Richard Ravitch Introduction

On February 13, 2013 Jonathan Fanton, interim director of The Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute, introduced Richard Ravitch, the former Lieutenant Governor of New York, for a brown bag lunch discussion with students from CUNY Hunter College on the recent release of his report (co-authored with Paul Volcker) on the  fiscal future of New York state. For additional information on The Roosevelt House, click here.

Richard Ravitch Talk
February 13, 2013

Roosevelt House is fortunate to have a distinguished Board of Advisors who help the faculty and staff chart the course for our new Public Policy Institute. Today we welcome one of our most active members, Richard Ravitch. As you think about your own careers, here is a model to learn from.

He is a Yale trained lawyer who has been a businessman, head of state agencies, helped rescue New York from bankruptcy in 1975 and most recently served as New York’s Lt. Governor.

We all stand in awe of how the MTA recovered from Hurricane Sandy. Indeed, Joseph Lhota is running for Mayor on the strengths of its performance. But the real hero is Richard Ravitch who was chair of the MTA from 1979 to 1983. During his tenure he thoroughly overhauled the systems –  new subway cars and buses and significant renovation of tracks, signals, and stations.

He is at his best bringing private sector experience to public agencies. Affordable housing has been a central theme in his career. He worked for HRH construction Corp, which was responsible for the development of 45,000 affordable units in major cities including New York. Governor Carey appointed him Chair of the New York State Urban Development Corporation. He served as Chair of the Corporation for Supportive Housing, Co-Chair of the Millennial Housing Commission and back in 1969 LBJ appointed him to the Commission on Urban Problems.

Many talented people move seamlessly between the public and private sectors. He was chair and CCO of the Bowery Savings Bank rescuing it from bankruptcy. And he later was a partner of the famed Blackstone Group.

And busy public leaders also find time to help non-profit institutions. Dick Ravitch has been a Trustee of the Century Foundation and Mt. Sinai Hospital.

As Lt. Governor he spoke truth to power — and the public – about our state’s budget problems. We will be interested in his impressions of Albany, frustrations and all.

He was recently at Roosevelt House to release a report that he and Paul Volcker have supervised laying bare New York’s fiscal future. They studied 6 states finding a worrisome pattern: Medicare spending, rising rapidly, underfunded retirement promises, eroding tax base, negative impact of federal deficit reduction measures and local governments deeply stressed. I am sure he will tell us about the report and the concrete recommendations he is making to improve the fiscal condition of the state. Your futures depend on clear and courageous action now .

You can tell I am a fan of Dick Ravitch – all the more because his mother studied at the New School.

Mr. Ravitch will talk for 20 minutes and then open up for your questions.

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