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David A. Paterson
New York

Gov. David A. Paterson

  • March 17, 2008 - January 1, 2011
  • Democratic
  • May 20, 1954
  • New York
  • Columbia University; Hofstra Law School
  • Married Michelle Paige Paterson; two children
  • Succeeded


David A. Paterson was born May 20, 1954, in Brooklyn, NY to Portia and Basil Paterson. He earned his bachelor’s degree in History from Columbia University in 1977, and completed his J.D. at Hofstra Law School in 1982. Paterson was the first non-white Secretary of State in New York and the first African-American Vice-Chair of the National Democratic Party. In 1985 he was elected to represent Harlem in the New York State Senate. And in 2002, he became the minority leader of the New York State Senate, the first non-white legislative leader in New York’s history. He made history again in 2004 when he became the first visually impaired person to address the Democratic National Convention, held in Boston, Massachusetts. Paterson was elected New York’s first African-American Lieutenant Governor on November 7, 2006. On March 17, 2008, he became governor, completing the unexpired term of Governor Eliot Spitzer following Governor Spitzer’s resignation. Paterson, who is legally blind, is nationally recognized as a leading active advocate for the visually and physically impaired.


Who’s Who Among African Americans.  New York: Gale Research, 2010.

Recent New York Governors