Former New York Governor George Pataki (New York) was recently profiled in a Law360 feature detailing his life story — from growing up on a 12-acre farm in Peekskill, New York, to his stint as a Wall Street lawyer, to his political career.
After having worked at Dewey Ballantine, a law firm in New York, Pataki returned to his family's farm. "I like to trust people. I don't like to be cynical," Pataki told Law360. "A lawyer always has to consider the possibility of someone not acting in good faith. Growing up on that farm, that wasn't the way it was."
The profile then noted his initial political successes. "He served as mayor of Peekskill from 1981 to 1984, then spent eight years in the New York State Assembly, followed by two in the New York Senate."
After serving in the state senate, Pataki, a Republican, entered the race to become Governor of New York. "His opponent was the state's political Goliath — three-term Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo," the profile notes. "Not to mention that New York had two million more registered Democrats than Republicans."
The post also detailed one of the greatest achievements of his three-term tenure. "[Pataki] was at the helm in the state's response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — Rudy Giuliani called him a 'total partner' — and played an important role in the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site and building of the 9/11 Memorial."
The profiler then asked the governor about the seeming inconsistency of him having originally left the law because of not trusting people while still having been able to handle New York politics. "It wasn't that hard," he said, "because you know principles you believe in. And other people don't agree with those principles … and you just try to figure out the motivation of people."
Read the complete profile (subscription required).