as they face these challenges.
“We now must focus on the road ahead. New York, state and city, much like the rest of the country, are witnessing difficult economic times. It is incumbent upon all persons, no matter what their party affiliation or political beliefs, to join together to ensure that our city and state remain strong.
“I know David Paterson is fully qualified to lead this state forward. I have known David for much of his career, and applaud his strong commitment to improving the lives of others. He is dedicated, keenly aware of the issues that face this state, and a person who believes in building consensus to do what is right.
“When David sought to become lieutenant governor, he spoke about the difficult challenges encountered in his personal and professional lives, and the obstacles that many New Yorkers continually face to survive and thrive. He said that ‘hope is our heritage’.
“I wholeheartedly agree, and believe that David best represents the hope for a brighter future for this state. I expect great things from David Paterson in the coming years, achievements that speak to a brighter future for New York.”
“My thoughts are with the Spitzer family as they work through this difficult time,” Councilmember Melinda Katz (D-Forest Hills/Rego Park) said. “We are fortunate as New Yorkers to have the steady hand of David Paterson ready to lead us. I have known David for a long time and am proud to have served with him in the State Legislature. He has a well-deserved reputation for having a sharp mind and a gift for building consensus. I believe he is ideally suited to bring people together at such a challenging time for our state. I look forward to working with Governor Paterson on behalf of the people of New York.”
“In the aftermath of the tragic events of the last few days, I want to publicly offer my support and prayers for my colleague and friend, David Paterson, as well as for his wife, Michelle and their children,” City Councilmember Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), said. “As they embark upon a new journey next week, I am confident that David will provide the leadership and integrity to lead our state. His long, distinguished career of public service and commitment to his fellow New Yorkers will be the foundation for new era of progressive government and I am anxiously looking forward to continue working with him for the benefit of the many Queens residents we both represent.”
Councilmember James F. Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) noted: “Governor Spitzer’s resignation brings closure to a very brief but tragic moment in New York’s great history and my thoughts and prayers are with the Spitzer family. We must now unite under the leadership of Governor David Paterson and make sure that the people's business, like passing an equitable state budget next month, moves forward without delay.”
Councilmember John C. Liu expressed thoughts along similar lines. “The last couple of days have been witness to turmoil like never imagined, so hopefully this resignation will commence a return to normalcy in government,” he said. “With looming deadlines for the state budget and for the congestion pricing plan, we all need to get focused on matters of real importance. Let’s get back to the people’s business.”