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Big Chuck

March 29, 2010

I Was Just Thinking: Rogues' gallery of lieutenant governors past

The funhouse carnival that is Albany these days is, in my opinion, about ready to present us with another gift. Another unelected governor!

With Governor Paterson's poll numbers lower than a starlet's neckline at the Oscars' red carpet, I have a hunch he may be looking for the golden parachute real soon. And what will that bring us? A guy named Richard Ravitch.


All I know about Ravitch (and I do read up on these things, you know) is that he is based in New York City, headed up the MTA there during a strike-marred tenure in 1979, and also had a strike-marred stint as Major League Baseball's union negotiator. He appears to be too heavy. I hear he smokes too much and he has no middle name (really). And that is about it.

So how is he different from other lieutenant governors of our state? Not by very much. The list is a veritable rogues' gallery of familiar and unknown politicians dating way back to the formation of our state.

Let's take a look at some of these folks (the sequential number of their order comes after each name, whether they were acting or sitting lieutenant governors).

Cortland is named after Lt. Gov. Pierre Van Cortlandt (No. 1), and Broome County is named after John Broome (3). Malcolm Wilson (49) got the naming rights to the Tappan Zee Bridge.

Several of New York's No. 2s went on to become governor, such as DeWitt Clinton and Mario Cuomo. Several have local roots. Lt. Gov. Erastus Root (7) is buried in Delhi, John Tracy (11) is buried in Oxford, and Daniel Dickinson (13) was raised in Guilford.

Lt. Gov. Hamilton Fish (15) had a grandson who was the first of Teddy Roosevelt's famed Rough Riders to die in the Spanish-American War. John Robinson (24) received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Civil War, where he lost a leg in battle.

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