David A. Paterson was born May 20, 1954, in Brooklyn, NY to Portia and Basil Paterson, the first non-white Secretary of State in New York and the first African-American Vice-Chair of the National Democratic Party. The Lt. Governor earned his bachelor's degree in History from Columbia University in 1977, and completed his J.D. at Hofstra Law School in 1982. He continues to give back to his alma mater by serving as an adjunct professor at Columbia's School for International and Public Affairs.
In 1985 David Paterson 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 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Throughout his career he has demanded and achieved change, reaching across party lines and bringing people together. Paterson has led the charge on several crucial issues for New York's future, achieving legislation for a $600 million New York stem cell research initiative, putting forth a statewide renewable energy strategy, insisting on strong action to combat domestic violence, and serving as the primary champion for minority- and women-owned businesses in New York.
Paterson, who is legally blind, is nationally recognized as a leading active advocate for the visually and physically impaired. He is a member of the American Foundation for the Blind. He serves as a member of the Democratic National Committee and as a board member of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. In addition, he is a Member of the Board of the Achilles Track Club, having completed the New York City Marathon in 1999.