Paterson gets warm welcome in Harlem

March 22, 2008 3:40:37 PM PDT
New York Gov. David Paterson had a tough first week in office, but he got a warm welcome Saturday from a hometown crowd in Harlem. The state's first black governor delivered a brief speech at a weekly gathering of a civil rights group affiliated with the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Paterson told audience members they now have a special ally in the governor's office, one who wouldn't follow in the footsteps of other politicians who have made big promises to the community, then ignored it once they got into office.

"Our faith that has guided us to seek justice is not going to abandon us when we have decision-making capacity," Paterson said.

But he also promised fairness to all during his administration, and mentioned upstate cities that have been going through tough economic times.

"Just as it is always important not to forget where you came from, which I will not do, it is also important not to exclude anyone else in the way we were excluded for so many years by others," Paterson said.

Paterson was sworn in on Monday. Since then he been dogged by controversy over extramarital affairs and allegations of improper campaign spending.

Paterson was born in Brooklyn, went to high school on Long Island and represented Harlem in the state senate for many years before becoming lieutenant governor.