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September 24, 2007

Former governor hosts event at Essex farm

Former Gov. Pataki shows support for Treadwell

ESSEX -- A rambling picnic at South Farm with host former Gov. George Pataki decked out in blue jeans brought most of Essex County's Republican politicos together Sunday.

Under stunning blue skies, the gathering was an affable, if not downright neighborly, demonstration of support for Sandy Treadwell, who's running for Congress in 2008 on the Republican ticket.

Surrounded by family and friends, the former governor said the Sunday picnic, complete with barbecued chicken and potato salad, was a way for people to meet and talk with Treadwell.

"As people get to know him, they like him."

Treadwell owns both a home in Lake Placid, part of District 20, and a farm in Westport.

A jovial Pataki invited guests to visit a field of grapes growing up the hill that he said would one day win a gold medal for wine at the Essex County Fair.

The former governor recalled finding the farm he and wife, Libby, bought in 2003 and have since entirely restored.

They first spotted it, he said, as they sailed past the shoreline of Essex on Treadwell's boat.

The Patakis fell in love immediately with the broken-down farm he said was hidden in piles of old manure.

"I've got to have my chickens, and you've (Libby) got to have your sailboat."

A lively sense of old-fashioned farmer's hospitality kept the atmosphere clear of pre-written speeches.

"If there's some lamps you like," Pataki quipped to guests, "just take em."

And he served up a friendly "farmer's challenge," claiming his grape crop is poised to beat Treadwell's vineyards at future fairs.

Surrounded by North Country Republican lawmakers, Pataki said the first thing he did as governor was appoint Treadwell secretary of state, highlighting leadership qualities of integrity and stature.

"We need to change things in Washington," Pataki said.

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