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  • NYS Writers Institute

Video conversation with former Gov. George Pataki

"If we're going to solve the problems of the state and the country, we're going to have to rise above the petty nonsense and move beyond the great divide. We're all in this together."

-- George Pataki

In a video interview with Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl, former New York Gov. George Pataki shares opinions on the state of the nation, politics and the media, his memories of 9/11, his legacy as governor, thoughts on the Covid-19 vaccine, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's handling of the pandemic crisis, and his hope for a more civil America.

Near the end of the interview, you'll hear Gov. Pataki talk warmly about his memories of his dad and growing up on the family farm.

His new book, Beyond the Great Divide: How A Nation Became A Neighborhood, is available at The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza.

From the publisher: "Drawing on Pataki’s memories, notes, crises, and critical events, The Great Divide gives an unprecedented, shocking, heart-pounding inside view into what happened before, during, and after 9/11. The Governor reflects on where our country is today and how we can rebuild a common future and perhaps return to a time when a nation became a neighborhood."

In 1994, Pataki ran for governor against three-term incumbent Mario Cuomo, defeating him by a margin of more than three points as part of the Republican Revolution of 1994. Pataki would himself be elected to three consecutive terms, and was the third Republican governor of New York elected since 1923. As of 2020, Pataki is the most recent Republican to hold any statewide office in New York.

Previously, he served as mayor of his hometown of Peekskill, New York and went on to be elected to the State Assembly and the State Senate.

This is a presentation of Telling the Truth 2020, the New York State Writers Institute's virtual symposium on politics, tribalism, polarization, and the future of democracy. For more information on the symposium, visit


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