Governor Pataki began as Mayor of his hometown of Peekskill, New York, before going on to serve as both a New York State Assemblyman, State Senator and eventually serving three terms as the 53rd Governor of New York State, ending in 2007.
George Pataki’s path to the New York State Governor’s office was the result of a stunning electoral upset, one in which he unseated the nationally known three-term governor – the late Governor Mario Cuomo. Pataki had to win in not only a deep-blue state against the odds, but also had to go up against an incumbent with not only more money and name recognition, but who was also a national liberal icon.
The odds weren’t in Pataki’s favor, to say the least; Pataki was trailing by 17 points with just two weeks until Election Day. Crisscrossing the state, Pataki made the case for tax cuts, welfare reform and restoring the death penalty, connecting with voters and closing the gap. When he pulled off his improbable victory, Pataki took office and went to work delivering on those promises. Pataki asserted that big government and taxes were strangling the private sector economy. New York was dead last in the creation of private sector jobs. Pataki vowed to get to work, restoring his state as the Empire State a place of opportunity and innovation.
During his tenure as governor, George Pataki demonstrated a clear and decisive vision as a leader, matched with a willingness to build consensus and work with lawmakers from across the political spectrum. Recognizing New York’s growing and influential Hispanic population, Pataki learned Spanish and actively reached out and won support from this traditionally democratic but culturally conservative community. This approach allowed him to get stuff done. Some of his achievements include:
|An ardent advocate of smaller-smarter government he dramatically reduced the size of the state force, achieving a 15% reduction;
|Pataki believes we need to replace dependency with opportunity and by the time he left office over 1 million fewer New Yorkers were on welfare;
|From the personal income tax, to the estate tax, to a tax on beer – under Pataki’s leadership 19 different taxes were cut 90 times saving New Yorkers over $140 billion dollars;
|Governor Pataki believes access to a quality education is the key to a growing economy which is why he led the way on establishing charter schools in the state of New York;
|The most important responsibility of government is to provide safety, that’s why Pataki fought for and passed hundreds of tough criminal justice laws, including tough anti-terror laws, that literally transformed New York from one of the most dangerous states in America to the safest large state;
|While he would later emerge as a leading opponent of Obamacare, as Governor, Pataki dramatically expanded access to health care for the uninsured, especially children, by creating market based solutions such as Child Health Plus, Family Health Plus and Healthy New York;
|An avid outdoorsman, Pataki conserved over 1 million acres of open space, throughout the state for future generations to experience and enjoy;
|Jobs, jobs, jobs was the mantra of the Pataki administration which is why he established New York State as the global leader in nano-technology, leveraging public-private partnerships creating good jobs and leading to billions in investment;
|A fiscal conservative, Pataki erased an inherited $5 billion deficit and left the state with lower taxes, billions in reserves and it’s best credit rating in 30 years.
|A leader in supporting our troops Governor Pataki won passage of the Patriot Plan, which at the time, was the nation’s most comprehensive package of benefits and protections for deployed reserve troops.
To most Americans, Governor Pataki is best known for his leadership during those dark days after September 11th. While much is known about his successful partnership with Mayor Giuliani in the immediate response to the attacks, less is known about the long, hard and emotional process of rebuilding. Through smart and unwavering leadership, Governor Pataki was instrumental in the reconstruction of Lower Manhattan, the renewal of confidence, and in the recovery of the economy in the months and years following the terror attacks of September 11. Governor Pataki was committed to rebuilding and maintaining Lower Manhattan as the financial capital of the world, while also remembering and honoring those brave Americans and New Yorkers who had given their lives for freedom. As chair of the Ground Zero committee, he bravely disputed the committee’s recommendations as not properly honoring the people who had sacrificed their lives. He was widely criticized for this until the final memorial was completed, a site for which he is now hailed as a visionary.
Governor Pataki has a tremendous connection with his constituents, a genuine love for people, and a deep-rooted belief in the American Dream, all of which stem from his upbringing on the small family farm in upstate New York. On the Pataki Farm, surrounded by his immigrant grandparents and his parents, brother, neighbors, and aunts and uncles and cousins, Pataki learned of the dignity to be found in hard work and the importance of community. He received his education through a small public school system and was able to attend Yale University on an academic scholarship– becoming the first generation of his family to have the opportunity to attend college. Pataki completed his JD at Columbia Law School, where he made Law Review. He worked through school to afford the tuition. He came to a deep love and appreciation for the rule of law but, after school, felt that his heart was in working with the people and finding creative and smart ways to create policy and implement positive change for his hometown, his state, and his nation.
George Pataki has been married to his wife, Elizabeth, for 41 years. They have four children and numerous grandchildren. Pataki’s youngest son is an Army officer who recently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan; his older son served as a Marine officer in Iraq and now works for the Knights of Columbus. Pataki’s younger daughter is a New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction novels, and his eldest daughter works at law department of Bloomberg LLP. Governor Pataki and his wife have certainly passed on their family values of patriotism, conservatism, hard work, and the desire to serve in their communities and help others.
Pataki is currently the President of his own small business, The Pataki-Cahill group that works in energy, infrastructure, clean-tech. He is also of Counsel at Chadbourne & Parke LLP.
While successful in the private sector, his heart and mind has never left politics.
1. Upon leaving office he was appointed by President Bush to serve as the United States Delegate to the 62nd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
2. In 2010, he served as Chairman of Revere America an organization that was committed to supporting candidates that opposed Obamacare.
3. Currently, he is the spokesman for Americans for Real Change, which, like Pataki himself, advocates for smaller government and less regulation on businesses.
Former Gov. George Pataki, who frequently tussled with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver during his three terms as governor, released a statement on Friday saying his arrest suggests a broader problem with the expansion of government at both the state and federal level.
Former New York Gov. George Pataki, after announcing Thursday he has established a super PAC as he explores a run for president, plans to visit New Hampshire on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Former New York governor George Pataki will return to New Hampshire next week to address a local Republican fund-raiser and speak to college students.