David A. Paterson


Minority Leader's Office
250 Broadway, Suite 1930, New York, New York 10007
Tel: (212) 298-5585
Fax: (212) 298-5605

District Office
163 West 125th Street, Suite 912, New York, NY 10027
Tel: (212) 222-7315
Fax: (212) 678-0001

Albany Office
907 Legislative Office Building, Albany, NY 12247
Tel: (518) 455-2701
Fax: (518) 455-2816


Elected to the N.Y. State Senate in 1985 at the age of 31, State Senate Minority Leader David A. Paterson has repeatedly broken barriers, demanded change, and passed legislation on behalf of disenfranchised and disadvantaged New Yorkers throughout his career. Representing the 30th State Senate District, which encompasses Harlem, East Harlem, and the Upper West Side, Senator Paterson has worked with every party, every race, and every religious faith to bring social and economic justice to all New Yorkers. Proud to represent New York State in Albany, Senator Paterson recognizes that only by balancing the requirements of business with the needs of individual communities can New York fulfill its true potential.

In November 2002, Senator Paterson was elected N.Y. Senate Minority Leader. He currently serves as the highest-ranking, African-American elected official in New York State and is the first nonwhite legislative leader in Albany's history. His invitation to address the 2004 National Democratic Convention, as well as his selection to address the US Conference of Mayors that same year, is a recognition of the scope of his work.

As Minority Leader, Senator Paterson directs all policy and budget initiatives for the Senate Democratic Conference. The centerpiece of Senator Paterson's agenda is meaningful reform of Albany's legislative process, as he recognizes that when government falls short, it affects the vulnerable most of all. That is why Senator Paterson is committed to ending decades of late state budgets, unfunded mandates and legislative log-jams in order to cut New York's tax levels (the highest in the nation) and lighten New York's public debt burden (the second highest in the country after California). In an unprecedented effort in 2004, Senator Paterson released a complete alternative state budget to offer an example of open and transparent policymaking. Dedicated to fundamentally changing the way New York State conducts public business, Senator Paterson is committed to substantive campaign finance, lobbying, and public authority reform. These are the cornerstones of Senator Paterson's quest to transform state government to make it truly responsive to the needs of all New Yorkers, those both successful and struggling.

From his own experiences, Senator Paterson understands many of the obstacles New Yorkers face every day and that they often depend on government to help them through their toughest times. As a result, Senator Paterson has championed legislation to crack down on hate crimes, domestic violence and child sexual abuse, and to expand voting rights, education funding, affordable housing, and sexual orientation non-discrimination, as well as to protect consumers and ensure the quality of patient care. While he does not believe that government is the solution to every problem, Senator Paterson appreciates that for too many New Yorkers, government is their last hope and that Albany must always defend those who cannot defend themselves.

Senator Paterson has attempted for years to reform New York's draconian Rockefeller drug laws. In 2004, Senator Paterson made real progress when his staff undertook a complete survey of state drug laws across the country. When the survey concluded that New York's drug laws were the harshest in the nation, Senator Paterson asked his Task Force on Criminal Justice Reform to propose alternatives. In December 2004, the Legislature approved a sentencing reform bill that reduced the longest sentences. Not content to simply adjust prison sentences, Senator Paterson continues to advocate for further drug law sentencing reforms, including community-based (rather than prison-based) treatment and offender re-entry programs. These proposals have been lauded nationally, and have been singled out for praise across the political spectrum by national commentators and criminal law reform experts alike as measures likely to reduce recidivism while enhancing public safety.

In a similar vein, Senator Paterson produced a comprehensive report on New York's Medicaid crisis, proposing many innovations and effective tactics used by other states (including bulk purchasing of medicines, a preferred drug list, and potential prescription drug importation from abroad) that, if implemented, would vastly improve Medicaid's efficiency while extending health care coverage to every New Yorker who qualified.

Extending this focus on innovation to medical research, Senator Paterson proposed legislation authorizing a $1 billion voter-approved stem cell research initiative. This initiative would tap into the State's vast pool of scientific talent to fund stem cell research programs, offering hope for millions of New Yorkers with diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Parkinson's and spinal cord injuries, as well as transforming New York's health care industry, creating thousands of high paying jobs, and positioning New York as a leader in bio-tech research.
Senator Paulino earned state and national attention for his successful battle to preserve an important piece of American history and culture in New York. Senator Paterson fought to preserve a 283-year old burial ground of Colonial-era African-Americans in lower Manhattan when the site was threatened by the construction of a 36-story federal office tower. This victorious effort ultimately led to the burial ground being designated as a National Historic Landmark.

The Senator, who is legally blind, is also a leading advocate for the rights of the visually and physically challenged people of New York, and was elected to serve as a member of the American Foundation for the Blind. Senator Paterson is a board member of the Achilles Track Club and completed the New York City Marathon in 1999. A graduate of Columbia University and Hofstra Law School, Senator Paterson lives in Harlem with his wife and two children.

As Senate Minority Leader, Senator Paterson is an ex-officio member of all Senate standing committees and the ranking minority member of the Rules Committee.

Updated on 05/25/2005