Nelson A. Rockefeller (1908-1979) won four terms as governor of New York – longer than any modern governor. He was considered a leader of the liberal to moderate wing of the Republican Party.
His legacy includes:
• The nation’s first abortion rights bill, which he signed in 1970.
• The 98-acre Empire State Plaza housing state government in Albany, built between 1965 and 1976 for $2 billion.
• Expansion of powers of state agencies, including creation of the Department of Environmental Conservation in 1970.
• Transforming the State University of New York into the nation’s biggest public higher education system.
• Attracted major figures like future Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to his inner circle.
• Widespread criticism for his handling of the 1971 riot at Attica Correctional Facility.
• Sought the Republican nomination for president in 1964, when Barry Goldwater won the nomination.
• Served as vice president under President Gerald Ford