KEENE — Republican former New York Gov. George Pataki today called for term limits and a reform of the Washington culture, calling for a lifetime ban on elected officials lobbying after they leave office.
“I am an optimist,” Pataki told a group at Keene State College in a town hall-style meeting. “There are enormous challenges facing America, but there are no challenges we can’t meet and overcome.”
Pataki, in the first of a two-day visit to the Granite State, appears to be moving toward a candidacy for President after choosing not to run twice in the past. He began the day with a “meet and greet” at the Lebanon Diner in Lebanon, then toured Advance Transit in White River Junction, Vt., and had lunch with Sullivan County Republicans at Village Pizza in Newport. He was headed for an evening appearance at a meeting of the Cheshire County Republican Committee at Kristin’s Bakery in Keene.
On Wednesday, Pataki will visit the Quality Cash Market in Concord and will visit Saint Anselm College in Goffstown to speak with students about the United Nations and terrorism in the post-9/11 world.
Pataki in the 40 minute Keene State meeting focused mostly on domestic issues, but also decried the “hideous, barbaric” murder by ISIS today of a Jordanian pilot by burning him alive. He said President Obama must finally identify the threat accurately – Islamic extremism and terrorism.
Pataki said that while he is optimistic about the future, Americans are hindered because “Washington has become so big and so powerful and so expensive and so intrusive in our lives that it is impeding the natural optimism of the American people. The United State government has to realize that like the American family, we have to live within our means.”
He called for reducing the federal government workforce by as much as 15 percent and for a new culture in Washington, saying, “We have to convince government that it doesn’t know everything and that they should listen to the people instead of talking at them. They need to know that they are in the service of the people and they are not our master.”
Pataki said there are more than 400 lobbyists on Capitol Hill and called for a lifetime ban on congressional lawmakers becoming lobbyists. He also said no House member should serve more than eight years and no senator should serve more than 12 years.
He supports allowing unlimited political contributions but said they should “flow through to” the candidates’ committees and should be publicly reported.
Pataki briefly stepped into the controversy generated by comments by potential GOP competitors over vaccinations, saying, “I thought that was resolved in Valley Force in 1778 when George Washington vaccinated his troops against smallpox.”
He said that he is a Republican who is deeply concerned about the environment and noted that during his 12 years as governor, “we preserved more than 1 million acres of open space” in the Empire State. The federal government, he said, should provide more tax incentives for research and development of clean technologies for “cleaner energy, more energy efficient vehicles and more energy efficient buildings.”
He noted that in 2006, as governor, he signed a bill that prohibits oil companies from preventing gas stations they supply from selling alternative fuels.
Pataki was one of the initial proponents of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative but now opposes it because there are later versions of the plan contained “too many carve-outs” for special interests.
He also called for lowering interest rates on student debt and for cutting corporate taxes, which, he said, “are the worst in the modern world.”
(See our earlier report on Pataki’s visit below.)
Monday, Feb 2:
Pataki gears up: Seven public stops in NH in two days
Republican former New York Gov. George Pataki will have seven public events in two days when he visits the state Tuesday and Wednesday, apparently gearing up for a run for President.
Pataki flirted with the idea of running for President twice in the past, but never launched a candidacy. He has made it clear that this time, he intends to run and that he intends to make New Hampshire a cornerstone state in his campaign.
He visited the state several times last year and again in late January. He had been scheduled to come last week, but had to postpone the visit due to last week’s snowstorm.
Pataki will spend Tuesday in the western part of the state and will even make on stop in Vermont.
He will hold a “meet and greet” at the Lebanon Diner in Lebanon at 10 a.m. At 11 a.m. he will tour Advance Transit, which is based in White River Junction, Vt., but serves New Hampshire and is a New Hampshire-registered nonprofit. The company provides free bus rides to residents of the area.
At 1:30 p.m., Pataki will have lunch with Sullivan County Republicans at Village Pizza in Newport, and at 4:30 p.m. he will hold a town hall meeting at Keene State College, in the Flag Room of the Student Union Building. At 5:30 p.m. he will address a dinner meeting of the Cheshire County Republican Committee at Kristin’s Bakery in Keene.
On Wednesday at 10:25 a.m., Pataki will visit the Quality Cash Market in Concord. And at 4 p.m. he will visit Saint Anselm College in Goffstown to speak with students about the United Nations and terrorism in the post-9/11 world.
Pataki also has several private stops over the next two days, including a meeting with several key Republicans in Concord. While in the state, Pataki will make an appearance on “The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson” on the FOX News Channel at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Also, Pataki adviser Alicia Preston said Pataki will be back in the state on March 17 to appear at the PLUS Company’s annual Wild Irish Breakfast at the Radisson Hotel in Nashua.