Republican Presidential Candidate Profile: George Pataki

Written by Caia Caldwell

The Hill Talk is giving a quick rundown of each Republican candidate in advance of the first primary debate on Thursday, August 6.

Here is our profile of former New York Governor George Pataki.

George PatakiQuick Facts:

  • Born in Peekskill, New York
  • 70 years old
  • B.A. from Yale University
  • J.D. from Columbia Law School

Political Experience:

  • Mayor of Peekskill (1981-1984)
  • Served in the New York state assembly (1985-1992) and then as a state senator (1993-1994).
  • Served as Governor of New York from 1995 to 2006.

Positions on the issues


  • Pataki hates Obamacare with a fiery passion.
  • He believes the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, wants to repeal it, and called it “the worst law of my lifetime” (just in case anyone had any doubts as to his feelings on the matter).

Jobs/ The Economy:

  • Pataki would like to cut the federal workforce and shrink the EPA.
  • After the Amtrak crash Pataki “called for major investments in the nation’s rail system, saying, “Don’t just throw $10 billion more into Band-Aiding an Amtrak system.’ ”

Climate change

  • Unlike many of the Republican candidates Pataki believes climate change is scientifically proven and occurring to the globe, according to PBS.
  • Pataki became an environmental consultant after he left his job as governor. He believes the government should not regulate emissions, and should not use federal money for climate change emissions.


  • Again, Pataki has more moderate position than many of his fellow Republicans.
  • He said “United States cannot ‘send 11 million people back in railroad cars and buses and trains.’ ”
  • He supports a plan to give illegal immigrants a way to live in the U.S. legally, according to the New York Times.

Social issues:

  • U.S. News & World Report called Pataki “a Republican who supports abortion rights, gun control, gay rights…”
  • It is less that he supports the rights, but more so that finds social issues a “distraction.”

Relevant scandals:

  • No known scandals. Although most politicians have skeletons in their closets, Pataki has not received a large amount of national attention.

Who will vote for him?

Maybe a few people from New York. Maybe not.

Debate video:

On being pro-choice