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Name: George Greene

Age: 65

Gender: Male

Race/Ethnicity: Caucasian, 3rd generation American, English descent

Profession: Politician


Personal Traits. Skills, Abilities and Characteristics:
Persuasive orator, unflappably calm, talented in law and a skilled writer and rhetorician; a consummate politician

Biography (ca. 1921):
George Greene was born to an American mother and English father in Brooklyn, New York but the family moved to Rochester in 1859 when George was but a child. His father was a very successful barrister and his mother, born into a wealthy family, was a socialite known for her philanthropy and charity drives to ease the plight of poor children. Young George idolized his parents and wished in every way to please them.

Greene attended the University of Rochester and studied all manner of things in preparation for a career in law. He had a restless soul and tried his hand at painting, poetry, and theater before settling into his legal career. While his admiration for his father's accomplishments never diminished, Greene chafed at the inefficiencies and minor corruptions within the legal system, and he considered returning to school to study medicine before he became utterly swept up in what would become known as the Progressive Movement.

Greene threw himself into local politics in his 30s and found that he had no problem turning people's ears. He found campaigning to be a crass but necessary evil, preferring himself to hold appointed offices rather than elected ones. His passion was urban invigoration, including finding ways to provide for the working class citizens of Rochester to become entrepreneurs. During the late 1890s he became infatuated with machines and engineering and, later, he tried unsuccessfully to gain funding to build an automobile factory with the intent of rivaling Henry Ford. Greene saw Ford's assembly line approach to manufacturing to be soulless and demeaning for the common worker, who should be encouraged to express his artistic nature.

In a combination of a stroke of genius and fortunate timing, Greene stumbled onto a perfect blend of artistry, technology, and the spirit of modernization in a social project he dubbed "the New Steam Society." Announced with little fanfare, the project garnered little attention but Greene dedicated his waking hours to working his family's extensive political connections, managing to acquire significant funds from the federal government, which he then convinced Rochester captains of industry George Eastman, Henry Lomb, and John Jacob Bausch, among others to match funds in what became a kind of philanthropic arms race, each millionaire trying to outgift the others. Already comfortably wealthy himself, Greene plowed the money into a number of social works, all of which dramatically impacted the city of Rochester.

The most notable project was the construction of the Rochester Pneumatic Transportation System (RPTS), the construction of which began in 1916 and was completed in 1919, though expansions and improvements to the main line lasted well into the 1920s. The one-of-a-kind underground train system ran by pneumatic tubes, and was hailed as an engineering marvel around the world for demonstrating that new technologies could be put to better use than slaughtering young men in the Great War. The train cars were noted for their craftsmanship, decked out in brass, copper, and varnished wood, reinforcing the city's slogan that "Rochester Made Means Quality.'

He was also responsible for courting European tinkers and engineers wishing the flee the war and the crippled economies of their homelands to relocate to Rochester. Successful applicants for Greene's funding received paid passage to the United States, one year's lodging rent free, and a small monthly stipend to get settled. While these amenities were modest, the real enticement came through grants offered through the New Steam Society, some of the larger ones reaching six figure sums. The plan worked, and overnight Rochester became a mecca for makers of all kinds of technologies, from anonymous amateurs to world famous engineers.

Though known only to his close friends and family, Greene is somewhat flummoxed by the enormous success of the New Steam Society and is uncomfortable that it so quickly grew beyond his control and he presides over it in name only. He is particularly vexed by the communities of the Rochester Underground that sprung up in the vicinity of the RPTS, which he fears lean too heavily toward radical, as opposed to Progressive, politics. He now spends most of his days frustrated with administering the bureaucratic quagmire he inadvertently created. The grant process is rumored among some to be wholly corrupt, a patronage system not dissimilar to the way Republican mayor George "Boss" Aldridge kept a firm grip on the city. While Greene vehemently denies these charges, he recognizes that the potential for such corruption exists within the byzantine processing of applications.

He also feels aggrieved that his life's work also interrupts his family life, something he took for granted for many years. While he could not be claimed to neglect his wife Agatha and their children, he was often absent due to the grueling schedule he set for himself. He was deeply shaken by his son Joseph's experience of fighting the Great War, and somehow feels responsible for the injuries he sustained in combat. Now he dotes on the young man, showering him with gifts and money, and he will do his best to drop his work to spend time with his son.