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Paterson Marks New Course

By Joyce Kryszak

Albany, NY – Culminating one of the most historic periods in the state, David Paterson took the oath of office Monday becoming the 55th governor of New York.

The ceremony capped off a tumultuous week of scandal, disgrace and the resignation of Eliot Spitzer. After seven days in the harsh spotlight of infamy, the former governor officially stepped down at noon Monday.

But one hour later, all attention was on New York's new governor.

"I have confronted the prejudice of race and challenged the issue of my own disability. I have served in government for over two decades. I stand willing and able to lead this state to a brighter future and a better tomorrow," said Paterson. "Let me introduce myself. I am David Paterson and I am the governor of New York state."

Paterson received several standing ovations from the packed assembly room chamber. He was welcomed to the state's highest post by the state's top elected officials, including Unites States Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton. And by many of the state's past leaders, including Governors George Pataki and Hugh Carey.

Paterson, becomes the first legally blind governor, as well as the state's first African American governor. Paterson called it a poignant moment born out of circumstance -and a rare chance to commit to public service and unity.

"What we are going to do from now on is what we always should have done - we're going to work togther," said Paterson.

The 53 year-old Harlem Democrat repeatedly pointed out that it was not only his inauguration day, but also a Monday. And he said that means there is work to be done - beginning with the budget.

"We are looking at an economy that is reeling. And I must say to all of you in government and all of you in business, that you must meet with me in the next couple of weeks and adjust our budget accordingly, said Paterson."

Still, Paterson said his vision includes helping the working poor, the uninsured, and those who ca not afford an education. The new governor also said he will continue his predecessor's vision of rebuilding the upstate economy.

Click the "listen" icon above to hear Joyce Kryszak's story now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.