Former Gov. George Pataki, a Republican, commended Gov. David Paterson for a State of the State speech that “had the right message.”
As for his own political future, Pataki wouldn’t comment. Despite some overtures by national Republicans earlier this year, Pataki is not expected to run for the U.S. Senate against Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. But he has yet to say that officially.
“This is not the day for that,” Pataki said. “This is the State of the State, and that’s what everybody should focus on.
So any decision yet?
“I’m not going to say anything about that today. This is the governor’s day,” he responded.
As for Paterson’s message, Pataki said “We need to make the tough fiscal choices, we need to have ethics reform and we have to face up to the very real economic challenges, and I hope the Legislature is supportive.”
Pataki was the only former governor to attend the speech, and he received praise from Paterson during the speech for his energy initiatives during his time as governor.
Asked how a governor can get along with the Legislature — who he had his own spending battles with during his three terms in office — Pataki said the buck ultimately stops with the governor.
“The governor is ultimately the one who has to make sure the bills are paid and that the budget is balanced. And it’s not as easy as sometimes people in the Legislature might think,” he continued.
“I just hope they understand that it’s in their interest because it’s in the people of the state’s interest to face to up to the tough choices and to make them.”