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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Paterson To Make History Again by Becoming the First Legally Blind Governor of New York

Statement from the American Foundation for the Blind

Contact: Adrianna Montague-Gray
AFB Communications
(212) 502-7675

New York, NY (March 11, 2008)—All eyes are on Lt. Governor David Paterson this week, who will become the first legally blind, and the first African-American governor of New York on Monday, March 17, 2008. Paterson, who served on the American Foundation for the Blind's Board of Trustees from 1997-2006, is nationally recognized as a leading advocate for people with disabilities.

"David Paterson has been making history since the beginning of his career, and challenging public perceptions about what it means to have a disability," said Carl R. Augusto, AFB's President and CEO. "Paterson has shown the world that people with vision loss can lead full and independent lives—running marathons, being a great father and husband, and becoming a major political leader."

In 2002, Paterson was elected Minority Leader of the New York State Senate, the first non-white legislative leader in New York's history. In Boston in 2004, he became the first visually impaired person to address a Democratic National Convention. And on November 7, 2006, Paterson made history again by being elected New York's first African-American Lieutenant Governor."


The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that expands possibilities for people with vision loss. AFB's priorities include broadening access to technology; elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss; and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources. AFB is also proud to house the Helen Keller Archives and honor the over forty years that Helen Keller worked tirelessly with AFB. For more information visit us online at

March 14, 2008, Correction: Though David Paterson is New York's first legally blind governor, he is not the nation's first legally blind governor. Today we learned that Bob C. Riley, who was also visually impaired, served as Governor of Arkansas for 11 days in 1975. We apologize for reporting this incorrectly in our first release.

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