Challenges Await Incoming NY Governor

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Eliot Spitzer' replacement will face political challenges when he becomes New York's new governor Monday.

Lt. Gov David Paterson will try to sooth relations with lawmakers in both parties who were offended by Spitzer's confrontational leadership style. He also faces a tight budget in a slowing economy.

Spitzer stepped down amid a call-girl scandal that left him facing the prospect of criminal charges and perhaps disbarment.

But Paterson plans to be well prepared for the job. The Democrat will become New York's first black governor and the nation's first legally blind chief executive.

He asked for a handover on Monday, five days after Spitzer's resignation.

Paterson Wanted More Time

Paterson said he needed more time to prepare before taking office and wanted Spitzer to say a proper goodbye to his staff.

He plans to meet with lawmakers on Monday to lay out his positions and any revisions to Spitzer's budget, which faces an April 1 deadline.

"In these situations, most politicians would be like vultures swarming around the body," said Rep. Steve Israel, who said he had spoken to Paterson. "In contrast, David Paterson actually asked for more time to do his homework."

Paterson, Spitzer Have Differing Leadership Styles

Spitzer and his successor have starkly different leadership styles. While Spitzer was abrasive, uncompromising and even insulting, Paterson has built a reputation as a conciliator, and lawmakers quickly embraced the new order.

"The first thing he can, and I think he will, do is end the era of accusation and contempt and ridicule," Democratic Assemblyman Richard Brodsky said. "I think everyone will be better off because of it."

Paterson, 53, has been in New York government since his election to the state Senate in 1985.

Though legally blind, he has enough sight in his right eye to walk unaided, recognize people at conversational distance, and even read if the text is placed close to his face.

Paterson said in a statement that he was saddened by the scandal, but added: "It is now time for Albany to get back to work, as the people of this state expect from us."

Spitzer resigned Wednesday, making an announcement without securing a plea bargain with federal prosecutors, though a law enforcement official said the former governor was still believed to be negotiating one. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.

Source: The Associated Press

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