By Jeanne Sager
YOUNGSVILLE October 15, 2004 Sean Maloney is ready to take a walk in Eliot Spitzers shoes.
The part-time Youngsville resident is off and running in the race for New York State attorney general an election that will take place in 2006 when the states top lawyer makes his own bid for the governors mansion.
Maloney is best known in Sullivan County as partner of local real estate agent Randy Florke.
I live in Randy Florkes shadow up there, Maloney said with a laugh.
But in the world of politics, the Democrat is a familiar face.
In 1992, he was sleeping on the floor of campaign headquarters in Little Rock, Ark., working to send then-Governor Bill Clinton to the White House.
Four years later, after working as an attorney in New York City for the firm of Willkie Farr & Gallagher, he was back on the campaign, working from New York to send Clinton back to the White House.
And his loyalty paid off, earning him a place on Clintons staff and a seat in the Oval Office where Maloney helped the president sift through his daily paperwork.
Maloney was initially hired as deputy staff secretary, then took over the top secretarys spot the youngest man ever to serve in the position and the highest-ranking openly gay man on White House staff.
His job was, in essence, to read everything the president reads and even more.
Every piece of paper headed for Clintons desk was first reviewed by Maloney who had to decide whether it was necessary for the president to even see it, and whether arguments presented enough information for Clinton to make well-informed decisions.
During Clintons second term, Maloney was one of the most knowledgeable men alive on the state of the nation his eyes saw everything marked for the presidents eyes only.
And that which he didnt pass on was often put into a memo that Maloney drafted each day filling Clinton in on other dribs and drabs of information that came into the White House.
Hed sit in the Oval Office going through stacks of work with Clinton from national security information that required a look-see to action items such as bills that needed to be signed.
It was a massive undertaking, but Maloney said it was a good experience.
The luxury of working for Bill Clinton was that he was always so much smarter than all of us, he understood so much more, Maloney said. It was an opportunity to work with the most talented politician of a generation.
His boss would devour the memos, often reading beyond the cover letters Maloney penned to simplify the presidents job.
His focus was always on the people, Maloney said, something thats often been overlooked as people have recalled Clintons transgressions during his presidency.
I dont think he gets enough credit for how he tried to use the office to help regular people, Maloney said. He was always really focused on whats going to do the most for the most amount of people.
After leaving the Clinton White House, Maloney returned to New York City to take over the chief operating officer slot at Kiodex, a risk management company.
He was there for three years before returning to the law, where hes been preparing for his run for public office.
A Democrat and member of the board of the Empire State Pride Agenda, one of the states largest civil rights organizations, he turned his eye to the attorney generals office.
He spent the spring exploring the race and finally made the choice just six weeks ago to go for it.
Our conclusion was, we can win and we know what it will take, he explained.
A political committee was formed to raise money for his campaign, which hell be doing this weekend with a fundraiser in Callicoon Center.
Maloney said its a chance to hold one of his events in a place where he and Florke feel at home.
Weve been coming there for years, he said. A friend from law school had a grandfather who had a house on 97 near Narrowsburg.
Maloneys decision to make this area a get-a-way destination came after a canoe trip down the Delaware that just took his breath away.
The couple bought their first home in Sullivan County in 1996, and theyve lived in a number of communities having finally built their house in Youngsville just recently.
The couples children, 14-year-old Jesus, 3-year-old Daley and 1-year-old Essie, have grown up in the area and love it as much as their parents.
Its become a big part of who we are, Maloney explained.
Hes looking forward to sharing his vision for the attorney generals office with local voters, a vision that follows in the footsteps of Eliot Spitzer.
Eliot has really shown the way this job is done, Maloney noted.
For many New Yorkers, the question is how to keep his legacy intact.
I think the way to do that is by not having it be a job for politicians, have it be a job for lawyers, Maloney explained.
Spitzer has brought some of the states greatest legal minds into the attorney generals office.
Its doing what its supposed to do, Maloney said. Its working for ordinary people.
He wants to continue that, focusing on political reform to restore confidence in the political system in New York.
Maloney wants to put a greater stress on ensuring full equality under the law for all New Yorkers and continue Spitzers work for enhanced gun safety, workers rights and his trust-busting actions.
For more on Maloney and the issues, visit his Web site, www.sean maloney.com.