John Faso

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John Faso
John Faso cropped.jpg
Member of the New York State Assembly
from the 102nd district
In office
Personal details
Born (1952-08-25) August 25, 1952 (age 63)
Long Island, New York
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Mary Frances Faso
Children Nicholas and Margaret
Religion Roman Catholic
Website [1]

John Faso (born August 25, 1952) is an American politician who served as minority leader of the New York State Assembly from 1998 until 2002, representing the 102nd district from 1987 until 2002. He gave up his seat in the Assembly to run for State Comptroller in 2002, losing to Alan Hevesi. Four years later in 2006, he made a run for Governor of New York, but was defeated by Democratic nominee Eliot Spitzer.

He is currently running for U.S. congressman for New York's 19th congressional district.[1]

Early life[edit]

His dad, John Sr. was a small businessman, running a tool rental and television repair store, while his mother Frances stayed at home raised five children. He is of Italian and Irish descent.[2] Faso attended Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens, NY, graduating in 1970. He then graduated from State University of New York at Brockport and earned his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1979.[3]

Political Career[edit]

Faso was a member of the New York State Assembly from 1987 to 2003. In 1996, the National Federation of Independent Businesses named Faso "Guardian of Small Business." In 1997, he was honored by Nelson A Rockefeller College for "Distinguished Public Service."[4] A member of his staff, Peter Lopez, currently represents the district.[5]

In late 1994, Faso served as a member of newly-elected Governor George Pataki's transition team, where he chaired the budget committee and drafted the first draft of Pataki's 1995 state budget proposal that closed a record $5 billion budget deficit.[6] In 1995, Faso became the Ranking Member of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.[7]

His work on the the state budget fueled a run for New York Comptroller in 2002. Initially trailing Democrat Alan Hevesi (then-Comptroller of New York City) by a 20-point margin,[8] Faso lost the election by a 50%-47% margin.

After leaving the Assembly, Faso became a partner in the law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP and was appointed by Pataki to the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority. In this role, Faso worked with other authority commissioners to stabilize Buffalo finances and oversee the management of the city's budget.

2006 Gubernatorial Campaign[edit]

In 2005, Faso announced his intention to run for governor. He positioned himself early as a conservative upstate candidate, while stressing his childhood roots in Long Island. He originally faced former Massachusetts Governor William Weld, former Secretary of State Randy Daniels, and Assemblyman Patrick Manning. Daniels and Manning both dropped out and Faso became the main opposition to Weld. His campaign was managed by Bill O'Reilly.

Weld reportedly offered Faso the chance to join his ticket as a candidate for lieutenant governor, an offer Faso reportedly declined.[9] Faso gained increasing support from party leaders in various counties, including Westchester and Suffolk, both of which had large delegate counts to the state convention.

In late May 2006, Faso received the nomination of the Conservative Party for governor, while Weld received the Libertarian Party's nomination,[10] guaranteeing them both a spot on the November ballot. Faso pledged to continue running for governor on the Conservative line if he lost the Republican primary to Weld.[11] On the day he received the Conservative nomination, Faso announced his selection of Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef as his running mate for lieutenant governor.[12]

Faso and Governor George Pataki attend the 2006 NY State Fair.

On June 1, 2006, the Republican State Convention voted 61% to 39% to endorse Faso. By achieving over 50 percent of the vote, Faso was the designated Republican Party candidate in the September primary against Weld, but Weld still had enough to force a primary. As the Washington Post put it, "now it turns out whoever loses the GOP primary will stay in the race -- in a position likely to siphon votes from the Republican nominee." [13] For this reason, Weld was under tremendous pressure to drop out of the race. On June 5, Stephen J. Minarik, the chairman of the state Republican Party, who had been Weld's most prominent backer, called on Weld to withdraw in the interest of party unity.[14] Weld formally announced his withdrawal from the race, and his support of Faso, the following day.[15]

Faso said his top priority upon taking office would be to propose a tax cut for New York families. He said "Eliot Spitzer's problem is that he has allied with the big-government special interests who have already placed their bets with millions and millions of dollars in his campaign.".[16] He outlined plans for Medicaid, workers' compensation and tax reform.

Faso was the original sponsor of charter school legislation and was a leading figure in the passage of Governor Pataki's proposal to create charter schools in New York State in 1998. He supported expanding the current cap on charter schools.

Vastly outspent, Faso was swamped by Democratic nominee Eliot Spitzer, who attained 69% of the vote.

Interestingly, both candidates to whom Faso lost statewide elections, Eliot Spitzer and Alan Hevesi, were forced to resign their offices in personal and legal scandal.[17]

2016 Congressional campaign[edit]

On September 14, 2015, Faso announced he will be running for New York's 19th congressional district in the 2016 election.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Faso is a partner in the national law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. He is also a board member of the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority, on which he has served since 2003. He lives in the Columbia County Village of Kinderhook with his wife and their two children. He is a Roman Catholic.[2]


  1. ^ New York Gets Another Chance to Listen to John Faso
  2. ^ a b Healy, Patrick (October 18, 2006). "An Ill-Timed Candidate Believes His Time Is Now". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 3, 2014. 
  3. ^ Herszenhorn, David M. "In the Race for Governor, a Big Divide on School Aid", The New York Times, November 2, 2006. Accessed December 6, 2007. "Mr. Faso, whose father worked as a janitor in the Catholic grammar school that he attended on Long Island, went on to Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens and the State University of New York at Brockport."
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Peter D. Lopez", Hispanic Coalition of New York, Inc., 2011, accessed 30 December 2014
  6. ^ "Faso to head Pataki budget team". News Bank. November 21, 1994. 
  7. ^ Dao, James (June 5, 1995). "More Budget Battles; This Year's Fiscal Fight Is Over in Albany But Squabbling May Be Worse Next Year". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved April 3, 2010. 
  8. ^ Now it's 'real race' for controller seat. As gap closes, Faso & Hevesi get nasty
  9. ^ Healy, Patrick (June 1, 2006). "Weld-Faso? Faso-Weld? The Kingmaker From Nassau Holds the Cards". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 3, 2014. Retrieved April 3, 2010. 
  10. ^ Hammer of Truth
  11. ^ Healy, Patrick (May 24, 2006). "Conservative Party Endorses Faso for Governor, Setting Up a Political Fight in G.O.P.". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 3, 2014. Retrieved April 3, 2010. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Edsall, Thomas B. (May 29, 2006). "Another Stumble for Ralph Reed's Beleaguered Campaign". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 3, 2010. 
  14. ^ Healy, Patrick (June 5, 2006). "G.O.P. Chief in N.Y. Urges Weld to Quit Governor's Race". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 13, 2012. Retrieved April 3, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Former Mass. Gov. Weld drops out of New York race". The Washington Post. June 6, 2006. Retrieved April 3, 2010. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Clinton, Spitzer, Cuomo lead Democratic sweep". USA Today. November 8, 2006. Retrieved July 9, 2008. 
  18. ^ [ John Faso to kick off congressional campaign]
New York Assembly
Preceded by
Clarence D. Lane
New York State Assembly
102nd District

Succeeded by
Joel M. Miller
Preceded by
Thomas M. Reynolds
Minority Leader in the New York State Assembly
Succeeded by
Charles H. Nesbitt
Party political offices
Preceded by
Bruce Blakeman
Republican nominee for New York State Comptroller
Succeeded by
Christopher Callaghan
Preceded by
George Pataki
Republican nominee for Governor of New York
Succeeded by
Carl Paladino