David Paterson On Unemployment & Disability

For the record, here’s a transcript of David Paterson’s remarks about unemployment and disability at his March 13 news conference. [Source: NYT Blog]

In some ways I feel that I’m sitting on a sand castle that other people built. There are so many African-Americans, both men and women, who throughout the past couple of centuries have struggled unremittingly to try to advance opportunity for all people and for themselves. I think they would have been far more qualified than me to serve in this position. The fact that it’s taken this long in some ways is a sad note. But if it in any way allows for African-Americans or those who are disabled — 71 percent of the blind are unemployed, 90 percent of deaf people in this country are unemployed. Maybe one of them could figure out a cure for cancer, but we can’t get them into the workplace. The educational proficiency of the disabled surpasses the national education average, and yet we have these horrible unemployment rates in those communities. So to whatever extent my presence impresses upon employers, or impresses upon younger people who are like me in either way, or Hispanics or women — we’ve never had a governor from either of those communities — then I would feel very privileged, very proud and very flattered to be in this position.

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