On January 1, 2007, Eliot Spitzer, two-term Attorney General of New York, was sworn into office as the Governor of New York.
Mr. Spitzer, a progressive liberal who notoriously pursued white-collar fraud and crime as Attorney General, is a rising national star in the Democratic Party.
In June 2005, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson hailed Eliot Spitzer as "the future of the (Democratic) party." And 2004 presidential candidate Wesley Clark said that Spitzer was on his vice-presidential short-list.
The following is Gov. Spitzer's 2007 inaugural address, in which he spoke of his progressive reform agenda for New York, and of the enriching role of immigrants in his state.
Inaugural Address of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer
Monday, January 1st, 2007
Happy New Year and thanks to all of you -- intrepid New Yorkers and friends -- for joining us on this glorious, gray January day.
I want to thank Governor Pataki for joining in this time-honored tradition as the reigns of state government pass from his careful stewardship. Thank you Governor and Mrs. Pataki for 12 years of service.
We are honored by the presence of former Governors Hugh Carey and Mario Cuomo and the great grandson of Governor Al Smith. They represent the august tradition of New York leadership.
We are honored by the presence of New York’s esteemed senior Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressman Charles Rangel and the entire Congressional delegation.
And of course, my colleagues in state government. Speaker Shelly Silver and Senator Joe Bruno and the members of their respective chambers.
A warm welcome to our great friend the esteemed Judge Kay and all the members of the Court of Appeals. A warm welcome to all those joining me in being sworn in today. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and my partner, Lieutenant Governor, David Paterson.
My deepest thanks are to my Parents; my Wife Silda and our three wonderful daughters.
Today, we come together to mark a pivotal moment in our state's history, a day that in the rhythm of democracy marks a transition and a new beginning.
It is with profound humility about the task that lies before us and filled with great hope for what I know we will achieve, that I stand before you to announce that Day One of our time for change has arrived.
As we step outside on this first January morning of two thousand and seven, the light of a new day shines down on the Empire state once again.
The opportunity at the heart of this day is unique to our times, but not new to our history. As the writer Russell Shorto has aptly noted, New York created the model for the kind of society that would be duplicated throughout the country and around the globe: Our state was born as an island at the center of the world.
Generations of Immigrants
What began as a babble of dialects and peoples struggling to find a way to live together, searching for balance between chaos and order, liberty and oppression, became a symphony of democracy.
Under the shadow of liberty’s torch, generations of weary travelers have sailed into New York harbor believing that of all the places on Earth, this was the land where people could come and find the chance to make their world anew.
That no matter how great the hardship, no matter how daunting the challenge, the promise of our democracy makes it possible to overcome the greatest odds so that we -- individually and as a society -- may arrive at a greater good.
And so it was for those first immigrants who came with little and worked long days to give their children a better life.
For the bold governor, Dewitt Clinton, who ignored the warnings of the skeptics and cynics and built an Erie Canal that so many had said was wasteful, impractical, and impossible.
For the reformers of Teddy Roosevelt’s day who dared to take on the political machine and inbred corruption in order to give government back to the people.
For the suffragists and union members and civil rights heroes who organized and marched on our streets to win their chance at the American dream.
For the inventors, artists and entrepreneurs who have turned our state into a beacon of hope, ideas, and opportunity.
A More Vibrant Future
And so it must be for us. Like all who have come before, we have arrived at this moment on this day because we have demanded a different and more vibrant future for our children.
Because we know that New York is the state where the depth of our talent and the breadth of our skills and the reach of our culture have forever changed America and the entire world – and because we know we can do it once more.
This election was not about electing one person as governor. Rather it was about what we the people collectively elected for the future of our state.
We chose pragmatism and ethics over partisan politics and disfunction, and we demanded an end to gridlock.
So I pledge to toil each and every day so as not to disappoint the hard working people of this state who have placed their trust in this future -- a future which rekindles hope and restores growth.
Today we stand in the midst of a global revolution that has transformed the way we live and the way we work. Creativity and prosperity travel wherever the brightest minds and most innovative economies can be found.
Over the last decade, we have seen what can happen when our government stands still in the face of great challenge and inevitable change.
We’ve seen it in the burdensome property taxes and the health care we can’t afford; in the jobs that have disappeared from our upstate cities and the schools that keep failing our children; in a government that works for those who hold office -- not those who put them there.
Like Rip Van Winkle, the legendary character created by the New York author Washington Irving, New York has slept through much of the past decade while the rest of the world has passed us by.
Today is the day when all of that changes – when we stop standing still and start moving forward once more.