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Thomas DiNapoli touts strength of state pension fund at his swearing-in at Hofstra

NewYork State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli takes the oath

NewYork State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli takes the oath of office from the honorable Sharon Gianelli, Justice of the Supreme Court, at Hofstra University on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015 in Hempstead Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli touted the strength of the state's pension fund and called for campaign finance reform during his swearing-in ceremony Sunday at Hofstra University.

DiNapoli began his third term at a campus event that included praise from colleagues for his humility, hard work and devotion to public service.

In his speech at the John Cranford Adams Playhouse, DiNapoli said the state's finances are in better shape than when he first took office in 2007.

"It's taken a number of years for New York to be in a stronger position, but we are," DiNapoli said.

He took office at an unusual time in New York State politics.

The legislature selected him Feb. 7, 2007, to serve out the term of his predecessor, Alan Hevesi, who left office in the midst of a campaign financing scandal. Hevesi served 19 months in prison for accepting campaign donations and gifts from people looking to do business with the state pension fund, which the comptroller's office oversees.

The two-hour afternoon event Sunday included several speeches on DiNapoli's behalf by current and former politicians as well as religious leaders.

"He's a quiet guy," Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told the audience. "He doesn't try to self-promote or anything like that. He just works hard."

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman called DiNapoli "a brother in public service," while former Rep. Carolyn McCarthy said the comptroller never forgot where he came from.

The praise comes as DiNapoli enters his ninth year in the job. DiNapoli won his November election with 60 percent of the statewide vote. He also won Suffolk and Nassau counties on his native Long Island with more votes that Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

It marked a turnaround from the 2010 elections, in which he lost in both counties, but managed to hold onto the job largely due to New York City voters.

"I've always had my own internal compass that has directed me," DiNapoli said after the event. "I do what I do because I think it's the right thing. I think that means over my long career in public service I've been able to win more battles than I lost."

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