George Pataki

From Academic Kids

George E. Pataki
George E. Pataki

George Elmer Pataki (born June 24, 1945) is the current governor of the U.S. state of New York (since 1995). He is a member of the Republican Party and has Hungarian, Irish, and Italian ancestry.

George Pataki was born in Peekskill, New York. He is a 1967 graduate of Yale University and a 1970 graduate of Columbia Law School. Before being elected Governor, George Pataki served 10 years in the New York state Legislature and was the Mayor of Peekskill between 1981 and 1984. He was first elected Governor of New York in 1994, by defeating the Democratic incumbent, Mario Cuomo in a surprising victory masterminded by his campaign manager Arthur Finkelstein. His running mate for lieutenant governor in the 1994 election was Betsy McCaughey Ross, who proved to be controversial once in office. Pataki, now running with Mary Donohue, was reelected in 1998, defeating the Democratic candidate Peter Vallone 54%-33% and in 2002, receiving 49% of the vote while Democrat Carl McCall received 33% and independent candidate Tom Golisano received 14%.

Pataki and his wife, Elizabeth, have four children.

During the first years of Pataki's administration, he began to institute the major spending cuts which he has advocated for most of his career. In 1999 Governor Pataki signed into law comprehensive health care legislation that provided health insurance coverage, under Family Health Plus, to lower income adults who do not have health insurance through their employers.

In 2003 Pataki made a controversial budget proposal in which he proposed several tax cuts, despite the state's rising deficits. He also made cuts in education and health care funding which, some say, may close emergency rooms and turn non-profit hospitals into for-profit. Pataki argued that new taxes would drive businesses out of state, reducing jobs, further compounding the deficit problem.

In August 2004 Pataki introduced President George W. Bush at the Republican National Convention. A year prior, Pataki had boasted Bush would carry the state in the 2004 elections. Later in 2004, on November 22, he named the living former presidents honorary members of the board rebuilding the World Trade Center.

Pataki has always been moderate on social issues but by his third term many social conservatives simmered over his continued support of abortion rights as well as his heavy lobbying in favor of a gay rights bill which had languished in the state senate for many years due to the opposition of Senate Leader Joseph Bruno. In 2003 Bruno finally gave in and the bill passed the senate and was signed into law by Pataki. In the 2004 elections, not only did Republicans' hope of Bush carrying the state fail to materialize, but Democratic US Senator Charles Schumer won over 70% in his reelection bid against Assemblyman Howard Mills, Democrats picked up a Congressional seat, gained seats in the state legislature, and in many local races. Many Republicans such as Congressman Peter T. King blamed Pataki and what they viewed as his aimlessness as causing the rout. Pataki replaced some advisors and the state party replaced their chairman with a much more socially conservative man, suggesting Pataki and the party will lurch heavily to the right for the 2006 elections.

Should Pataki run for re-election, his likely challenger for the governorship in the gubernatorial election of 2006 is New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Polls currently show Spitzer with a large 53-32% lead. [1] ( Should Pataki choose not to run for Governor, he could also challenge New York Senator Hillary Clinton for her Senate seat. However, current polls show that a hypothetical matchup would leave Hillary the winner by 60-32 percent [2] ( An additional possibility is that he could choose to begin a long campaign for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.

Cultural references

The last name of Hey Arnold! character Helga Pataki is taken from the governor's name.

External links

Preceded by:
Mario Cuomo
Governor of New York
Succeeded by:

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