As the GOP looks to the future during its state convention on Long Island, the party’s standard bearer for 12 years took a final bow before the Republican faithful Wednesday. NY1’s Michael Scotto filed this report.
To loud applause, Governor George Pataki began his long farewell to nearly 12 years as head of the state.
In an address to Republican Party delegates, the governor touted his record of lowering crime and cutting taxes. But behind his speech and a party in his honor, there was deepening concern among party members that they will lose significant power in November, including the Governor's Mansion.
Pataki believes the candidates running to replace him can win if they remind voters that Republican principles helped turn around the state.
“Lets remind the voters of what the failed policies of the Democratic Party did to our state before, and let’s tell the voters how our policies empower people with the opportunities to have confidence in the future and lead a better life,” said the governor.
The November elections could have a serious impact on Pataki's legacy. His role on many other issues, including the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site, certainly will. And polls have shown that New Yorkers are growing tired of him.
But the governor insisted his work isn't over.
“I’m still your governor, and I’ve got another seven months, starting tomorrow, as your governor, and let me tell you something — I’m not going to stop,” said Pataki.
The leader of the New York State Republican Party said Pataki will be remembered kindly.
“I think the governor has done a great job, and when people have a chance to reflect on George Pataki’s 12 years they’re going to be very respectful of his record,” said state GOP Chairman Steven Minarik.
The governor's next step is likely running for president. How he wraps up his tenure in office will have a huge impact on what is already considered a long-shot bid.
- Michael Scotto