— -- Name: George Elmer Pataki
Declared as a candidate: May 28, 2015
What he does now: He is Of Counsel with Chadbourne and Parke LLC and president of The Pataki-Cahill Group, which he founded to advise companies in the energy, infrastructure, clean-tech and environmental industries.
What he used to do: Pataki began his political career as the mayor of Peekskill, New York located in Westchester County. He was elected to New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate, respectively, and later served three terms as Governor of New York from 1995 to 2006, including during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
In his own words: “Let the next decade be the decade when Americans can have boundless economic growth, while enhancing and preserving the natural environment. Let the next decade be the decade when American proves to the world, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”
Met his wife: Body-surfing in a hurricane. He and Libby have been married for 41 years and have four children and two dogs.
Where he grew up: On the family farm in Peekskill. His father was a postman and volunteer firefighter and his mother was stay-at-home mom. He still enjoys taking care of his yard and planting fruit.
Claim to fame: He has never lost an election for any public office. In fact, he defeated three-term incumbent Mario Cuomo in 1994.
What he did as governor: Fought to ban smoking in public places. New York State passed a law doing just that in 2003. He also cut taxes but was criticized for not delivering on-time budgets.
Academic honors: He attended Yale University (future president George W. Bush was a classmate) on an academic scholarship, completing his degree in three years and serving as the chairman of the Conservative Party of the Yale Political Union. He also hold a law degree from Columbia University.
Guilty pleasures: He has said he is fond of drinking Diet Coke with breakfast.
Biggest disagreement with President Obama: Obamacare, which he has called “the worst law passed in my lifetime.” In 2010 he attempted to create a non-profit organization, Revere America, to advocate the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. It is now defunct.
Linguistic talent: Pataki is of Hungarian descent, and can still speak a small amount of Hungarian, along with Spanish, French and German. Pataki received the Star of the Order of Merit from the Republic of Hungary in 2008 for his work improving Hungarian-American relations.
What sets him apart: Pataki has been called "progressive" on a number of issues. He supports abortion rights, gun control and lowering the cost of college. He is also an environmentalist and helped create and pass the Clean Water/Clean Air Environmental Bond Act in New York State.