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The First Family

THE FIRST FAMILY

GEORGE E. PATAKI
GOVERNOR, STATE OF NEW YORK
Biography

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pataki bio picGeorge E. Pataki, the 53rd Governor of New York State, has shown that strong leadership and commitment to core principles can position the Empire State to lead America well into the 21st century. New York State’s first Republican-Conservative chief executive, George Pataki was elected Governor on November 8, 1994. On November 3, 1998, he was re-elected by a margin of twenty percent, the largest landslide for a Republican governor in New York history. He then won re-election to a third term in November 2002 by a margin of over 725,000 votes, and he is now the longest serving governor in the United States.

When Governor Pataki first took office in 1995, many New Yorkers had lost hope in the State’s future due to years of high taxes, massive job losses, and spiraling increases in crime and welfare dependency. Under the Governor’s bold leadership, the State has been transformed, and today New York’s future has never been brighter.

Spurred on by Governor Pataki’s enactment of more than $100 billion in tax cuts, New York’s economy has been dramatically strengthened and more than 600,000 new private sector jobs have been created since 1995. As a result of the Governor’s tough criminal justice policies, the State has experienced a record drop in its crime rate and New York is now the safest large state in America. Following the enactment of the Governor’s comprehensive welfare reforms, New York’s welfare rolls have been reduced by more than one million recipients and now stand at their lowest levels since the 1960’s. In addition, record investments have been made in New York’s public education system, the environment and health care.

In the wake of the devastating September 11th terrorist attacks, Governor Pataki has led New York through a heartbreaking time of mourning and remembrance, and on to a period of rebirth, recovery and revitalization. To ensure that New York continues moving forward, and to honor the memory of the heroes who were lost in the attacks, the Governor has made a personal commitment to rebuilding Lower Manhattan – making it stronger, better and more vibrant than ever before.

The centerpiece of this historic rebuilding effort will be an enduring, inspirational memorial that will pay tribute to those who perished on one of the darkest days in America’s history. The Governor has also launched a comprehensive effort to attract new jobs and economic activity to Lower Manhattan, and the former site of the World Trade Center is being revitalized with a world-class transportation hub and gleaming new office buildings, including the 1,776 foot high Freedom Tower – an architectural wonder that will serve as a soaring reflection of New York’s indomitable spirit.

To help ensure an even brighter, stronger future for the Empire State, Governor Pataki has launched an unprecedented effort to make New York a worldwide powerhouse in high technology research, job creation and economic growth. The centerpiece of this effort is his multi-billion dollar high-tech biotechnology Center of Excellence initiative, which is anchored by major research centers in Albany, Buffalo, Greater Rochester, Long Island and Syracuse. Based on a strong public and private sector partnership between the State’s leading academic institutions and industry leaders like IBM, Kodak, Corning and Dell, the Centers of Excellence will help to create thousands of new private sector jobs while positioning the State to meet the complex challenges of the 21st century economy.

Governor Pataki has also made the fight for a cleaner, healthier environment a hallmark of his time in office. New York has become a leader in open space preservation, with nearly 1 million new acres protected since 1995. The Governor has played a strong leadership role in the clean-up of the majestic Hudson River and Long Island Sound, and he helped to successfully negotiate the historic agreement to protect the New York City Watershed. From adopting the toughest emission reduction and acid rain standards in the nation, to an unparalleled commitment to clean, renewable energy sources, no State is doing more than New York to enhance the quality of our natural environment.

Prior to the time Governor Pataki first took office, New York had earned an international reputation as a dangerous place with a skyrocketing crime rate. But Governor Pataki successfully fought to enact more than 100 new laws to help toughen penalties and close criminal-friendly loopholes, and these sweeping reforms helped produce record reductions in crime. In fact, under the Governor’s leadership, the crime rate has now plunged in New York State for eleven consecutive years, and New York has moved from being ranked as the 6th most violent state in the nation, to the 6th safest state – as well as the safest large state in the entire country. Since 1995, overall crime has been reduced by 47 %, and violent crime has been reduced by more than 50%.

Governor Pataki was born in Peekskill, New York on June 24, 1945 and raised on his parents family farm. He is a 1967 graduate of Yale University and a 1970 graduate of Columbia Law School, both of which he attended on academic scholarships. The Governor and his wife, the former Elizabeth (Libby) Rowland, reside in Garrison, New York, along the lower Hudson River. They have four children: Emily, Teddy, Allison and George Owen. Before being elected Governor, George Pataki served 10 years in the New York State Legislature. He was also the youngest Mayor ever elected in his hometown of Peekskill, and was re-elected with the largest plurality in the City’s history.

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