The son of two Caribbean nationals is posed to become the new governor of New York following Wednesday's resignation of Governor Eliot Spitzer.
The parents of Lieutenant Governor David A. Paterson were born in Grenada and Jamaica. His Grenadian born father is a former New York State senator.
Paterson is scheduled to become New York's 55th governor on Monday. He will be the state's first black governor and will replace Spitzer who announced his resignation following revelations that he was involved in a prostitution ring.
"I am deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me. To every New Yorker, and to all those who believed in what I tried to stand for, I sincerely apologize," Spitzer said.
As news of Spitzer's departure spread Wednesday, Paterson begun to reach out to the state's senior Democrats, including presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton and Congressman Charles B. Rangel, a fellow Harlem Democrat and strong advocate for the Caribbean, who has long ties to the Paterson's family.
An aide said that David Paterson's office has been "flooded with calls of support from the state's elected officials of both [Democratic and Republican] parties, friends and ordinary New Yorkers who wish him well and to offer their support and prayers."
Paterson is said to be liked and respected by leading figures in both parties, but is also considered untested.
In 2006, he surprised the Democratic establishment in Albany, the state's capital, by leaving the Senate - and the possibility of becoming majority leader if the Democrats captured a majority there - to run for the largely ceremonial post of lieutenant governor.
Born in Brooklyn on May 20, 1954, an early childhood infection left him with severely limited sight.
Paterson is a graduate of Columbia University and Hofstra Law School, both in New York, and is also an adjunct professor at Columbia University.