Former New York Gov. George Pataki said Saturday that he would keep the government’s promise of the Renewable Fuel Standard, changing his stance on the issue since discussing it in Iowa in March.
“It’s quite clear to me that when government tells people, ‘If you do this, we’ll do that,’ government does not just have a moral, but I think it almost has a legal obligation to keep their word,” Pataki said Saturday afternoon in West Des Moines. “People have invested millions and millions of dollars based on the government’s commitment.”
During a town hall on agricultural and rural issues, that will be televised and was sponsored by RFD-TV and Mediacom, Pataki said he is mostly for eliminating exemptions and loopholes in the tax code, but the government needs to keep its promise on the RFS.
“Washington made a commitment to those farmers and those investors,” Pataki said. “We have to keep our word.”
At the 2015 Iowa Agricultural Summit, however, Pataki spoke differently.
“I support ethanol, but I believe we should phase out the RFS,” Pataki said in Des Moines in March.
Along with discussing renewable energy, Pataki on Saturday addressed the decreasing amount of hospitals available in rural areas. While bigger hospitals in urban areas can have specializations and unique equipment, Pataki said there’s still a need for emergency medical services in rural areas.
“We’re seeing community hospitals close and hospital services being shifted to large medical centers,” Pataki said. “It’s bad because it’s risking the health of those rural communities, and in particular, during an emergency.”
Pataki suggested reinvesting in medical services in rural communities. While hospitals in rural areas may not need to focus on issues such as cancer, he said emergency services need to be available in the case of emergencies such as a heart attack.
“We don’t have the emergency facilities anymore because you don’t have the community hospital,” Pataki said. “We have to reinvest in emergency services and care in those local communities.”
ABOUT THE EVENT
SETTING: The Stine Barn in West Des Moines, an opulent event facility.
CROWD: Around 70 invited guests, many of them agriculture leaders.
REACTION: Audience members applauded politely throughout the filmed event.
WHAT’S NEXT: Pataki will be joining other Republicans for the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition dinner in Des Moines on Saturday evening.