Thursday, July 15, 2021

A chat with Gov. George Pataki

patakiIn mid-May I took a trip up to Willsboro to meet up with former Gov. George Pataki. I wanted to get his take on a few different things happening in the park, one of which you’ll read about in our July/August issue in a story about trash in the Adirondacks.


Pataki and his administration were responsible for working out deals with park municipalities to close any remaining landfills in the park and truck trash outside the Blue Line. Some of those agreements have ended or are about to end. It begs the question, should these agreements continue, or is there another solution for garbage in the park?

The 53rd governor of New York also calls the Adirondacks home. He has a farm in the Champlain Valley, and we talked about some of his favorite things to do here, and what he hopes for the park’s future. You can read our abbreviated Q&A we recently posted on our website.

We met for lunch at the Willsboro Diner. Pretty much everyone inside knew who he was. A couple of men from Queensbury up to the area for a visit toasted their coffees and told him he was the best governor the state ever had. After posting our Q&A, a couple of people wrote me to say they liked much of what the Republican governor did during his administration, even though they are registered Democrats. That’s something Pataki told me he was particularly proud of, how he earned the trust of residents in the Adirondacks, no matter what political party they were. He wouldn’t comment on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s record, but he did discuss how he wants the Republican Party to put forth a gubernatorial candidate that could appeal to both sides of the aisle.

As we wrapped up our interview we discovered Shaun Gillilland was sitting behind us. He is the chairman of the Essex County Board of Supervisors. Pataki and Gillilland talked about a fish ladder on the Boquet River. You can read more about that in my interview, too.

From left, Shaun Gillilland, chairman of the Essex County Board of Supervisors and former Gov. George Pataki have a laugh in the Willsboro Diner in Essex County. Photo by Gwen Craig 

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Gwen’s weekly “Adirondack Report” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

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Gwen is the environmental policy reporter for Adirondack Explorer.




One Response

  1. Vanessa Banti Vanessa B says:

    Meh, already wrote a lot about this one, but just for the engagement!

    I realize and REALLY hope Gwen doesn’t take it personally that I’m a bit of a tough customer here. Not sure how old you are Gwen, but I’ve been allergic to the nostalgia surrounding “bipartisanship” probably for longer than you’ve had a career. I am glad folks appreciate this type of reporting, for legit.

    But I cannot help but be skeptical of a starry-eyed look back into the past when I or anyone else involved in politics knows that it always has been and always will be a dirty, complex contact sport. No one (almost no one) comes out of it as a benign farmer disinterested in the present issues of the day.

    I am utterly unimpressed with this “nice guy” gentle scolding of the Trump wing of the party. The Trump people own your brand, sir. They won it by taking a very, very different tact than yours. Your party will be completely associated with their politics long after you’re dead if a course correction isn’t made, and you’re running out of time to do so. That R next to your name will be the first thing people remember.

    I refuse to believe that anyone who has held as significant an amount of power as he doesn’t understand this. That he wants to come off as a nice guy is a lot more about his concern of his own image, than any political goal whatsoever.

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