Former New York Gov. George Pataki visited Keene State College on Tuesday, Feb. 3 to hold an informal talk with students, faculty and Keene residents.

Pataki began by going around the room and introducing himself to everyone, shaking their hand in the process.

Pataki was the governor of New York for 12 years, spanning the from 1994 to 2006 and “led the state through 9/11 and the aftermath,” according to KSC Republicans President Jesse Stephens.

Pataki began his discussion in the Flag Room of the student center talking about his concerns with the national security of the United States of America.

Pataki referred to the most recent ISIS murder of a Jordanian pilot as, “Another hideous, barbaric act from radical Islamic terrorists who detest everything we believe in, and ultimately want to prevent us from using the freedom we too often take for granted.”

“We are at greater risk of being attacked today than any other time after 9/11,” Pataki added.

One of the problems with our national security is leadership, according to the former governor.

Jake Coughlin / Administrative Executive Editor

Jake Coughlin / Administrative Executive Editor

“You have a president who won’t even acknowledge the existence of radical Islam,” Pataki said. If Pataki was in charge, he said he would rebuild our military rather than shrink it.

“This is the greatest country the world has ever known,” Pataki said, changing the direction of his speech.

According to Pataki, there is a lot to be confident and optimistic about, but Washington should be “drastically restructured” to become smaller and less involved in people’s everyday lives.

According to Pataki, Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, is a major overreach of government.

“Politicians in Washington think the people are too stupid to make their own decisions on healthcare,” he said.

Pataki introduced a number of reforms he would propose if he was in Washington. The first reform had to deal with lobbyists’ involvement in politics.

According to Pataki, there are more than 400 former members of the House and Senate that are registered lobbyists. They spent around $6.7 billion in 2014.

“[If] You serve one day in Congress, I propose there be a lifetime ban on you ever being a lobbyist,” Pataki said.

“This is great for the American people, it’ll apply to all of you, but by the way, it doesn’t apply to us,” Pataki said, mocking the Congressmen that pushed Obamacare into law.

Pataki’s second reform would force all laws and rules Congress passes (like the Affordable Care Act) to also apply to those politicians and their staff too.

The third reform Pataki would propose are term limits for the Senate and House of Representatives.

“We have people serving decade after decade…” Pataki went on, “that is not what American democracy is supposed to be about.” He would propose a six-term limit for members of the House and a two-term limit for members of the Senate.

The fourth reform Pataki would make is related to the budget troubles he said he believes our country has faced under the Obama administration.

“If you don’t do your job, as a general rule, you don’t get paid. But in politics it doesn’t work that way,” he said. The last six years the Senate hasn’t passed a budget.

Pataki would refuse to pay these politicians if they didn’t pass a budget. Sandra Kayira, a KSC student, said she can see Pataki running for president, but not making it past primaries.

“He said some things that I would agree on, but not things I would fully say yes and agree on,” Kayira said. Stephens said she is hopeful more politicians will come visit KSC later in the semester. Frank Guinta and Kelly Ayotte, both New Hampshire Republicans, are hopeful visitors according to Stephens.

“I think he’s [Pataki] a solid candidate. The Republican field is very open, you have several people that could be ‘it,’ but there’s not really one frontrunner,” Stephens said.

Skyler Frazer can be contacted at

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