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Eliot Spitzer Inaugurated as New York's 54th Governor

By Mark Scott

Albany, NY – On a cold, gray afternoon outside the State Capitol in Albany Monday, Eliot Spitzer became New York's 54th governor.

Spitzer called for an end to "the politics of cynicism and division." Spitzer said frequent deadlocks between Republican Governor George Pataki and the Legislature thwarted school improvements, ethics reforms, efforts to cut the nation's highest taxes and attempts to revive the state's economy.

"New York has slept through much of the past decade while the rest of the world has passed us by," Spitzer said in his inaugural address. "Today is the day when all of that changes - when we stop standing still and start moving forward once more."

Prior to his inaugural address, Spitzer signed orders for the executive branch that ban gifts from lobbyists; end personal use by his staff of state cars, computers and equipment; prohibit nepotism; and ban his former employees from lobbying the executive branch. Other executive orders ban statewide officials - including Spitzer - from appearing in state-paid commercials, criticized as free campaign ads. Another measure establishes a state commission to make sure that candidates for judicial appointments are qualified.

The use of state cars led to the resignation last month of the state's chief financial officer, Comptroller Alan Hevesi, who pleaded guilty to a felony for using a state employee as his wife's chauffeur. The New York City Democrat had been re-elected in November amid the scandal.

Click the "listen" icon above to hear excerpts from Spitzer's inaugural address now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.