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With new governor,N.Y. looks to future

David and Michelle Paige Paterson at his swearing-in on Monday.

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David and Michelle Paige Paterson at his swearing-in on Monday.

ALBANY, N.Y. — David Paterson was sworn in as governor Monday before lawmakers who chanted his name and cheered his message of unity in a state eager to move past his predecessor's sordid and speedy political collapse.

He became the state's first black chief executive a week after allegations surfaced that Gov. Eliot Spitzer used a high-priced call girl service.

"We move forward. … There's trust that needs to be restored," Paterson said.

Where Spitzer's 14-month tenure was marked by partisan sniping, Paterson, a fellow Democrat, reached across the aisle in his remarks from the ornate Assembly chamber. The crowd gave the new governor a two-minute standing ovation.

"What we are going to do from now on is what we always should have done all along," the former state senator said. "We're going to work together."

Paterson spoke for 26 minutes — about half of it engaged in the banter and humor that helped define him as a lawmaker and lieutenant governor — without notes. He joked about his limited vision — he can see things close to him out of one eye.

His wife, Michelle Paige Paterson, had tears in her eyes for most of the ceremony. "I'm just very happy I was able to live to see this day," she said.

Attending the ceremony were presidential candidate and New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, whom Paterson supports as a superdelegate, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and governors from three neighboring states.

>>fast facts

About David Paterson

Age: 53

Born: Brooklyn

Family: He and his wife, Michelle Paige Paterson, have two children, Ashley, 19, a student at Ithaca College who is from his wife's previous marriage, and Alex, 14, who attends public school in New York City.

Education: Bachelor's in history from Columbia University, law degree from Hofstra.

Experience: Before accepting Eliot Spitzer's offer to run with him as lieutenant governor, he was a Democratic state senator for more than two decades, representing parts of Harlem and Manhattan's Upper West Side.

With new governor,N.Y. looks to future 03/17/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:41am]
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