|Governor of New York|
From: January 1, 1995 – December 31, 2006
Born and raised on his family farm in Westchester County, New York to Hungarian immigrants, he graduated from Yale University in 1967 and Columbia Law School in 1970 on academic scholarships. Pataki began his political career by serving as Mayor of his hometown of Peekskill. He went on to serve 10 years in the New York State legislature. With the encouragement of U.S. Senator Al D'Amato, he was elected governor in the 1994 Republican sweep year. He unseated Democrat Mario Cuomo. Pataki was the first Governor of New York since Franklin D. Roosevelt to not be from New York City. He was easily reelected in 1998 and 2002. From the beginning of his administration, he instituted major spending cuts. Pataki's governance included a period of economic expansion for New York State, $100 billion in tax cuts, reduced welfare and 600,000 added jobs. In 2005, New York had an on-time budget for the first time in twenty-one years. He enacted more than 100 new laws to toughen penalties for criminals and eliminated parole for violent felony offenders. The crime rate in New York State fell for eleven consecutive years, by the end of his tenure as Governor, violent crime dropped 54% and New York was recognized as the safest large state in America.
A Republican in name only, Pataki is pro-abortion (although he also supports the ban on partial birth abortion)  and vetoed a bill that would allow sale of the morning-after pill. Additionally, he is a strong supporter of environmental protection. He played a major role in the clean-up of the Hudson River and Long Island Sound. Pataki signed major health care legislation in 1999 that provided health insurance coverage, under Family Health Plus, to lower-income adults who do not have health insurance through their employers. George Pataki was governor during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and led lower Manhattan through recovery and rebuilding. Pataki suffered health problems towards the end of his governorship after he suffered a burst appendix and had to go through significant operation.
Pataki's name was mentioned as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2000 and 2008, although he declined to run. On May 28, 2015, Pataki announced that he was running for the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential election. He was soon eclipsed by another New York Republican, Donald Trump. On December 29, 2015, Pataki withdrew from the primaries. He was soon eclipsed by another New York Republican, Donald Trump.
- Amber Ferguson (December 29, 2015). George Pataki Drops Out Of 2016 Presidential Race: The former governor of New York never made it to the main stage during any of the GOP presidential debates. Huffington Post. Retrieved on May 27, 2020.