PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- George Pataki may be a longshot in his run for the Republican nomination but he has the support of his hometown of Peekskill.
Pataki, a Garrison resident who served as governor for three terms and announced his candidacy last week, was born and raised in Peekskill. He was elected mayor in 1981 and was later elected as assemblyman and state senator before ascending to the governor's office in 1994. Pataki now lives in Garrison.
On Sunday, Pataki hosted a rally in Peekskill that drew hundreds of people.
County Legislator John Testa, who also was mayor of Peekskill, said a Pataki presidential run is very exciting.
"He would make a great president," Testa said. "It was wonderful to see him. He has an outstanding record. A number of pundits have said he's the most qualified candidate in the race."
Testa said he hopes the rest of the country gets to learn about Pataki.
"He has a wonderful outlook on this country," Testa said. "He's already moving up in the polls."
As mayor, Testa said Pataki helped turn around the city's bleak financial outlook and brought stability to the city. As governor, Testa said Pataki invested quite a bit in Peekskill.
In Peekskill, Pataki's presidential run has been a hot topic of discussion, Testa said. He said Pataki's story can inspire others in Peekskill.
"It shows that if you work hard and put in a lot of effort, you can accomplish anything," Testa said.
When Testa was mayor and Pataki was governor he said they had a good working relationship.
"When I needed to speak to him about something related to Peekskill, I didn't have to sell it to him," Testa said. "He intimately understood the issues. He knew the background.
Cathy Pisani, a former councilwoman, said she has supported Pataki since he ran for mayor.
"He is a hometown man who has dedicated himself to Peekskill," Pisani said. "He helped quite the city quite a bit."
Pisani said she hopes Peekskill residents support Pataki's run.
"His run has put Peekskill on the map," Pisani said. "He has the leadership experience and his credentials are impeccable."
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