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The Rockefeller legacy

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