By FRANK ELTMAN, Associated Press Writer 25 minutes ago
SANDS POINT, N.Y. - When David Paterson takes office Monday to become the nation’s first legally blind governor, among those watching with the greatest interest will be those who cannot see.
Paterson’s rise to governor has served as a great source of inspiration to blind Americans, many of whom believe his newfound power will make the country more open-minded about disabilities.
“We don’t see a lot of people with disabilities in positions that important,” said Suzanne Ressa, marketing and development director at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults on Long Island. “He could be a great role model to all those individuals who are transitioning into the work world, because he’s saying, `Yeah I’m making it happen.’ You know, `If I can hold this leadership position, so can other people.’”
Although estimates vary, there are approximately 10 million blind and visually impaired people in the United States, and about 1.3 million of them are legally blind, according to the American Foundation for the Blind.
Paterson, who lost sight in his left eye and much of the sight in his right eye after an infection as an infant, joins a minuscule fraternity of blind politicians to attain high office. Thomas Pryor Gore was totally blind and served as a U.S. senator from Oklahoma from 1907 until 1921 and from 1931 until 1937. Minnesota had a blind congressman and senator, Thomas David Schall, who served from 1915 until his death in 1935.
Paterson succeeds Eliot Spitzer, who resigned Wednesday after being exposed as a client in a high-priced prostitution ring.
The 53-year-old Paterson is the state’s first disabled governor since Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was stricken with polio several years before he was elected in 1928.
Though his sight is limited, Paterson, who spent 20 years in the state Senate before becoming lieutenant governor, walks the halls of the state Capitol unaided. He recognizes people at conversational distance and can memorize whole speeches. He has played pickup basketball games, once ran the New York City Marathon and can read for short periods of time, though aides usually read to him.
Maricar Marquez hopes Paterson’s new job will help change people’s opinions about disabilities. Marquez, 36, is deaf and blind and communicates with the aid of two interpreters, but still manages to work as an instructor at the Helen Keller center.
“Maybe with this happening the government will be more sensitive to people with disabilities and provide better services for rehabilitation, education and maybe be more willing to be open-minded and understanding of the needs of people with disabilities,” she said.
Dr. Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind, said Paterson’s ascension to the governor’s mansion can only help shatter misconceptions and stereotypes.
“He will serve as constant proof to the citizens of New York and the nation that blind people can perform any task, from an entry-level position to leading one of the largest states in the nation,” Maurer said.
Vincent Norbury, a 19-year-old student from Queens who attends the Helen Keller center, had some suggestions for the incoming governor: “I think he should put Braille on more street signs and make some way that people with no vision can tell if the lights are changing in the street.”
Tracey Gilbert-Dallow of Port Washington, a Helen Keller instructor who gets around with her guide dog Marley, predicted Paterson “will have a big influence not just on blind people, but everyone.”
“He had all these challenges and look where he is today,” she said. “Just because you have sight don’t mean you can see. You see within yourself.”
Just remember , as Dr Robin says ” He sees more without his eyes tha when he had them.”
Quit compalining get off your butt and do something wonderful
This Blog does more than just show you the networking world but I work very hard at letting you see the world.
I was born in the summer of 1955, in a Soddy on the Great Plains, in the …oh wrong story.
My friends call me they call me Robin, Dr Robin, the Blindguy and Dr Blindguy.I am married to Kathy and have two grown daughters out of the house (25 and 26) and two daughters in the house, 15 and 16 and a grandaughter 9 and a grandson 14 months old , that live with me on 2.2 acres in Hills, Iowa.
“Dr. Robin”, the well known MLM Radio personality is an Eagle Scout and 24 year U.S. Army and Army Reserves veteran. While still in the Army, he began building his “honorary” doctorate in the Network Marketing world. He built a huge Amway organization in the tens of thousands. He later was a top producer at A.L. Williams and has had experience in numerous other network marketing companies. He is a nationally recognized expert in the network marketing business with the following credentials: Certified Network Marketing Instructor since 2005, Certified Network Marketing Mentor since 2005, Certified Network Marketing Scholar since 2006, Certified Master Network Marketer since 2007. Dr. Robin is also considered an ambassador for network marketing as well as serving in the capacity of policing the companies that do not positively represent the industry. Dr. Robin has been the host of several radio shows (KEN I, KDEF, KKIM, KQAK,). He is currently involved in five network marketing uplines with thousands of distributors in his organization. Did we forget to mention; he has done all of this in the past several years and Dr. Robin is blind? Dr. Robin is the current host of his radio show, “Networking with the Blindguy” with up to 3.8 million listeners. Dr. Robin will consult with the company on the content and ongoing evaluation of our 600+ Business Opportunities at Internet Marketing Gorillas and serve as the host and training guhru of Internet Marketing Gorillas Radio show called Gorilla Talk Radio.
• Certified Network Marketing Instructor since 2005• Certified Network Marketing Mentor since 2005• Certified Network Marketing Scholar since 2006• Certified Master Network Marketer since 2007
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