"When government accepts responsibility for people, then people no longer take responsibility for themselves."
George Elmer Pataki (1945– )
New York's first Republican governor in a generation, George Pataki shared the national spotlight in the days and weeks following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Since then he has played a prominent role in the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan, helping to establish a vision for a revitalized neighborhood and working to mediate disputes in the complicated rebuilding process. Pataki first entered the public eye as the youngest mayor ever of Peekskill, his hometown in New York's Hudson River Valley, and then served as a state representative and senator. Upon becoming governor in 1995, Pataki moved quickly to reinstitute New York's death penalty and worked repeatedly to lower state taxes. An ardent conservative on economic issues, Pataki is considered to be more liberal than the national Republican Party on social matters such as abortion and gay rights, and has long favored measures to protect the environment. Now in his tenth year in office, he is one of the longest-serving governors in New York history.