It has been an eventful first three weeks in office for New York State’s new governor David Paterson.
On March 18, one day after being sworn-in as the 55th governor, Patterson announced that he and his wife had both engaged in separate extramarital affairs in the past.Six days later, the state’s first African-American and legally blind governor made an appearance on a NY-1 political talk show, where he publicly admitted to using cocaine and marijuana in his 20’s.
According to a March 26 Newsday article, Paterson, who rose to power after Eliot Spitzer resigned amid allegations of involvement with a prostitution ring, vowed to focus more on his duties as governor of New York.
However, despite a renewed emphasis on his governmental priorities, is Paterson’s public reputation damaged beyond repair?St. John’s students say no.
“I think it’s a shocker in light of the whole Spitzer scandal, but in politics, I think it’s better to have everything out in the open so they won’t come back to haunt you later,” said fourth-year student Nermin Sarabamoun.
Sophomore Sarah Lee shared similar feelings.
“I think [revealing his past] must have been a hard decision, but I respect it because it is better than coming out with these things later,” she said.
Other students also admired the former lieutenant governor’s openness.
“I think honesty is the best policy,” said freshman Nick Castorina. “Spitzer tried to hide what he was doing and look what happened to him.”
Freshman Ali Imran said he feels the new governor’s recent admissions indicated that he was “an honest citizen” and that he should be commended for it.
Sophomore Sunny Cho added, “I think it was an honorable move.
Tom Carnevale felt that Paterson’s revelations show that not everyone is perfect. “I think situations like this just goes to show that everyone has skeletons in their closet,” said the freshman.
Sophomore Jason Buda said that he believes Paterson’s actions were a form of damage control.
“I think he came out because he saw how Spitzer got caught and he doesn’t want to get caught too,” he said.
“If we found out about his problem in the same way, he would have been looked at as dishonest and corrupt, but now it seems like he’s kind of a hero.”
Jai Lee said that he thinks Spitzer’s replacement should be cut some slack.”I think it’s never too late to come clean,” the sixth-year student explained,.”Every experience is a life lesson and people should let go of the past and focus on the present and think positively.”
Students are not the only ones who are backing Paterson. St. John’s political science professor Asher Matathias also seems undeterred by the governor’s admissions.
“I think it was a sound strategy in trying to deflect the distractions of the Spitzer scandal,” he said.
“He came into his position of governor under unusual circumstances and felt he had to come out with his youthful indiscretions.”
Matathias seemed optimistic of Paterson’s chances of steering away from controversy for the remainder of his term.
“If there are no more revelations, he will be able to overcome this and then he can focus on more important issues like the budget and helping to unite people under his policies, ” said the St. John’s professor.
Freshman Garett Goodman also feels Paterson will be an effective governor.
“I think he’ll be fine,” he said adding that, “he’ll need some time to grow into the position but I think he’ll do a good job.”
Sophomore Jimmy Johnson said, “He seems like the right man for the job considering how the last guy turned out.”
Sixth-year student Margaret Adjei added, “As long as his past doesn’t interfere with his current duties as governor, I don’t see why he couldn’t do a good job.”