SARATOGA SPRINGS -- The state's top Democratic lawmakers gathered at the Gideon Putnam Hotel and Conference Center on Friday for the opening night of the two-day annual convention of the state Democratic Rural Conference.Gov. David Paterson addressed the conference for about 15 minutes, telling Democrats who gathered from across the state that in the Democratic Rural Conference, they each had a voice, regardless of where they came from.
"We recognize the talent and abilities in this state exists in all of our 62 counties, in all of our regions and in all of our towns and villages and our cities," Paterson said, recalling how his first travels across the state reminded him of how the people of Harlem, who Paterson had represented in the Senate, felt they had no voice."When I traveled around, I could hear people who looked a little different than my neighbors in Harlem, who may have come from different regions than my friends from my home community, but were saying the same thing. They're tired of being left out. Tired of being a stepchild. Tired of being the afterthought. Thanks to the DRC, you are no longer the stepchild, the afterthought or in any way left out," Paterson said to a crowd of several hundred listeners.
Despite currently gloomy state budget figures, Paterson said he thinks the state could have a bright future."After the budget deficit of nearly $18 billion, the budget deficit projection for 2010-2011 is $2.5 billion. That means with the stimulus money remaining that we will receive next year and with the discipline that the legislature practiced this year, if that remains for a couple of more years we will get past this incredible and historic deficit and move into prosperity and rebuilding New York."
The conference crowd included state Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman Paul Tonko, of Amsterdam, and U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, among others.As he recognized state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in attendance, Paterson quipped: "Remember there's no 'I' in A.G." to much laughter. The governor also recognized one Democrat not in attendance, by saluting "our Congressman-in-waiting, Scott Murphy."Saratoga County Chairman Larry Bulman addressed the audience and said victory by Scott Murphy is imminent.