The New York Senate yesterday confirmed H. Sidney Holmes 3d, a senior partner at Winston & Strawn LLP, as a commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

"During these challenging economic times, Sidney Holmes brings to the Port Authority a unique insight and decades of financial experience that will help us meet the region's transportation needs," New York Gov. David Paterson said in a press release.

Holmes, who has spent his entire legal career in public finance, was nominated to the post by former Gov. Eliot Spitzer in December. His term on the 12-member board runs until 2012.

He has served as bond counsel on industrial and economic development projects across the country as well as closer to home, including New York City Industrial Development Agency deals to finance the development of Terminal One at the JFK International Airport and Bank of America's new headquarters at One Bryant Park in Manhattan, which was financed with Liberty bonds.

Out of law school, he joined the now defunct law firm of Mudge Rose Guthrie Alexander & Ferdon.

Holmes said he got into public finance because it was what was available at the time.

"Most lawyers, when they get out of law school, they get the job they can get," Holmes said. "I wound up in that area and I loved it. It's a kind of law you can practice and see the physical results of your work."

The Port Authority has an important role to play in stimulating economic development in the region, he said.

In 1995 he joined Whitman Breed Abbott & Morgan LLP which merged with Winston & Strawn in 2000.

Holmes earned his bachelors degree from Columbia University in 1976 and his law degree from Hofstra University in 1979. At law school he became friends with then-fellow student and now Gov. Paterson. The friendship has continued to this day and Holmes has been a donor to Paterson's campaigns.

Holmes was also a member of Spitzer's economic development advisory committee during the transition period following Spitzer's 2006 election.


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