STATE Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. https://www.gothamgazette.com/state 2022-06-29T00:32:45+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com Joomla! - Open Source Content Management Supreme Court Rulings Put Gun Control and Abortion at Center of New York Elections 2022-06-27T13:00:00+00:00 2022-06-27T13:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11413-supreme-court-gun-control-abortion-new-york-election Samar Khurshid samarkhurshid@gmail.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/8-supreme-court2.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>A rally in support of abortion rights (photo: Mike Groll/Governor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>The U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority issued two major rulings this past week, overturning Roe v. Wade federal abortion rights and striking down a New York State law that limited the concealed carrying of firearms. Both judgements have sprawling national implications, including as this year’s elections will decide control of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, with several swing races here in New York.</p> <p>The decisions have also brought abortion rights and gun control to the forefront in the middle of a state election where Republicans are trying to win the New York governor’s office for the first time in 20 years and the state’s first female governor, Kathy Hochul, is attempting to win her first full term in the position.</p> <p>The decisions from the court, both of which were 6-3 rulings, came back to back this week, predictably prompting widespread outrage from Democrats and celebration from Republicans — though some in the New York GOP appear to acknowledge that the rulings will likely hurt their party in this state dominated by Democrats and where Republicans are outnumbered by independents, who favor abortion rights and gun regulations by wide margins.</p> <p>First, on Thursday, the court scrapped a state law that required individuals to show "proper cause" in order to get a license to carry a gun outside their homes. The justices ruled that the law violated the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Several other states including New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, and California have similar laws that are likely to face legal challenges as a result.</p> <p>Governor Kathy Hochul and the state Legislature are already working to shore up the state’s law in response, with the governor calling a special session for June 30 (two days after primary election day in statewide races) “to pass new gun safety legislation in response to the United States Supreme Court's decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen."</p> <p>Following that ruling, in a rejection of a nearly 50-year precedent issued Friday, the court nullified Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed the federal constitutional right to abortion. New York will continue to guarantee abortion rights under the Reproductive Health Act of 2019, which codified the protections of Roe v. Wade into state law, as well as a number of other laws and budgetary actions meant to ensure reproductive rights and health care. But in 11 states, abortions have <a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/06/24/1107126432/abortion-bans-supreme-court-roe-v-wade">immediately</a> become illegal, while a dozen other states have passed laws that will soon take effect.</p> <p>The decisions could shake up the gubernatorial election that has so far been largely focused on crime and the economy. It's unclear if a shift could happen in this month’s party primaries, with early voting already underway, but both decisions have given Hochul especially additional leverage in appealing to base Democratic voters -- she has already been airing ads touting her work on both subjects, though her primary opponents have criticized her past conservative record on guns.</p> <p>On the Republican side, four candidates are seeking the nomination for governor: U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (the frontrunner with the state GOP’s endorsement), former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, businessman Harry Wilson, and former Trump White House aide Andrew Giuliani. All four are opposed to the state’s strict gun regulations and all except Wilson are opposed to abortion. As expected, Zeldin, Giuliani, and Astorino lauded the Supreme Court’s Roe ruling on Friday.</p> <p>Giuliani said the decision was “a victory for states’ rights but more importantly, the sanctity of life.” </p> <p>Zeldin said, “Today is a victory for life, for family, for the constitution, and for federalism.”</p> <p>In the Democratic primary, Hochul is competing with U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. In recent months, as the repeal of Roe was on the horizon given a leaked majority draft opinion, Hochul signed into law several new laws extending abortion protections and contraceptive access, as well as a raft of gun control measures in the wake of the racist mass shooting in Buffalo. All three Democrats lambasted Friday’s ruling.</p> <p>“They just set women back in this country, back to the dark ages,” Hochul said.</p> <p>“American women today will have less freedom than their mothers,” said Suozzi. </p> <p>“People will die because of today’s decision,” said Williams in a statement. “People have and will always seek abortions, and criminalizing them, making services inaccessible, only makes them more dangerous.”</p> <p>Public polling shows that Hochul and Zeldin are favored to win their respective primaries, but turnout is difficult to predict and the polling may not be particularly reliable.</p> <p>Republicans have been hopeful this year that they might finally be victorious after 20 years of successive Democratic governors by emphasizing rising crime and focusing on pocketbook issues, a strategy that has won them several recent local races across the state. But with abortion rights and gun control taking center stage, more New York voters may gravitate towards the Democratic Party in the November general election.</p> <p>“If we went back to February and March, the perception was that this election here in New York would be driven by the voters’ perceptions on rising crime and rising inflation,” said Bruce Gyory, an election expert and Democratic strategist. “Now all of a sudden you have very controversial issues in play, you have the Roe v. Wade issue, you have the guns issue.”  </p> <p>“I think the net effect of all these issues is, it will help Hochul position herself in the primary because it puts her front and center on issues that are remarkably uncontroversial within the Democratic Party,” he added. Those issues also draw independents, he said, who will be able to vote in the general election but not in the closed primaries. “This could fortify Hochul and make whoever wins the Republican primary have a more difficult path,” Gyory said.</p> <p>The Supreme Court’s ruling and Republican ideology are increasingly out of step with the public, nationwide and particularly in New York. A <a href="https://scri.siena.edu/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/SNY0622-Crosstabs.pdf">Siena College poll released</a> June 13 found that a majority of New Yorkers support new gun controls and enhancing abortion protections.</p> <p>The poll respondents said 76-14% that requiring a permit to acquire a semiautomatic rifle that includes being 21, passing a background check, and taking a safety course would be good for New York as opposed to bad for the state; 58-24% favored outlawing armored vests, except for law enforcement and first responders; and by a margin if 63-19% were in support of stronger legal protections for people seeking or performing abortions in the state.</p> <p>Nationally, a majority of Americans also <a href="https://news.gallup.com/poll/1576/abortion.aspx">support</a> the right to abortion and gun controls, and those numbers have trended upwards for years.</p> <p>“It's going to be in the hands of voters – not pundits, like me not, not the candidates themselves – what issues voters prioritize,” Gyory said. “The summer months between the Fourth of July and Labor Day tend to be the kiln into which the soft clay of voters' priorities become hardened and and we'll see where we are going into Labor Day and coming out on Labor Day on these issues.”</p> <p>Predictably, Democratic support for abortion rights and gun control is stronger than with Republicans and independents, but the opinions of the latter group is particularly meaningful for the general election in statewide races, among others. In the Siena poll, 83% of Democrats support strong permit requirements for semiautomatic rifles, compared to 67% of Republicans and 73% of independents. Among Democrats, 77% supported expanding abortion protections, while only 44% of Republicans and 52% of independents felt the same.</p> <p>But on simply upholding Roe v. Wade, the poll taken earlier in the month it was overturned showed New Yorkers in favor by 60-24%, with Democrats at 73-16% in favor of the Supreme Court upholding the precedent, Republicans at 41-39% to uphold, and independents at 57-25% uphold Roe.</p> <p>Besides the Governor’s race, Republicans are also hoping to make gains in the State Senate and in the House of Representatives, where Democrats’ are fighting to hold on to their slim national majority. There are a series of key races in New York — including tossups in Districts 3, 18, 19, 22, and New York City’s district 11, where Democrat Max Rose is attempting to unseat Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis and regain the seat he held for one term before she beat him in 2020. In such swing districts, Republican candidates, including incumbents, will likely face a barrage of criticism for their votes on abortion and gun control.</p> <p>Some Republicans have been transparent that they in part came to a bipartisan congressional agreement on newly-enshrined gun safety measures because of the strong support for such steps among suburban voters, many of whom tend to be swing voters. Republicans have made no such movement on abortion, however.</p> <p>The New York State Democratic Party is already using the Republicans’ positions against them, particularly with Zeldin and Giuliani.</p> <p>“Zeldin and Giuliani continued utilizing the Trump playbook, promoting far-right conspiracy theories, attacking abortion rights, and pushing a dangerous, pro-gun agenda,” the party said in a press release after the third Republican debate. “With their final pitch to right-wing voters, both candidates assured viewers they would pursue dangerous policies that would drag New York backward.”</p> <p>Among New York Democrats, there is already a push to further expand abortion rights by passing an Equality Amendment to the state constitution, which would have to be approved in two successive sessions of the Legislature and then be put to a ballot referendum. However, in this year's legislative session, the Legislature could not come to an agreement on the language of the amendment and it <a href="https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/ny-state-of-politics/2022/06/02/equality-amendment-won-t-get-vote-in-new-york-legislature-">did not receive a vote</a>. It does not appear to be on the agenda for the special session Hochul has called for June 30 to deal with gun laws.</p> <p>In a statement, New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Donna Lieberman, said of the Supreme Court decision, “This is an attack on women and anyone in need of abortion care. This is a full-scale assault on pregnant people, their health care providers, and their support systems. This is a racial, gender and economic justice catastrophe.”</p> <p>She called on the governor to immediately convene a special session of the Legislature to pass the Equality Amendment. “Failing to pass these critical measures this summer is unconscionable – we must protect abortion care and ensure that anyone needing care can get it right here in New York.” she said.</p> <p>Some New York Republicans appear to be anticipating the Democratic push to expand abortion rights and to center the issue for this year’s elections. State Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt noted in a statement that the Supreme Court’s decision returns the issue of reproductive rights to the states and will have no effect on New York’s law.</p> <p>“Despite this reality, Albany politicians will sadly use this ruling to fear-monger and weaponize this issue for their own political gain,” he said. “They will also attempt to expand abortion laws even further, forcing taxpayers to fund abortions, including late term abortions, for non-New Yorkers.”</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, senior reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/8-supreme-court2.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>A rally in support of abortion rights (photo: Mike Groll/Governor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>The U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority issued two major rulings this past week, overturning Roe v. Wade federal abortion rights and striking down a New York State law that limited the concealed carrying of firearms. Both judgements have sprawling national implications, including as this year’s elections will decide control of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, with several swing races here in New York.</p> <p>The decisions have also brought abortion rights and gun control to the forefront in the middle of a state election where Republicans are trying to win the New York governor’s office for the first time in 20 years and the state’s first female governor, Kathy Hochul, is attempting to win her first full term in the position.</p> <p>The decisions from the court, both of which were 6-3 rulings, came back to back this week, predictably prompting widespread outrage from Democrats and celebration from Republicans — though some in the New York GOP appear to acknowledge that the rulings will likely hurt their party in this state dominated by Democrats and where Republicans are outnumbered by independents, who favor abortion rights and gun regulations by wide margins.</p> <p>First, on Thursday, the court scrapped a state law that required individuals to show "proper cause" in order to get a license to carry a gun outside their homes. The justices ruled that the law violated the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Several other states including New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, and California have similar laws that are likely to face legal challenges as a result.</p> <p>Governor Kathy Hochul and the state Legislature are already working to shore up the state’s law in response, with the governor calling a special session for June 30 (two days after primary election day in statewide races) “to pass new gun safety legislation in response to the United States Supreme Court's decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen."</p> <p>Following that ruling, in a rejection of a nearly 50-year precedent issued Friday, the court nullified Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed the federal constitutional right to abortion. New York will continue to guarantee abortion rights under the Reproductive Health Act of 2019, which codified the protections of Roe v. Wade into state law, as well as a number of other laws and budgetary actions meant to ensure reproductive rights and health care. But in 11 states, abortions have <a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/06/24/1107126432/abortion-bans-supreme-court-roe-v-wade">immediately</a> become illegal, while a dozen other states have passed laws that will soon take effect.</p> <p>The decisions could shake up the gubernatorial election that has so far been largely focused on crime and the economy. It's unclear if a shift could happen in this month’s party primaries, with early voting already underway, but both decisions have given Hochul especially additional leverage in appealing to base Democratic voters -- she has already been airing ads touting her work on both subjects, though her primary opponents have criticized her past conservative record on guns.</p> <p>On the Republican side, four candidates are seeking the nomination for governor: U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (the frontrunner with the state GOP’s endorsement), former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, businessman Harry Wilson, and former Trump White House aide Andrew Giuliani. All four are opposed to the state’s strict gun regulations and all except Wilson are opposed to abortion. As expected, Zeldin, Giuliani, and Astorino lauded the Supreme Court’s Roe ruling on Friday.</p> <p>Giuliani said the decision was “a victory for states’ rights but more importantly, the sanctity of life.” </p> <p>Zeldin said, “Today is a victory for life, for family, for the constitution, and for federalism.”</p> <p>In the Democratic primary, Hochul is competing with U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. In recent months, as the repeal of Roe was on the horizon given a leaked majority draft opinion, Hochul signed into law several new laws extending abortion protections and contraceptive access, as well as a raft of gun control measures in the wake of the racist mass shooting in Buffalo. All three Democrats lambasted Friday’s ruling.</p> <p>“They just set women back in this country, back to the dark ages,” Hochul said.</p> <p>“American women today will have less freedom than their mothers,” said Suozzi. </p> <p>“People will die because of today’s decision,” said Williams in a statement. “People have and will always seek abortions, and criminalizing them, making services inaccessible, only makes them more dangerous.”</p> <p>Public polling shows that Hochul and Zeldin are favored to win their respective primaries, but turnout is difficult to predict and the polling may not be particularly reliable.</p> <p>Republicans have been hopeful this year that they might finally be victorious after 20 years of successive Democratic governors by emphasizing rising crime and focusing on pocketbook issues, a strategy that has won them several recent local races across the state. But with abortion rights and gun control taking center stage, more New York voters may gravitate towards the Democratic Party in the November general election.</p> <p>“If we went back to February and March, the perception was that this election here in New York would be driven by the voters’ perceptions on rising crime and rising inflation,” said Bruce Gyory, an election expert and Democratic strategist. “Now all of a sudden you have very controversial issues in play, you have the Roe v. Wade issue, you have the guns issue.”  </p> <p>“I think the net effect of all these issues is, it will help Hochul position herself in the primary because it puts her front and center on issues that are remarkably uncontroversial within the Democratic Party,” he added. Those issues also draw independents, he said, who will be able to vote in the general election but not in the closed primaries. “This could fortify Hochul and make whoever wins the Republican primary have a more difficult path,” Gyory said.</p> <p>The Supreme Court’s ruling and Republican ideology are increasingly out of step with the public, nationwide and particularly in New York. A <a href="https://scri.siena.edu/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/SNY0622-Crosstabs.pdf">Siena College poll released</a> June 13 found that a majority of New Yorkers support new gun controls and enhancing abortion protections.</p> <p>The poll respondents said 76-14% that requiring a permit to acquire a semiautomatic rifle that includes being 21, passing a background check, and taking a safety course would be good for New York as opposed to bad for the state; 58-24% favored outlawing armored vests, except for law enforcement and first responders; and by a margin if 63-19% were in support of stronger legal protections for people seeking or performing abortions in the state.</p> <p>Nationally, a majority of Americans also <a href="https://news.gallup.com/poll/1576/abortion.aspx">support</a> the right to abortion and gun controls, and those numbers have trended upwards for years.</p> <p>“It's going to be in the hands of voters – not pundits, like me not, not the candidates themselves – what issues voters prioritize,” Gyory said. “The summer months between the Fourth of July and Labor Day tend to be the kiln into which the soft clay of voters' priorities become hardened and and we'll see where we are going into Labor Day and coming out on Labor Day on these issues.”</p> <p>Predictably, Democratic support for abortion rights and gun control is stronger than with Republicans and independents, but the opinions of the latter group is particularly meaningful for the general election in statewide races, among others. In the Siena poll, 83% of Democrats support strong permit requirements for semiautomatic rifles, compared to 67% of Republicans and 73% of independents. Among Democrats, 77% supported expanding abortion protections, while only 44% of Republicans and 52% of independents felt the same.</p> <p>But on simply upholding Roe v. Wade, the poll taken earlier in the month it was overturned showed New Yorkers in favor by 60-24%, with Democrats at 73-16% in favor of the Supreme Court upholding the precedent, Republicans at 41-39% to uphold, and independents at 57-25% uphold Roe.</p> <p>Besides the Governor’s race, Republicans are also hoping to make gains in the State Senate and in the House of Representatives, where Democrats’ are fighting to hold on to their slim national majority. There are a series of key races in New York — including tossups in Districts 3, 18, 19, 22, and New York City’s district 11, where Democrat Max Rose is attempting to unseat Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis and regain the seat he held for one term before she beat him in 2020. In such swing districts, Republican candidates, including incumbents, will likely face a barrage of criticism for their votes on abortion and gun control.</p> <p>Some Republicans have been transparent that they in part came to a bipartisan congressional agreement on newly-enshrined gun safety measures because of the strong support for such steps among suburban voters, many of whom tend to be swing voters. Republicans have made no such movement on abortion, however.</p> <p>The New York State Democratic Party is already using the Republicans’ positions against them, particularly with Zeldin and Giuliani.</p> <p>“Zeldin and Giuliani continued utilizing the Trump playbook, promoting far-right conspiracy theories, attacking abortion rights, and pushing a dangerous, pro-gun agenda,” the party said in a press release after the third Republican debate. “With their final pitch to right-wing voters, both candidates assured viewers they would pursue dangerous policies that would drag New York backward.”</p> <p>Among New York Democrats, there is already a push to further expand abortion rights by passing an Equality Amendment to the state constitution, which would have to be approved in two successive sessions of the Legislature and then be put to a ballot referendum. However, in this year's legislative session, the Legislature could not come to an agreement on the language of the amendment and it <a href="https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/ny-state-of-politics/2022/06/02/equality-amendment-won-t-get-vote-in-new-york-legislature-">did not receive a vote</a>. It does not appear to be on the agenda for the special session Hochul has called for June 30 to deal with gun laws.</p> <p>In a statement, New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Donna Lieberman, said of the Supreme Court decision, “This is an attack on women and anyone in need of abortion care. This is a full-scale assault on pregnant people, their health care providers, and their support systems. This is a racial, gender and economic justice catastrophe.”</p> <p>She called on the governor to immediately convene a special session of the Legislature to pass the Equality Amendment. “Failing to pass these critical measures this summer is unconscionable – we must protect abortion care and ensure that anyone needing care can get it right here in New York.” she said.</p> <p>Some New York Republicans appear to be anticipating the Democratic push to expand abortion rights and to center the issue for this year’s elections. State Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt noted in a statement that the Supreme Court’s decision returns the issue of reproductive rights to the states and will have no effect on New York’s law.</p> <p>“Despite this reality, Albany politicians will sadly use this ruling to fear-monger and weaponize this issue for their own political gain,” he said. “They will also attempt to expand abortion laws even further, forcing taxpayers to fund abortions, including late term abortions, for non-New Yorkers.”</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, senior reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
What is Jumaane Williams' Gubernatorial Campaign Platform? 2022-06-27T15:00:00+00:00 2022-06-27T15:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11390-jumaane-williams-governor-campaign-platform Lindsay Shachnow lshachnow@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/4-what-jum.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Jumaane Williams (photo: @JumaaneWilliams)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Jumaane Williams is running alone in the left lane of the Democratic primary for governor, with voting set to conclude on Tuesday, June 28.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams, the New York City public advocate, is facing Governor Kathy Hochul, who is seeking her first elected term as the state’s chief executive, and Rep. Tom Suozzi of Long Island.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A former City Council member from Brooklyn, Williams has long called himself an “activist elected official’ and has had a significant focus on the issues of housing, police reform, and public safety. Those issues, along with others like jobs, remain at the top of his gubernatorial campaign agenda, in which he has a robust housing plan, pledges to pass several high-profile but stalled progressive legislative priorities, and calls for raising taxes on the wealthy to help pay for his progressive agenda with more investments in health care, climate action, community development, and affordable housing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams argues his work as public advocate and prior, and his status as the “</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">only candidate by and for the working people of New York” in the gubernatorial primary make him uniquely qualified to lead the state.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As public advocate since early 2019, Williams has passed more legislation than anyone else who has held the position.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I have shown up time and time again…I will show up again once more as governor,” Williams said in a televised Democratic primary debate on June 2.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">“While we want to normalize our lives, we don't want to go back to where we were.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams says his health struggles and experience as a first generation New Yorker and public school graduate have helped him to better understand the communities he serves. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome and ADHD as a teenager, and said he hopes his visibility through his work in public service inspires young people.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“My tourettes has never defined me, but it has represented a truth about my life and my work,” he said in a campaign ad. “I’m always moving.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As part of his activism, Williams is known for being in the streets protesting, including getting arrested when advocating for or against certain policies. “An activist elected official must stand up to power, and take to the streets when needed,” Williams said in a campaign ad.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams challenged Hochul for Lieutenant Governor in 2018, putting forth a strong showing but losing by seven percentage points while spending far less money. He had planned to challenge former Governor Andrew Cuomo in this year’s election, but Cuomo resigned in August of last year and was replaced by Hochul.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We did the right thing to get rid of Governor Cuomo but the Hochul administration is moving us in a worse direction,” Williams said at a May campaign rally. “New Yorkers feel it.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This year, Williams again has endorsements from many progressive elected officials and groups, including New York City Comptroller Brad Lander and Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, the Working Families Party, Make the Road New York Action, and the Sunrise Movement NYC, among others. He is running with lieutenant governor candidate Ana Maria Archila, a long time advocate and activist who has founded and run two nonprofits focused on immigrant rights and economic equality. Notably, several influential progressives, like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have endorsed Archila but not Williams. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams regularly highlights the three pillars of his current campaign: public safety, housing, and the economy, including during two debates against Hochul and Suozzi, and one debate with Suozzi that Hochul declined to attend, as well as </span><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11402-max-politics-podcast-jumaane-williams-democratic-primary-governor" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">interviews about his campaign</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">That campaign has struggled to raise money to come anywhere close to keeping up with Hochul’s massive war chest and polls show the current governor in strong position to win the nomination as she seeks her first full term in the position. But </span><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11402-max-politics-podcast-jumaane-williams-democratic-primary-governor"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams says</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> he regularly outperforms polling and his message is being well-received around the state.</span></p> <p><b>Public Safety</b><b><br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams’ vision for New York includes a </span><a href="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5b5377a38f513009cb07a0ff/t/6242afd8d337004c16add5dc/1648537560848/Public+Safety+Agenda+2022.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">ten-point public safety plan</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to invest in violence prevention and victim services, create trauma response teams, and strengthen the state’s mental health programs. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Public safety is a huge issue for me…The way we truly get to public safety is dealing with some of the structural issues that existed for quite some time,” Williams </span><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/10902-max-politics-podcast-jumaane-williams-reelected-public-advocate-run-governor" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">said in a November 2021 interview with Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, just ahead of announcing his run for governor. “If you spend more money, resources and attention on dealing with the thing after it happens, you have already missed an important point, and you probably have failed.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Having served as </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Co-Chair of the City Council’s Task Force to Combat Gun Violence, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams plans to improve housing and job infrastructure in areas with high gun violence and combat the proliferation of guns by demanding financial accountability for gun </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">manufacturers and lobbyists. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Every illegal gun is legal at some point,” he said in an interview with The New York Times. “You combine that with access low to mental health, increase in homelessness, increase in food insecurity and a whole bunch of other issues…We have been trying to attack those things all at once. Trying to get more than just police services.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams called for the state to put $1 billion of its $220 billion budget toward community anti-violence measures, and throughout the final months of the campaign has criticized Hochul for coming up far short of that number. While he does not use the “defund the police” slogan and </span><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11402-max-politics-podcast-jumaane-williams-democratic-primary-governor" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">has said it is the wrong messaging (he prefers a more positive vision but has said it’s wrong for elected officials to try to tell activists what slogans to use)</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, he does want to move resources away from policing and incarceration and into preventative measures. That includes ensuring housing, jobs, and health care for everyone, as well as more investment in the violence interrupter programs he has supported for many years, beginning in Brooklyn.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams would also invest in care for drug users by ending the criminalization of low level drug offenses and providing harm reduction services and medication-assisted treatment; he supports a statewide expansion of New York City’s first two safe injection sites.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As governor, Williams says he would defend bail reforms (he has opposed the rollbacks to 2019 bail reforms of the past two years) and institute parole reforms to allow more people to be released from prison after serving long sentences. He promises to fight against mass incarceration by emphasizing </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">rehabilitation and well-being in correctional facilities and </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">expanding alternative detention programs that aim to deliver more targeted services to address people’s specific needs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He would reform New York’s police department, mobilizing social workers and other trained professionals to </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">respond instead of the police in certain circumstances, including situations involving homelessness and mental health.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We make sure all the tools are there so that we can pull back the tool of law enforcement and still be able to put the type of safety in place that we know we can,” </span><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/10902-max-politics-podcast-jumaane-williams-reelected-public-advocate-run-governor" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">he said in the November Max Politics interview</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span></p> <p><b>Housing<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Along with police reform and public safety, Williams’ other main focus of his professional career has been housing. He was </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">executive director of New York State Tenants &amp; Neighbors before being elected to the City Council and then he chaired the Council’s Housing and Buildings Committee. He is now offering a </span><a href="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5b5377a38f513009cb07a0ff/t/623483481779cd14fec901d9/1647608648337/Housing+Platform+%281%29.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Housing for All”</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> plan as he runs for governor.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams pledges to create </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">1 million carbon-neutral affordable housing units along with good paying jobs that would come from the construction.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">By reimagining the way the Empire State Development and New York State Urban Development Corporation operate, Williams would ensure that they partner with non-profits instead of large real estate developers, securing affordable housing for the long-term by better leveraging state subsidies, he says. Williams’ “housing for the social good” model demands that public land be used for public benefit, and prevents its sale to private for-profit corporations. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">More affordable housing would be made available across the state, Williams promises, in urban, suburban, and rural communities, and provided to New Yorkers from various income levels, with tenants paying according to their ability to do so, and those with more means helping to subsidize those with fewer.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams would offer foreclosure relief and prioritize expanding tenants’ rights by empowering them to form unions and providing the universal right to counsel for tenants facing eviction. He aims to implement statewide revolving loan funds for first-time home-buyers and expand cooperative housing models.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams also promises property tax reform, cutting property taxes for the working and middle class and increasing them on the wealthy.</span></p> <p><b>Jobs and The Economy<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams is campaigning on creating a </span><a href="https://jumaanewilliams.com/working-peoples-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">“working people’s economy”</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> by implementing a more progressive income tax, including raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If elected, Williams would move to protect </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">workers’ right to organize, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">increase the minimum wage, and </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">fund “excluded workers,” mostly undocumented New Yorkers ineligible for federal unemployment relief and other benefits</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. He would </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">support small businesses by offering tax breaks, rebates, and other incentives, he says.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams would pursue better pay for home care workers, and close the “minimum wage loophole” for tipped workers. He would also expand the earned income tax credit and create a public banking system.</span></p> <p><b>Health Care</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams has long been a proponent of the New York Health Act, which would institute single-payer health care in the state, effectively moving away from the private insurance-based model and to a government-run system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams’ </span><a href="https://jumaanewilliams.com/healthcare-for-all" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">“healthcare for all”</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> plan includes universal health care for all New Yorkers, for building and funding public hospitals, and improving the state’s elderly services and mental health infrastructure. Williams’ healthcare plan would include immigrant New Yorkers who are denied coverage based on their immigration status and invest in research and initiatives to support Black maternal health.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams has come under fire for inconsistent views on abortion. He has said in the past that while he would not personally want a partner to choose abortion, he still supports women’s right to choose, and his comments on the subject have evolved over the past decade.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“You have to check off a box of pro-choice and you have to check off a box of pro-life and I don’t know that I’m comfortable in any of those boxes. I am personally not in favor of abortion,”</span> <a href="https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2013/12/jumaane-williams-explains-himself-009948" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">he told Politico in 2013</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since then, Williams has put forth increasingly stronger pro-choice stances, including reproductive rights in his healthcare plan and supporting the effort to make abortion a consitutional right in New York State. He has said in this campaign that in the past he mistakenly put his own view at the forefront of his public position even as he always supported pro-choice laws and that he realized he needed to remove himself from the equation.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">We cannot wait, cannot hesitate, before fighting to preserve this right, New York will continue to fight to be a safe haven for women and pregnant people,” Williams wrote on Instagram in </span><a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CdFG30JMpar/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">a May 2 post</span></a> <span style="font-weight: 400;">responding to a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which came to pass this past week.</span></p> <p><b>Education<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams’ skeletal </span><a href="https://jumaanewilliams.com/investing-in-our-young-people" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">education plan</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> would make college more accessible by offering free tuition at CUNY and SUNY colleges and pledges to ensure full funding of public schools at all levels. He would also expand summer youth job programs and invest in counseling and support to end the school to prison pipeline.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams pledges to implement a universal childcare system and transform New York’s schools into environmentally friendly havens.</span></p> <p><b>Climate and the Environment<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams’ environmental plans go beyond school buildings. As governor, he says he would fully implement the </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, a 2019 law that requires a major shift in the state toward renewable energy and away from carbon emissions, while also protecting marginalized communities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To do this, Williams supports the Build Public Renewables Act that has not passed the Legislature but aims to allow more public investment in renewable energy, independent from corporate interests. He says he would invest $10 billion yearly in climate action projects, promoting the creation of good union jobs.</span></p> <p><b>Immigrant Communities<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams would fight to make the state more inclusive for immigrants and their families, he says, and that is a key focus for his running-mate, Archila, herself an immigrant from Colombia and a founder of immigrant rights group Make the Road New York.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A Williams-Archila administration would ensure that all New Yorkers have health insurance coverage regardless of immigration status, the campaign website says. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Local law enforcement and state agencies would be prevented from coordinating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and ICE would be prohibited from contracting with New York state and local jails</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><b>Government and Voting Reform<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams would institute a wide range of government and election reforms, including investing more in boards of elections so they can better run elections and funding the public financing of elections to remove more of the influence of private donors in elections. He would ban contributions from corporations for state campaigns, prevent elected officials from trading stocks, and prohibit corporate lobbying by former officials. He would create an independent ethics commission and give the attorney general resources to investigate public corruption.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">People have a lot of real reasons not to have faith in government,” Williams </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/06/12/opinion/jumaane-williams-nyt-interview.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">told The New York Times</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. “I do believe electing different types of people who will make decisions that are really based on what’s best for New Yorkers will be a huge difference.”</span></p> <p>

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Lindsay Shachnow, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/4-what-jum.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Jumaane Williams (photo: @JumaaneWilliams)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Jumaane Williams is running alone in the left lane of the Democratic primary for governor, with voting set to conclude on Tuesday, June 28.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams, the New York City public advocate, is facing Governor Kathy Hochul, who is seeking her first elected term as the state’s chief executive, and Rep. Tom Suozzi of Long Island.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A former City Council member from Brooklyn, Williams has long called himself an “activist elected official’ and has had a significant focus on the issues of housing, police reform, and public safety. Those issues, along with others like jobs, remain at the top of his gubernatorial campaign agenda, in which he has a robust housing plan, pledges to pass several high-profile but stalled progressive legislative priorities, and calls for raising taxes on the wealthy to help pay for his progressive agenda with more investments in health care, climate action, community development, and affordable housing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams argues his work as public advocate and prior, and his status as the “</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">only candidate by and for the working people of New York” in the gubernatorial primary make him uniquely qualified to lead the state.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As public advocate since early 2019, Williams has passed more legislation than anyone else who has held the position.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I have shown up time and time again…I will show up again once more as governor,” Williams said in a televised Democratic primary debate on June 2.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">“While we want to normalize our lives, we don't want to go back to where we were.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams says his health struggles and experience as a first generation New Yorker and public school graduate have helped him to better understand the communities he serves. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome and ADHD as a teenager, and said he hopes his visibility through his work in public service inspires young people.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“My tourettes has never defined me, but it has represented a truth about my life and my work,” he said in a campaign ad. “I’m always moving.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As part of his activism, Williams is known for being in the streets protesting, including getting arrested when advocating for or against certain policies. “An activist elected official must stand up to power, and take to the streets when needed,” Williams said in a campaign ad.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams challenged Hochul for Lieutenant Governor in 2018, putting forth a strong showing but losing by seven percentage points while spending far less money. He had planned to challenge former Governor Andrew Cuomo in this year’s election, but Cuomo resigned in August of last year and was replaced by Hochul.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We did the right thing to get rid of Governor Cuomo but the Hochul administration is moving us in a worse direction,” Williams said at a May campaign rally. “New Yorkers feel it.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This year, Williams again has endorsements from many progressive elected officials and groups, including New York City Comptroller Brad Lander and Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, the Working Families Party, Make the Road New York Action, and the Sunrise Movement NYC, among others. He is running with lieutenant governor candidate Ana Maria Archila, a long time advocate and activist who has founded and run two nonprofits focused on immigrant rights and economic equality. Notably, several influential progressives, like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have endorsed Archila but not Williams. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams regularly highlights the three pillars of his current campaign: public safety, housing, and the economy, including during two debates against Hochul and Suozzi, and one debate with Suozzi that Hochul declined to attend, as well as </span><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11402-max-politics-podcast-jumaane-williams-democratic-primary-governor" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">interviews about his campaign</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">That campaign has struggled to raise money to come anywhere close to keeping up with Hochul’s massive war chest and polls show the current governor in strong position to win the nomination as she seeks her first full term in the position. But </span><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11402-max-politics-podcast-jumaane-williams-democratic-primary-governor"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams says</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> he regularly outperforms polling and his message is being well-received around the state.</span></p> <p><b>Public Safety</b><b><br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams’ vision for New York includes a </span><a href="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5b5377a38f513009cb07a0ff/t/6242afd8d337004c16add5dc/1648537560848/Public+Safety+Agenda+2022.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">ten-point public safety plan</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to invest in violence prevention and victim services, create trauma response teams, and strengthen the state’s mental health programs. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Public safety is a huge issue for me…The way we truly get to public safety is dealing with some of the structural issues that existed for quite some time,” Williams </span><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/10902-max-politics-podcast-jumaane-williams-reelected-public-advocate-run-governor" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">said in a November 2021 interview with Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, just ahead of announcing his run for governor. “If you spend more money, resources and attention on dealing with the thing after it happens, you have already missed an important point, and you probably have failed.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Having served as </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Co-Chair of the City Council’s Task Force to Combat Gun Violence, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams plans to improve housing and job infrastructure in areas with high gun violence and combat the proliferation of guns by demanding financial accountability for gun </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">manufacturers and lobbyists. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Every illegal gun is legal at some point,” he said in an interview with The New York Times. “You combine that with access low to mental health, increase in homelessness, increase in food insecurity and a whole bunch of other issues…We have been trying to attack those things all at once. Trying to get more than just police services.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams called for the state to put $1 billion of its $220 billion budget toward community anti-violence measures, and throughout the final months of the campaign has criticized Hochul for coming up far short of that number. While he does not use the “defund the police” slogan and </span><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11402-max-politics-podcast-jumaane-williams-democratic-primary-governor" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">has said it is the wrong messaging (he prefers a more positive vision but has said it’s wrong for elected officials to try to tell activists what slogans to use)</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, he does want to move resources away from policing and incarceration and into preventative measures. That includes ensuring housing, jobs, and health care for everyone, as well as more investment in the violence interrupter programs he has supported for many years, beginning in Brooklyn.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams would also invest in care for drug users by ending the criminalization of low level drug offenses and providing harm reduction services and medication-assisted treatment; he supports a statewide expansion of New York City’s first two safe injection sites.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As governor, Williams says he would defend bail reforms (he has opposed the rollbacks to 2019 bail reforms of the past two years) and institute parole reforms to allow more people to be released from prison after serving long sentences. He promises to fight against mass incarceration by emphasizing </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">rehabilitation and well-being in correctional facilities and </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">expanding alternative detention programs that aim to deliver more targeted services to address people’s specific needs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He would reform New York’s police department, mobilizing social workers and other trained professionals to </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">respond instead of the police in certain circumstances, including situations involving homelessness and mental health.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We make sure all the tools are there so that we can pull back the tool of law enforcement and still be able to put the type of safety in place that we know we can,” </span><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/10902-max-politics-podcast-jumaane-williams-reelected-public-advocate-run-governor" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">he said in the November Max Politics interview</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span></p> <p><b>Housing<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Along with police reform and public safety, Williams’ other main focus of his professional career has been housing. He was </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">executive director of New York State Tenants &amp; Neighbors before being elected to the City Council and then he chaired the Council’s Housing and Buildings Committee. He is now offering a </span><a href="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5b5377a38f513009cb07a0ff/t/623483481779cd14fec901d9/1647608648337/Housing+Platform+%281%29.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Housing for All”</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> plan as he runs for governor.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams pledges to create </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">1 million carbon-neutral affordable housing units along with good paying jobs that would come from the construction.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">By reimagining the way the Empire State Development and New York State Urban Development Corporation operate, Williams would ensure that they partner with non-profits instead of large real estate developers, securing affordable housing for the long-term by better leveraging state subsidies, he says. Williams’ “housing for the social good” model demands that public land be used for public benefit, and prevents its sale to private for-profit corporations. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">More affordable housing would be made available across the state, Williams promises, in urban, suburban, and rural communities, and provided to New Yorkers from various income levels, with tenants paying according to their ability to do so, and those with more means helping to subsidize those with fewer.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams would offer foreclosure relief and prioritize expanding tenants’ rights by empowering them to form unions and providing the universal right to counsel for tenants facing eviction. He aims to implement statewide revolving loan funds for first-time home-buyers and expand cooperative housing models.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams also promises property tax reform, cutting property taxes for the working and middle class and increasing them on the wealthy.</span></p> <p><b>Jobs and The Economy<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams is campaigning on creating a </span><a href="https://jumaanewilliams.com/working-peoples-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">“working people’s economy”</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> by implementing a more progressive income tax, including raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If elected, Williams would move to protect </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">workers’ right to organize, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">increase the minimum wage, and </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">fund “excluded workers,” mostly undocumented New Yorkers ineligible for federal unemployment relief and other benefits</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. He would </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">support small businesses by offering tax breaks, rebates, and other incentives, he says.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams would pursue better pay for home care workers, and close the “minimum wage loophole” for tipped workers. He would also expand the earned income tax credit and create a public banking system.</span></p> <p><b>Health Care</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams has long been a proponent of the New York Health Act, which would institute single-payer health care in the state, effectively moving away from the private insurance-based model and to a government-run system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams’ </span><a href="https://jumaanewilliams.com/healthcare-for-all" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">“healthcare for all”</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> plan includes universal health care for all New Yorkers, for building and funding public hospitals, and improving the state’s elderly services and mental health infrastructure. Williams’ healthcare plan would include immigrant New Yorkers who are denied coverage based on their immigration status and invest in research and initiatives to support Black maternal health.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams has come under fire for inconsistent views on abortion. He has said in the past that while he would not personally want a partner to choose abortion, he still supports women’s right to choose, and his comments on the subject have evolved over the past decade.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“You have to check off a box of pro-choice and you have to check off a box of pro-life and I don’t know that I’m comfortable in any of those boxes. I am personally not in favor of abortion,”</span> <a href="https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2013/12/jumaane-williams-explains-himself-009948" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">he told Politico in 2013</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since then, Williams has put forth increasingly stronger pro-choice stances, including reproductive rights in his healthcare plan and supporting the effort to make abortion a consitutional right in New York State. He has said in this campaign that in the past he mistakenly put his own view at the forefront of his public position even as he always supported pro-choice laws and that he realized he needed to remove himself from the equation.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">We cannot wait, cannot hesitate, before fighting to preserve this right, New York will continue to fight to be a safe haven for women and pregnant people,” Williams wrote on Instagram in </span><a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CdFG30JMpar/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">a May 2 post</span></a> <span style="font-weight: 400;">responding to a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which came to pass this past week.</span></p> <p><b>Education<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams’ skeletal </span><a href="https://jumaanewilliams.com/investing-in-our-young-people" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">education plan</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> would make college more accessible by offering free tuition at CUNY and SUNY colleges and pledges to ensure full funding of public schools at all levels. He would also expand summer youth job programs and invest in counseling and support to end the school to prison pipeline.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams pledges to implement a universal childcare system and transform New York’s schools into environmentally friendly havens.</span></p> <p><b>Climate and the Environment<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams’ environmental plans go beyond school buildings. As governor, he says he would fully implement the </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, a 2019 law that requires a major shift in the state toward renewable energy and away from carbon emissions, while also protecting marginalized communities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To do this, Williams supports the Build Public Renewables Act that has not passed the Legislature but aims to allow more public investment in renewable energy, independent from corporate interests. He says he would invest $10 billion yearly in climate action projects, promoting the creation of good union jobs.</span></p> <p><b>Immigrant Communities<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams would fight to make the state more inclusive for immigrants and their families, he says, and that is a key focus for his running-mate, Archila, herself an immigrant from Colombia and a founder of immigrant rights group Make the Road New York.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A Williams-Archila administration would ensure that all New Yorkers have health insurance coverage regardless of immigration status, the campaign website says. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Local law enforcement and state agencies would be prevented from coordinating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and ICE would be prohibited from contracting with New York state and local jails</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><b>Government and Voting Reform<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Williams would institute a wide range of government and election reforms, including investing more in boards of elections so they can better run elections and funding the public financing of elections to remove more of the influence of private donors in elections. He would ban contributions from corporations for state campaigns, prevent elected officials from trading stocks, and prohibit corporate lobbying by former officials. He would create an independent ethics commission and give the attorney general resources to investigate public corruption.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">People have a lot of real reasons not to have faith in government,” Williams </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/06/12/opinion/jumaane-williams-nyt-interview.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">told The New York Times</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. “I do believe electing different types of people who will make decisions that are really based on what’s best for New Yorkers will be a huge difference.”</span></p> <p>

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Lindsay Shachnow, Gotham Gazette

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Competitive Democratic Primary for Lower Manhattan Assembly Seat Being Vacated by Niou 2022-06-27T15:00:00+00:00 2022-06-27T15:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11409-competitive-democratic-primary-for-lower-manhattan-assembly-seat-being-vacated-by-niou Rachel Cohen rcohen@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/3x1-satriupac-lee-salas-2.jpg" /></p> <p>(l-r) Illapa Sairitupac, Grace Lee, and Denny Salas</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There’s a wide open and highly-competitive Democratic primary heading for the finish line in Lower Manhattan’s 65th State Assembly District.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is among many Assembly primary elections where voting is set to conclude Tuesday, along with the statewide party primaries for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, as well as some down ballot races. Another set of primaries will unfold in August.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, a progressive rising star, is leaving the 65th Assembly District seat to run for Congress in the new 10th Congressional District, part of a crowded primary that will be decided in August, along with other U.S. House and State Senate party primary elections.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Running to replace Niou in the heavily-Democratic Assembly district are social worker Illapa Sairitupac, charter school development officer Denny Salas, and small business owner Grace Lee, who unsuccessfully challenged Niou for the seat in 2020. All three candidates have been involved in local community organizing in different ways.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The new 65th district, somewhat redrawn in the redistricting process, includes Chinatown, Two Bridges, the Lower East Side, South Battery Park City, and part of the Financial District. The total population of more than 139,000 residents, based on 2020 Census data, is 33.5% white, 36.8% Asian, 19.1% Hispanic, and 6.6% Black, </span><a href="https://newyork.redistrictingandyou.org/?districtType=ad&amp;propA=current_2012&amp;propB=assm_latfor_20220203&amp;selected=-73.989,40.716#%26map=10.96/40.6899/-73.9984" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">according to </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Redistricting &amp; You: New York from the CUNY Mapping Service</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Residents of the district voted heavily Democratic during the 2020 presidential election, with 83.3% casting their ballot for now-President Joe Biden and 16.7% voting for then-President Donald Trump.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Niou was the first Asian-American to represent the district that is home to Chinatown and she won the seat over a short-term incumbent with establishment support who had replaced the disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Backed by the Working Families Party and several progressive elected officials and clubs, Niou was victorious in 2016 and has been a leading progressive voice in the State Legislature since.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the race to replace her, Lee has been endorsed by a long list of officials and groups, including Rep. Jerry Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, Citizens Union, and several labor unions, among others; while Sairitupac is backed by the Democratic Socialists of America-New York City, the Working Families Party, and a slew of progressives including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Lieutenant Governor candidate Ana María Archila; and Salas, has the backing of several law enforcement unions, among others.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Gotham Gazette spoke with the three candidates about their vision and priorities for the 65th Assembly District.</span></p> <p><b>Denny Salas<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Salas, currently a development officer at the Bronx Charter School for Better Learning, told Gotham Gazette that his campaign heavily incorporates the immediate concerns of residents of the district. Before launching his platform, Salas said he solicited feedback from the community, who ranked their top priorities, in order, as public safety, education, the economy, the environment, housing, and health.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“When you have this majority-minority district and you walk around, what you see is that their needs haven’t been addressed,” said Salas, who ran unsuccessfully for City Council last year. “There was this yearning for an elected official that was actually listening to them and trying to represent them.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To address public safety, Salas wants to amend the state’s bail law to ensure perpetrators face consequences, pointing to how an individual has been able to access immediate release even if they are accused of possessing an illegal weapon or committing a hate crime. He hopes to add an Asian and Pacific Islander, Black, Latino, Jewish, and LGBTQ Hate Crimes Task Force in every police department across the state, as well as restrict the number of jails and homeless shelters in working class neighborhoods, increase funding for community-based organizations and violence interrupters, and provide more health services to individuals experiencing mental illnesses, among other policies.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We're looking at it, we live it — we’re living it every day here and it’s unfortunate, and it shouldn’t happen,” Salas said about increases in crime over the past two-plus years.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since the start of his campaign, he has received a string of endorsements from law enforcement unions, including the Captains Endowment Association, the Detectives Endowment Association, the Lieutenants Benevolent Association, and the Sergeants Benevolent Association. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On education, Salas said he wants to expand the number of citywide high-performing schools, specialized high schools, gifted and talented programs, and afterschool programs. He argued that increasing partnerships between high- and low-performing schools can improve student test scores and create new student programs, as he said he’s seen working at the Bronx Charter School for Better Learning.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Salas’ platform on the economy includes supporting small businesses by creating a statewide Paycheck Protection Program and subsidizing wages, advocating for higher wages for workers, expanding export grants and increasing grants for minority- and women-owned businesses and other marginalized groups.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Salas also said he would put more funds into resiliency projects in Lower Manhattan and carbon-free energy, and develop disaster-proof communication services for first responders.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When it comes to housing, Salas said that he wants to better fund the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), create a new Mitchell-Lama program for more affordable homeownership, and support a rise in community land trusts and tax credits. On health, he hopes to have a public healthcare option for all residents, advocate for reproductive rights, and push the enactment of congestion pricing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I have taken the time and done the work to speak to every part of the community,” Salas said. “And it's not me telling them what I want them to do or what I want to do for them. It's me asking, ‘Are you okay? What are your main concerns? And how can I help and approach it from the lens of listening and not telling them anything?’”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Salas said he is “actually representative” of the neighborhoods of the 65th Assembly district.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He calls himself the “product of the American Dream” given his youth growing up poor with his parents, immigrants from the Dominican Republic, and move into the middle class thanks to education and other opportunities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Salas started his career as a stockbroker before quitting his job to join then-President Barack Obama’s political organization, Organizing for America. He then worked on Capitol Hill under a congress member from Massachusetts, the state where he grew up, and later became a political consultant and a lobbyist for small business boat manufacturing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Alongside the law enforcement endorsements, Salas has received support from Justin Yu, the </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">former president of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, and Alan Gerson, a former District 1 City Council member, as well as other groups and unions including the United Democratic Organization, Asian Wave Alliance, StudentsFirstNY, Great Public Schools, Steamfitters Local 638, Sheet Metal Workers Local 28 and more.</span></p> <p><b>Illapa Sairitupac<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Illapa Sairitupac, a democratic socialist who has lived in Lower Manhattan for nearly a decade, is running to represent the 65th district as an advocate for the working class. The top priorities of his campaign include climate, housing, healthcare, and workers’ rights, as well as public safety, immigration, transit, education, feminism, and LGBTQ protections.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I know how it is to advocate for working class folks who are marginalized, who are forgotten about, and that translates pretty beautifully into being a candidate and listening to them on the streets, listening to them in their homes, listening to their worries, their pains and their concerns, and being a champion for them,” Sairitupac told Gotham Gazette.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As a mental health social worker and climate organizer, Sairitupac said he will use his experience to fight for free healthcare for all and a Green New Deal. If elected to office, he will champion the New York Health Act, which would create a state single-payer health care system, and the Build Public Renewables Act, which allow the state’s power authority to produce far more renewable energy for use in New York as it seeks to move away from fossil fuels.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sairitupac added that he wants to fully fund hospitals, expand access to healthcare, and end medical debt. He would support Good Cause Eviction to protect tenants and reduce mass evictions, push for all forms of public transportation to be fare-free, and call for energy utilities, such as Con Edison, to be publicly-owned.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On public safety, Sairitupac supports funding community-based violence prevention programs, which would connect community members with young individuals who are at risk of perpetrating violence or being victims. He wants to pass Daniel’s Law, in which trained mental health professionals would respond to mental health and substance abuse emergencies instead of police officers, and expand mental health walk-in clinics in the district. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sairitupac is opposed to the building of a new jail in Chinatown, part of the city’s plan to replace the Rikers Island jail complex by 2027, or any new jail, and said he will fight to reduce mass incarceration. He said he would work to decriminalize low-level drug possession and expunge past misdemeanor drug convictions, among other policies.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When asked why he is the best fit to represent the 65th Assembly district, Sairitupac said it is important for a person like himself, the son of working class immigrants from Peru, to represent working class communities. As a queer person, he pointed to the history of queer liberation movements in Lower Manhattan and their importance in fighting for LGBTQ rights.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I believe that we need change to come from the ground up,” Sairitupac said. “I don’t see myself being a legislator in his ivory tower. I want to be on the streets as I have been already, talking to folks, being accessible to them and listening to them.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sairitupac, who is backed by the Democratic Socialists of America-New York City, is the first candidate to be endorsed by the organization in Manhattan, as the local DSA has been focused largely on races in Brooklyn and Queens over recent election cycles. DSA has picked up key victories in state legislative races since 2018, including two Brooklyn State Senate seats and a handful of Assembly seats in Brooklyn and Queens. But the group came up short during last year’s City Council primaries, when two of its six endorsed candidates won -- one in Queens and one in Brooklyn.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I’m running on a slate of other leftists in different parts of the city, and if a bunch of us win, we’ll have more power combined with the other leftists, socialists who are already in office,” Sairitupac said. “We can create a voting bloc inside the Assembly and organize our other Assembly colleagues to move on bills that we know are common sense, so we can invest in the communities and we can fight for resources to be distributed equitably to our communities.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He also secured the endorsements of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; former gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon; and democratic socialists elected to the State Legislature and City Council: State Senators Jabari Brisport and Julia Salazar; Assembly Members Zohran Mamdani, Emily Gallagher, Marcela Mitaynes, and Phara Souffrant Forrest; and City Council Members Tiffany Cabán and Alexa Avilés.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Alongside DSA, Sairitupac has received support from the New York Working Families Party, Tenants PAC, New York Communities for Change, and Green New York, among others.</span></p> <p><b>Grace Lee<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lee — a small business owner and first-generation Asian-American — said she is running for the Assembly as the only candidate who has been actively involved in community organizing in the district. She said she will bring her experience of coalition building among elected officials, city and state agencies, and local leaders to Albany.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“As a community organizer, I've seen how the government has failed many people,” Lee told Gotham Gazette. “I believe the district needs and deserves a representative who is on the ground, knows the issues intimately in this community, and can amplify the voices of the community to help deliver results.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lee previously ran for the 65th Assembly district in 2020 against Niou, who won by a wide margin. If victorious this time, Lee said her top priorities would be public safety, affordable housing, and education, followed by climate, fair taxes, health care, immigration, jobs, transportation, women’s rights, LGBTQ protections, and more. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She said public safety is her number one concern, and she believes the path to having a safer community is better coordination among the NYPD, city and state agencies, and community advocates. Lee supports increasing foot patrol officers to have more of a physical NYPD presence in the district, and she also wants to see community policing in the communities of the 65th Assembly district.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“As a mother of three young girls and as an Asian-American woman, I know what it feels like to feel unsafe, especially these days,” she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lee said that the two leading drivers of crime are poverty and the lack of economic opportunities, and she believes it is necessary to invest in services that lift residents out of poverty, address racial inequity, and provide mental health care and housing. She added that law enforcement and prosecutors need to be held accountable, and lamented that many victims of anti-Asian hate crimes are not taken seriously.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On housing, Lee said she would pass Good Cause Eviction and supports preserving existing affordable housing by increasing funding for NYCHA and Knickerbocker Village in Two Bridges. She also said she would fight to expand down-payment assistance for first-time home-buyers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lee said that all students deserve a fully-funded education, and she supports investing in universal childcare and the New Deal for CUNY, which would add more funding to CUNY and make it tuition-free again for in-state students. She said it is important to close the learning gaps caused by the pandemic.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Through her community activism, Lee said she has achieved a number of accomplishments in Lower Manhattan, where she has lived for the past 15 years. She pointed to her work with </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Children First, a parent-led coalition she co-founded that is fighting a developer who is trying to build housing in the South Street Seaport on a site that may contain mercury in the ground from a past thermometer factory and is located across from two elementary schools. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She also said she has delivered meals to NYCHA residents throughout the pandemic, helped neglected deaf residents form a tenants’ association in their building on Forsyth Street, and was arrested for protesting the construction of the Chinatown jail last month. “I've put my body on the line to protect this community,” she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lee has received a host of endorsements from elected officials, district leaders, and community activists since the start of her campaign, including Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, State Senator John Liu, Reps. Jerry Nadler, Grace Meng, and Hakeem Jeffries, and City Council Member Christopher Marte, who represents the 1st Council district that overlaps significantly with the 65th Assembly district. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She has also garnered support from a number of Democratic clubs, political and civic organizations, Chinese family associations, and labor unions, such as DC37, the New York State United Teachers, the New York State Nurses Association, the New York City District Council of Carpenters, the Stonewall Democrats, and Citizens Union, among others.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lee said only a few districts in New York State have a large Asian population, which includes the 65th district, and she hopes to be a voice for the Asian-American community in the Assembly.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The Asian community is going through a lot and they deserve voices in government,” she said. “It would be an honor to be one of the very few Asian-Americans elected.”</span></p> <p>

***
Rachel Cohen, Gotham Gazette

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<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/3x1-satriupac-lee-salas-2.jpg" /></p> <p>(l-r) Illapa Sairitupac, Grace Lee, and Denny Salas</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There’s a wide open and highly-competitive Democratic primary heading for the finish line in Lower Manhattan’s 65th State Assembly District.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is among many Assembly primary elections where voting is set to conclude Tuesday, along with the statewide party primaries for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, as well as some down ballot races. Another set of primaries will unfold in August.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, a progressive rising star, is leaving the 65th Assembly District seat to run for Congress in the new 10th Congressional District, part of a crowded primary that will be decided in August, along with other U.S. House and State Senate party primary elections.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Running to replace Niou in the heavily-Democratic Assembly district are social worker Illapa Sairitupac, charter school development officer Denny Salas, and small business owner Grace Lee, who unsuccessfully challenged Niou for the seat in 2020. All three candidates have been involved in local community organizing in different ways.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The new 65th district, somewhat redrawn in the redistricting process, includes Chinatown, Two Bridges, the Lower East Side, South Battery Park City, and part of the Financial District. The total population of more than 139,000 residents, based on 2020 Census data, is 33.5% white, 36.8% Asian, 19.1% Hispanic, and 6.6% Black, </span><a href="https://newyork.redistrictingandyou.org/?districtType=ad&amp;propA=current_2012&amp;propB=assm_latfor_20220203&amp;selected=-73.989,40.716#%26map=10.96/40.6899/-73.9984" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">according to </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Redistricting &amp; You: New York from the CUNY Mapping Service</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Residents of the district voted heavily Democratic during the 2020 presidential election, with 83.3% casting their ballot for now-President Joe Biden and 16.7% voting for then-President Donald Trump.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Niou was the first Asian-American to represent the district that is home to Chinatown and she won the seat over a short-term incumbent with establishment support who had replaced the disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Backed by the Working Families Party and several progressive elected officials and clubs, Niou was victorious in 2016 and has been a leading progressive voice in the State Legislature since.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the race to replace her, Lee has been endorsed by a long list of officials and groups, including Rep. Jerry Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, Citizens Union, and several labor unions, among others; while Sairitupac is backed by the Democratic Socialists of America-New York City, the Working Families Party, and a slew of progressives including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Lieutenant Governor candidate Ana María Archila; and Salas, has the backing of several law enforcement unions, among others.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Gotham Gazette spoke with the three candidates about their vision and priorities for the 65th Assembly District.</span></p> <p><b>Denny Salas<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Salas, currently a development officer at the Bronx Charter School for Better Learning, told Gotham Gazette that his campaign heavily incorporates the immediate concerns of residents of the district. Before launching his platform, Salas said he solicited feedback from the community, who ranked their top priorities, in order, as public safety, education, the economy, the environment, housing, and health.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“When you have this majority-minority district and you walk around, what you see is that their needs haven’t been addressed,” said Salas, who ran unsuccessfully for City Council last year. “There was this yearning for an elected official that was actually listening to them and trying to represent them.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To address public safety, Salas wants to amend the state’s bail law to ensure perpetrators face consequences, pointing to how an individual has been able to access immediate release even if they are accused of possessing an illegal weapon or committing a hate crime. He hopes to add an Asian and Pacific Islander, Black, Latino, Jewish, and LGBTQ Hate Crimes Task Force in every police department across the state, as well as restrict the number of jails and homeless shelters in working class neighborhoods, increase funding for community-based organizations and violence interrupters, and provide more health services to individuals experiencing mental illnesses, among other policies.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We're looking at it, we live it — we’re living it every day here and it’s unfortunate, and it shouldn’t happen,” Salas said about increases in crime over the past two-plus years.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since the start of his campaign, he has received a string of endorsements from law enforcement unions, including the Captains Endowment Association, the Detectives Endowment Association, the Lieutenants Benevolent Association, and the Sergeants Benevolent Association. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On education, Salas said he wants to expand the number of citywide high-performing schools, specialized high schools, gifted and talented programs, and afterschool programs. He argued that increasing partnerships between high- and low-performing schools can improve student test scores and create new student programs, as he said he’s seen working at the Bronx Charter School for Better Learning.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Salas’ platform on the economy includes supporting small businesses by creating a statewide Paycheck Protection Program and subsidizing wages, advocating for higher wages for workers, expanding export grants and increasing grants for minority- and women-owned businesses and other marginalized groups.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Salas also said he would put more funds into resiliency projects in Lower Manhattan and carbon-free energy, and develop disaster-proof communication services for first responders.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When it comes to housing, Salas said that he wants to better fund the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), create a new Mitchell-Lama program for more affordable homeownership, and support a rise in community land trusts and tax credits. On health, he hopes to have a public healthcare option for all residents, advocate for reproductive rights, and push the enactment of congestion pricing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I have taken the time and done the work to speak to every part of the community,” Salas said. “And it's not me telling them what I want them to do or what I want to do for them. It's me asking, ‘Are you okay? What are your main concerns? And how can I help and approach it from the lens of listening and not telling them anything?’”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Salas said he is “actually representative” of the neighborhoods of the 65th Assembly district.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He calls himself the “product of the American Dream” given his youth growing up poor with his parents, immigrants from the Dominican Republic, and move into the middle class thanks to education and other opportunities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Salas started his career as a stockbroker before quitting his job to join then-President Barack Obama’s political organization, Organizing for America. He then worked on Capitol Hill under a congress member from Massachusetts, the state where he grew up, and later became a political consultant and a lobbyist for small business boat manufacturing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Alongside the law enforcement endorsements, Salas has received support from Justin Yu, the </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">former president of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, and Alan Gerson, a former District 1 City Council member, as well as other groups and unions including the United Democratic Organization, Asian Wave Alliance, StudentsFirstNY, Great Public Schools, Steamfitters Local 638, Sheet Metal Workers Local 28 and more.</span></p> <p><b>Illapa Sairitupac<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Illapa Sairitupac, a democratic socialist who has lived in Lower Manhattan for nearly a decade, is running to represent the 65th district as an advocate for the working class. The top priorities of his campaign include climate, housing, healthcare, and workers’ rights, as well as public safety, immigration, transit, education, feminism, and LGBTQ protections.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I know how it is to advocate for working class folks who are marginalized, who are forgotten about, and that translates pretty beautifully into being a candidate and listening to them on the streets, listening to them in their homes, listening to their worries, their pains and their concerns, and being a champion for them,” Sairitupac told Gotham Gazette.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As a mental health social worker and climate organizer, Sairitupac said he will use his experience to fight for free healthcare for all and a Green New Deal. If elected to office, he will champion the New York Health Act, which would create a state single-payer health care system, and the Build Public Renewables Act, which allow the state’s power authority to produce far more renewable energy for use in New York as it seeks to move away from fossil fuels.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sairitupac added that he wants to fully fund hospitals, expand access to healthcare, and end medical debt. He would support Good Cause Eviction to protect tenants and reduce mass evictions, push for all forms of public transportation to be fare-free, and call for energy utilities, such as Con Edison, to be publicly-owned.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On public safety, Sairitupac supports funding community-based violence prevention programs, which would connect community members with young individuals who are at risk of perpetrating violence or being victims. He wants to pass Daniel’s Law, in which trained mental health professionals would respond to mental health and substance abuse emergencies instead of police officers, and expand mental health walk-in clinics in the district. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sairitupac is opposed to the building of a new jail in Chinatown, part of the city’s plan to replace the Rikers Island jail complex by 2027, or any new jail, and said he will fight to reduce mass incarceration. He said he would work to decriminalize low-level drug possession and expunge past misdemeanor drug convictions, among other policies.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When asked why he is the best fit to represent the 65th Assembly district, Sairitupac said it is important for a person like himself, the son of working class immigrants from Peru, to represent working class communities. As a queer person, he pointed to the history of queer liberation movements in Lower Manhattan and their importance in fighting for LGBTQ rights.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I believe that we need change to come from the ground up,” Sairitupac said. “I don’t see myself being a legislator in his ivory tower. I want to be on the streets as I have been already, talking to folks, being accessible to them and listening to them.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sairitupac, who is backed by the Democratic Socialists of America-New York City, is the first candidate to be endorsed by the organization in Manhattan, as the local DSA has been focused largely on races in Brooklyn and Queens over recent election cycles. DSA has picked up key victories in state legislative races since 2018, including two Brooklyn State Senate seats and a handful of Assembly seats in Brooklyn and Queens. But the group came up short during last year’s City Council primaries, when two of its six endorsed candidates won -- one in Queens and one in Brooklyn.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I’m running on a slate of other leftists in different parts of the city, and if a bunch of us win, we’ll have more power combined with the other leftists, socialists who are already in office,” Sairitupac said. “We can create a voting bloc inside the Assembly and organize our other Assembly colleagues to move on bills that we know are common sense, so we can invest in the communities and we can fight for resources to be distributed equitably to our communities.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He also secured the endorsements of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; former gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon; and democratic socialists elected to the State Legislature and City Council: State Senators Jabari Brisport and Julia Salazar; Assembly Members Zohran Mamdani, Emily Gallagher, Marcela Mitaynes, and Phara Souffrant Forrest; and City Council Members Tiffany Cabán and Alexa Avilés.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Alongside DSA, Sairitupac has received support from the New York Working Families Party, Tenants PAC, New York Communities for Change, and Green New York, among others.</span></p> <p><b>Grace Lee<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lee — a small business owner and first-generation Asian-American — said she is running for the Assembly as the only candidate who has been actively involved in community organizing in the district. She said she will bring her experience of coalition building among elected officials, city and state agencies, and local leaders to Albany.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“As a community organizer, I've seen how the government has failed many people,” Lee told Gotham Gazette. “I believe the district needs and deserves a representative who is on the ground, knows the issues intimately in this community, and can amplify the voices of the community to help deliver results.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lee previously ran for the 65th Assembly district in 2020 against Niou, who won by a wide margin. If victorious this time, Lee said her top priorities would be public safety, affordable housing, and education, followed by climate, fair taxes, health care, immigration, jobs, transportation, women’s rights, LGBTQ protections, and more. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She said public safety is her number one concern, and she believes the path to having a safer community is better coordination among the NYPD, city and state agencies, and community advocates. Lee supports increasing foot patrol officers to have more of a physical NYPD presence in the district, and she also wants to see community policing in the communities of the 65th Assembly district.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“As a mother of three young girls and as an Asian-American woman, I know what it feels like to feel unsafe, especially these days,” she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lee said that the two leading drivers of crime are poverty and the lack of economic opportunities, and she believes it is necessary to invest in services that lift residents out of poverty, address racial inequity, and provide mental health care and housing. She added that law enforcement and prosecutors need to be held accountable, and lamented that many victims of anti-Asian hate crimes are not taken seriously.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On housing, Lee said she would pass Good Cause Eviction and supports preserving existing affordable housing by increasing funding for NYCHA and Knickerbocker Village in Two Bridges. She also said she would fight to expand down-payment assistance for first-time home-buyers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lee said that all students deserve a fully-funded education, and she supports investing in universal childcare and the New Deal for CUNY, which would add more funding to CUNY and make it tuition-free again for in-state students. She said it is important to close the learning gaps caused by the pandemic.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Through her community activism, Lee said she has achieved a number of accomplishments in Lower Manhattan, where she has lived for the past 15 years. She pointed to her work with </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Children First, a parent-led coalition she co-founded that is fighting a developer who is trying to build housing in the South Street Seaport on a site that may contain mercury in the ground from a past thermometer factory and is located across from two elementary schools. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She also said she has delivered meals to NYCHA residents throughout the pandemic, helped neglected deaf residents form a tenants’ association in their building on Forsyth Street, and was arrested for protesting the construction of the Chinatown jail last month. “I've put my body on the line to protect this community,” she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lee has received a host of endorsements from elected officials, district leaders, and community activists since the start of her campaign, including Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, State Senator John Liu, Reps. Jerry Nadler, Grace Meng, and Hakeem Jeffries, and City Council Member Christopher Marte, who represents the 1st Council district that overlaps significantly with the 65th Assembly district. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She has also garnered support from a number of Democratic clubs, political and civic organizations, Chinese family associations, and labor unions, such as DC37, the New York State United Teachers, the New York State Nurses Association, the New York City District Council of Carpenters, the Stonewall Democrats, and Citizens Union, among others.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lee said only a few districts in New York State have a large Asian population, which includes the 65th district, and she hopes to be a voice for the Asian-American community in the Assembly.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The Asian community is going through a lot and they deserve voices in government,” she said. “It would be an honor to be one of the very few Asian-Americans elected.”</span></p> <p>

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Rachel Cohen, Gotham Gazette

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What is Kathy Hochul's Gubernatorial Campaign Platform? 2022-06-25T14:00:00+00:00 2022-06-25T14:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11400-kathy-hochul-campaign-platform Ethan Geringer-Sameth ethangs@gothamgazette.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/3-hochul-seeks-term.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Gov. Hochul (photo: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)</p> <hr /> <p>Governor Kathy Hochul is running in this year’s election, including this month’s Democratic primary, to win a first full term in the job she ascended to in August of last year. Hochul is seeking more time to fulfill promises she has made throughout her many months in office thus far and as she asks New Yorkers for their votes.</p> <p>Since she took office last August after the resignation of disgraced former Governor Andrew Cuomo, the state's first female governor has staked her early tenure on transforming the culture of Albany politics and shepherding New Yorkers through the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>"The people of this state want us to look forward and not backward. That's what my leadership is bringing to the people, to the state of New York, as their governor," Hochul said in the last of two Democratic primary <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11393-democratic-candidates-governor-debate-two-hochul-suozzi-williams">debates</a> attended by all three candidates on June 17. In the primary, Hochul is facing Rep. Tom Suozzi of Long Island and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.</p> <p>Hochul came into the race with significant advantages as the current office-holder with immense governmental and political powers, strong name recognition, and a massive fundraising advantage — Hochul has out-raised her nearest opponent four-fold and also has a strong lead in polls). If not for those, her fate as a candidate would more likely hinge on how well she has fulfilled her commitments so far and the vision she is setting for the coming months and years.</p> <p>Hochul’s campaign platform, unsurprisingly, reflects the political agenda she has outlined as governor. It draws largely on goals set in her Day One address, January State of the State agenda, and executive budget, making it more extensive than the published platforms of her Democratic opponents. But Hochul has made few commitments or proposals on the campaign trail that she hasn't already made as governor, and she has not set out a four-year vision.</p> <p>In stump speeches and official pronouncements the Buffalo native frequently rattles off a litany of accomplishments and works in progress. That list includes actions on healthcare, economic development, gun violence, education and childcare, government ethics, and more – many of them taken during the April state budget or the packed end of the legislative session that concluded early this month. As gun violence and abortion rights have dominated recent headlines, Hochul has discussed the package of gun control bills and reproductive health protections she signed at the close of the legislative session, while promising additional actions in light of Supreme Court rulings that just came down.</p> <p>“We got so much done that had been hampered and unfulfilled for a decade,” Hochul said in her first primary debate appearance <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11371-hochul-williams-suozzi-democratic-primary-debate-cbs">on June 7</a> of the gun control measures. "I've been the governor for nine months. I got it done in record time."</p> <p>Hochul regularly touts large, long-term initiatives passed in the budget like a $25 billion, five-year affordable housing plan or a $10 billion healthcare workforce development project.</p> <p>"You look at the short-term, the mid-term, and the long-term, and we are working hard every single day to try and solve this problem quickly," she said of the dearth of affordable housing around the state, during the June 7 debate. She also cited the recent enactment of legislation to foster hotel-to-housing conversions but would not comment on the failure of Good Cause Eviction legislation days earlier.</p> <p>Despite spending $13.1 million over the last six months and having more than $18 million on hand, Hochul’s campaign does not appear to have made the effort to update its website since the end of the legislative session on June 4, where it boasts a number of legislative goals that never came to pass and calls for the passage of items that did indeed make it to the finish line.</p> <p>For example, as of June 23 it said Hochul is "enacting two term limits for Statewide elected officials, banning outside income for Statewide elected officials, and replacing the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) with a truly independent ethics watchdog that answers to New Yorkers, not to politicians." The first two were not completed this year and, while Hochul and the Legislature established a new body to replace JCOPE, its members will continue to be nominated by Hochul and legislative leaders.</p> <p>"The progress Governor Hochul has made during her first ten months in office is just the beginning," wrote Jen Goodman, a spokesperson for Hochul's campaign, in an email. "New Yorkers need a governor who is laser focused on delivering on the issues that matter most from gun safety to abortion rights to affordability and that’s why Governor Hochul is running for a full term."</p> <p>Hochul came into office on the heels of scandal teeming around Cuomo and promised "a new era of transparency." A video featured prominently on Hochul's campaign website lists a number of steps the governor made in her first few months in office, including a commitment to government accountability. It ends with the slogan, "New governor. New day," attributed to an Albany Times Union editorial from her first day in office.</p> <p>Hochul won praise from corruption watchdogs for transparency efforts early in her administration, like directing state agencies to expedite the Freedom of Information process. But she has been dogged by ethical questions, including the indictment and resignation of her first lieutenant governor, Brian Benjamin, on federal corruption charges. Questions also swirl around Hochul’s secretive and generous negotiations over the construction of a new Buffalo Bills stadium with $850 million in tax dollars. The deal also raised questions about Hochul’s lack of recusal given her husband is a senior executive of a major stadium concessions company that has the contract at the Bills’ current stadium.</p> <p>Hochul addressed both topics at the June 7 debate, saying of Benjamin: “I promised the voters of New York and the people of the state that I would do everything I can to restore their faith in government and that was a setback.” She has said she undertook a stronger process with and is proud of her new lieutenant governor and running-mate, Antonio Delgado.</p> <p>On the Bills stadium, Hochul has said there is no conflict of interest between her family and the stadium deal because she and her husband comport to high personal ethical standards. “I worked hard to structure the best deal I could to the benefit of the taxpayers,” Hochul said at the debate. She did not comment on whether her husband's company, Delaware North, should be barred from seeking a concessions contract in the new stadium.</p> <p>In her short time in office, Hochul has been confronted with myriad challenges – from Hurricane Ida to the mass shooting in Buffalo, to the ongoing pandemic, housing affordability, inflation, the humanitarian crisis in prisons and jails, and a succession of U.S. Supreme Court rulings – to name only some. She has taken budgetary and legislative action on a number of fronts, including via the $220 billion state budget she negotiated and passed (though it was more than a week late).</p> <p>With her administration assembled and her first legislative session as governor behind her, Hochul now wants four years to execute her vision, though she has provided few details as to what her plans are beyond what she has already put in motion or pledged to do earlier in her tenure but didn’t yet accomplish.</p> <p>"I have put together a leadership team that is second to none, and it's mostly driven by women because they see the world very differently in a way that has not been part of a leadership team of the state in its history," she said at the June 7 debate.</p> <p><strong>Economy and Jobs</strong><br />Hochul's economic recovery plan is focused on affordability for taxpayers, support for small businesses, and investments in growing industries like healthcare, life-sciences, and renewable energy.</p> <p>She frequently talks about accelerating $1.2 billion in tax cuts to the middle class that were passed in previous years and enacting a temporary gas tax holiday this year. Hochul's website says the state is providing $100 million in relief to 200,000 small businesses and $1 billion in property tax rebates for 2 million households (checks from the state that prominently feature Hochul's name began to arrive in mailboxes this week, just ahead of primary day and amid early and absentee voting). It also touts a $75 million investment in childcare worker wages.</p> <p>Asked at the June 17 debate whether she would include new state money for the Excluded Workers Fund in next year’s budget, Hochul claimed it was no longer necessary. "Excluded worker program was designed intentionally to be immediate relief for people suffering from the effects of the pandemic when their jobs were lost," she said of the roughly $2 billion program largely for undocumented New Yorkers locked out of massive federal pandemic aid. "People who worked in hotels or hospitality or in the entertainment fields, the jobs are coming back. So the temporary relief granted at the time is not needed [again]."</p> <p>Earlier this year, Hochul pushed through generous subsidy packages for a number of industries. That included the Buffalo Bills stadium deal, a $1.3 billion, three-year film and TV tax credit extension, and a $10 billion tax break over 20 years for manufacturers of semiconductors used in microchips. Critics have decried the spending as giveaways to profitable corporations with few proven public benefits. Hochul has maintained the subsidies will create jobs and help spur regional economies throughout the state, while ensuring that industry and jobs stay in New York.</p> <p>Hochul is proposing or implementing a number of infrastructure projects likewise intended to create jobs, stimulate the economy, and meet regional needs. Many of them will require years and billions of dollars to complete, as well as buy-in from numerous entities and the public.</p> <p>She wants to build a new mass transit line connecting Brooklyn and Queens, using existing unused rails for one of three types of new transit. The volume of commuters between those two boroughs has surpassed travelers entering Manhattan from them, MTA Chair Janno Lieber, who supports the idea, told Gotham Gazette's Ben Max in a recent <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11399-max-politics-podcast-janno-lieber-state-mta-subways-buses">interview</a>.</p> <p>Hochul secured $1 billion to expand high speed internet in underserved areas and has discussed undoing the damage of past urban designs that blighted Black, Latino, and immigrant neighborhoods in the mid-twentieth century. Her website reads: "She is also focused on reconnecting neighborhoods across New York that were severed by asphalt highways, disproportionately impacting communities of color."</p> <p>Hochul has also offered ideas for or promised to advance major transit projects, while pledging better management of the MTA. She re-nominated Janno Lieber as Chair and CEO of the MTA and has both taken clear state ownership for the mass transit systems it runs while providing support and limiting interference. She has put forth the Interborough Express for a new transit line (rail or rapid bus, TBD) connecting parts of Brooklyn and Queens, and she's slightly altered and pushed ahead a plan to redevelopment Penn Station and the surrounding area, while also moving ahead on other mega-projects that are much further along like the next phase of the Second Avenue Subway, East Side Access, Gateway, Bronx MetroNorth expansion, and congestion pricing for Manhattan.</p> <p><strong>Health Care</strong><br />The center of Hochul's health-care plan is a $10 billion, five-year investment in health-care workforce development, to expand the labor market by 20%. The proposal includes $4 billion for wages and bonuses and incentives for recruiting workers from out of state. It also includes funding to make it easier to get a nursing degree.</p> <p>The state budget included a 5.4% cost of living adjustment for human services workers, which won praise from labor groups and providers. The budget also included a higher minimum wage for home care workers.</p> <p>Hochul was a strong supporter of continuing the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health-care workers as well as masks in school, for a time.</p> <p>"It's all about being ready, treating it like a military operation, and that's what I've already had to do during the time I've been governor," Hochul said at the June 17 debate of the ongoing pandemic recovery. She has said similar things with regard to preparing for additional covid surges or the next major disease outbreak.</p> <p>After pressure from public health experts and legislators, and <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11257-hochul-covid-review-cuomo-public-health">reporting from Gotham Gazette</a>, Hochul announced her administration was launching a full after-action review of state government's response to the pandemic. The governor has said that the review will inform preparedness for the future.</p> <p>Hochul has touted her support, as a member of Congress, for the Affordable Care Act and wants to reduce prescription drug prices. She has not publicly supported the controversial New York Health Act, which would create a statewide single-payer health-care system.</p> <p><strong>Guns and Public Safety</strong><br />Hochul has signed several pieces of gun control legislation since taking office. Most recently she enacted a package of ten laws advanced in response to mass shootings in Buffalo, Uvalde, and elsewhere that would raise the legal age to buy an assault rifle, strengthen the state's Red Flag law, and make it easier for police to forensically trace bullets, among other things.</p> <p>This past week Hochul vowed to call a special legislative session to pass additional gun control bills after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down New York's concealed carry law, and did so on Friday evening for June 30.</p> <p>Much of what Hochul implicitly and explicitly promises to do if elected for a full term is to implement the programs and laws she’s passed in her short but productive time as governor, including better implementation of the Red Flag law, other measures passed or about to pass on gun control, violence interruption, and community interventions.</p> <p>That also includes partnerships with other governors and New York City Mayor Eric Adams on a number of public safety initiatives, including on an interstate gun trafficking task force and Adams’ "Subway Safety Plan," which includes a greater police and social service-provider presence underground.</p> <p>As part of the state's partnership with New York City on "subway safety," Hochul rolled out so-called Safe Option Support teams, which pair social service workers with the NYPD to push unsheltered people to seek city services. Those teams, in part funded by the state, will be in action as soon as the state bids out the contracts, Hochul said.</p> <p>Her "Jails-to-Jobs" proposal focuses on education behind bars and re-entry employment. The proposal includes reorienting parole officers on career planning and coordinating DOCCS and the Department of Labor on workforce development reentry services. In the state budget, Hochul and the Legislature removed a ban on Tuition Assistance Program funding for incarcerated people.</p> <p>In her State of the State agenda this year, Hochul also said she would propose legislation to expand so-called educational release, and a state constitutional amendment to allow "public-private partnerships that would enable hybrid work-release programs within prisons" that are "voluntary" and "would pay good wages." These were included in the Executive Budget but didn't make it into the enacted budget, according to administration spokesperson Shams Tarek, making for the possibility of another attempt next year depending on the election results.</p> <p>Hochul also proposed to create some transitional housing for formerly incarcerated individuals and eliminate parole supervision fees, both of which did make it into the final budget.</p> <p>"For far too long, formerly incarcerated New Yorkers have been forced to deal with the lifelong consequences of criminal convictions that deny them a second chance to reclaim their role as an equal member of society," her website said. Despite these sentiments and a State of the State commitment to "push to pass" the Clean Slate Act this legislative session, the governor and state lawmakers failed to advance the legislation that would allow for criminal records sealing of most offenses after time served and an additional waiting period without re-offense.</p> <p>Hochul was a strong proponent of revising recent changes to the state's bail and discovery laws and age limits on criminal responsibility. Many of her proposed changes passed, including expanding the list of bail-eligible offenses. Hochul also successfully pushed for the expansion of Kendra's Law, which allows for court-ordered treatment for mental illness. Lawmakers did not give judges more full discretion to consider a defendant's "dangerousness" when setting bail, a measure supported by Hochul and others and rejected by many Democratic lawmakers and criminal justice advocates, but in passing some of Hochul’s proposals took steps in that direction given that judges can now incorporate defendants’ past arrest records and other factors.</p> <p><strong>Reproduction Rights</strong><br />Hochul has been a proponent of strong reproductive rights in New York, and became even more vocal since the draft U.S. Supreme Court decision threatening to overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked, a forecast that then came to fruition on Friday.</p> <p>At the end of the legislative session earlier this month, the state passed a number of protections for abortion seekers and providers, but fell short of passing an Equal Rights Amendment that would enshrine the right to abortion in the State Constitution – something Hochul called for "this session" in her State of the State agenda back in January.</p> <p>She also directed state agencies to change regulations to allow for abortions using medication to be conducted via telehealth and announced a state fund to pay for abortion services for those who cannot afford them, though she has said she does not support using state funds to help provide transportation and housing costs for those coming from out of state for abortions in New York.</p> <p>Hochul has called for the creation of a "Patient Bill of Rights" that would include information on abortion rights. In September, Hochul asked Facebook to post information on abortion and block misinformation. Outside of the letter, Hochul does not appear to have exerted significant pressure on the tech giant in public.</p> <p><strong>Housing</strong><br />Hochul's housing platform revolves around a $25 billion spending plan to create or preserve 100,000 affordable units over five years. That would include 10,000 units of supportive housing, which are designed to accommodate a range of needs of vulnerable populations and typically come with social services. Other details of the plan are fairly limited, but much of the money appears to go toward housing subsidies for new affordable housing or to extend the terms of existing affordable housing.</p> <p>She regularly touts relief for renters and extending the pandemic-era eviction moratorium last year (she then let it expire in January). The state budget passed in April included $800 million more for the Emergency Rental Assistance Programs, $250 million to go toward "pandemic-related" utility debt for low-income households, and $125 million for the Landlord Rental Assistance Program.</p> <p>Hochul has vowed to try again after failing to pass proposals that would lead to more (affordable) housing in the suburbs of New York City, which build very little new housing.</p> <p>Asked whether she would have signed Good Cause Eviction legislation -- which would set major limitations on both evictions and rent increases on the private rental market, and died in the Legislature to the chagrin of housing rights advocates -- Hochul told debate moderators on June 17: "I am focused on what the Legislature gives to us then I'll analyze it," adding of the rent relief programs, "as I said, let's keep focusing on getting the money out the door as quickly as we can."</p> <p><strong>Environment</strong><br />Hochul has set a number of clean energy goals, and, if elected to a full term, will be charged with implementing both her own promises and the mandates of the state’s major climate law, the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. As governor, Hochul has set out elements of a vision to reach the clean energy mandates of the CLCPA.</p> <p>Her State of the State set goals to invest in wind, solar, and hydro-electric power, double the state's energy storage by 2030, create net zero emissions in state investment portfolios by 2040, electrify the state fleet and school buses by 2035, and phase out fossil-fuel plants in New York City, among many others.</p> <p>In the state budget this year, lawmakers approved a Hochul-backed $1.3 billion increase to the Clean Water, Clean Air, and the $4.2 billion Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act, which will go before voters in a ballot referendum this November. Hochul has made a series of clean energy project announcements since becoming governor and has major projects to see to fruition if she is elected to a full term, including two transmission lines from Canada and upstate New York that will bring renewable energy to New York City.</p> <p>Hochul failed to find agreement with the Legislature on an environment-focused proposal to eliminate gas hook-ups in new building construction, which could make for a marquee plank if she is given a full term and returns to offer an agenda in January 2023.</p> <p>Hochul has refused to comment on whether she will sign a two-year moratorium on new fossil-fuel crypto-mining until after the election. Opponents have called attention to the thousands of dollars in campaign donations Hochul and Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado have received from Super PACs backed by crypto-currency executives who opposed moratoria on mining.</p> <p><strong>Education</strong><br />Hochul secured increases in School Aid in the budget this year, totaling $31.5 billion, including $1.5 billion in Foundation Aid increases, and hundreds of millions on pre-K and other programs. Hochul declined to seek any changes to school aid formulas despite critiques from some that the state sends too much money to wealthier districts and from others that the state should send more to those districts if they agree to reduce the property taxes that lead to the influx of local school funding that the former group of critiques says makes so much state aid unnecessary.</p> <p>The budget also included over half a billion dollars in operations funding for SUNY and CUNY and another $2.2 billion for capital projects at the public university systems.</p> <p>Hochul's campaign touts efforts to expanding early access to childhood education and plans for $2.1 billion in additional School Aid to go to public schools to hire more teachers, bus drivers, and support staff.</p> <p>Hochul sought a four-year extension of mayoral control of New York City schools but the Legislature only agreed to two years, in part because Mayor Eric Adams did not make a satisfactory case to legislators around his vision for the school system. Hochul is expected to sign that bill soon, while she has been non-committal about signing a companion bill that will mandate smaller class sizes in city schools.</p> <p>Hochul completely avoided the charged issue of charter schools, even as the state's cap on charter schools in New York City has been hit.</p> <p><strong>Transparency and Government Ethics</strong><br />When she came into office, Hochul promised a government-wide review of information sharing policies and the establishment of strong ethical guardrails. Shortly after, she directed state agency heads to report on their open government policies and ways to improve transparency, including speeding up the FOIL process. Good-government groups applauded that move, as well as her decision to publish a conflict of interest and recusal policy for matters involving the work of her husband. Then-Lt. Gov. Benjamin and Hochul's top aide, Secretary to the Governor Karen Persichilli Keogh, whose husband is a lobbyist at an influential firm, also signed recusal policies. All three are non-binding and self-enforced.</p> <p>Hochul also promised to require ethics training for state employees following the cascade of sexual harassment accusations against Cuomo.</p> <p>This legislative session, Hochul and the Legislature negotiated the replacement of JCOPE, the state's troubled ethics body. The new entity, like JCOPE, will be appointed by the governor and legislative leaders with a significant additional layer of input from the state's law school deans and other changes to improve its independence and teeth.</p> <p>While promising a more collaborative and open relationship with the Legislature, Hochul upset a number of lawmakers for introducing and forcing through major spending and policy changes in the final stages of budget negotiations. Good-government groups called the budget process one of the most secretive in recent memory.</p> <p>Hochul proposes instituting term limits on statewide elected officials but it did not pass.</p> <p>

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by Ethan Geringer-Sameth, reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

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<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/3-hochul-seeks-term.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Gov. Hochul (photo: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)</p> <hr /> <p>Governor Kathy Hochul is running in this year’s election, including this month’s Democratic primary, to win a first full term in the job she ascended to in August of last year. Hochul is seeking more time to fulfill promises she has made throughout her many months in office thus far and as she asks New Yorkers for their votes.</p> <p>Since she took office last August after the resignation of disgraced former Governor Andrew Cuomo, the state's first female governor has staked her early tenure on transforming the culture of Albany politics and shepherding New Yorkers through the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>"The people of this state want us to look forward and not backward. That's what my leadership is bringing to the people, to the state of New York, as their governor," Hochul said in the last of two Democratic primary <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11393-democratic-candidates-governor-debate-two-hochul-suozzi-williams">debates</a> attended by all three candidates on June 17. In the primary, Hochul is facing Rep. Tom Suozzi of Long Island and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.</p> <p>Hochul came into the race with significant advantages as the current office-holder with immense governmental and political powers, strong name recognition, and a massive fundraising advantage — Hochul has out-raised her nearest opponent four-fold and also has a strong lead in polls). If not for those, her fate as a candidate would more likely hinge on how well she has fulfilled her commitments so far and the vision she is setting for the coming months and years.</p> <p>Hochul’s campaign platform, unsurprisingly, reflects the political agenda she has outlined as governor. It draws largely on goals set in her Day One address, January State of the State agenda, and executive budget, making it more extensive than the published platforms of her Democratic opponents. But Hochul has made few commitments or proposals on the campaign trail that she hasn't already made as governor, and she has not set out a four-year vision.</p> <p>In stump speeches and official pronouncements the Buffalo native frequently rattles off a litany of accomplishments and works in progress. That list includes actions on healthcare, economic development, gun violence, education and childcare, government ethics, and more – many of them taken during the April state budget or the packed end of the legislative session that concluded early this month. As gun violence and abortion rights have dominated recent headlines, Hochul has discussed the package of gun control bills and reproductive health protections she signed at the close of the legislative session, while promising additional actions in light of Supreme Court rulings that just came down.</p> <p>“We got so much done that had been hampered and unfulfilled for a decade,” Hochul said in her first primary debate appearance <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11371-hochul-williams-suozzi-democratic-primary-debate-cbs">on June 7</a> of the gun control measures. "I've been the governor for nine months. I got it done in record time."</p> <p>Hochul regularly touts large, long-term initiatives passed in the budget like a $25 billion, five-year affordable housing plan or a $10 billion healthcare workforce development project.</p> <p>"You look at the short-term, the mid-term, and the long-term, and we are working hard every single day to try and solve this problem quickly," she said of the dearth of affordable housing around the state, during the June 7 debate. She also cited the recent enactment of legislation to foster hotel-to-housing conversions but would not comment on the failure of Good Cause Eviction legislation days earlier.</p> <p>Despite spending $13.1 million over the last six months and having more than $18 million on hand, Hochul’s campaign does not appear to have made the effort to update its website since the end of the legislative session on June 4, where it boasts a number of legislative goals that never came to pass and calls for the passage of items that did indeed make it to the finish line.</p> <p>For example, as of June 23 it said Hochul is "enacting two term limits for Statewide elected officials, banning outside income for Statewide elected officials, and replacing the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) with a truly independent ethics watchdog that answers to New Yorkers, not to politicians." The first two were not completed this year and, while Hochul and the Legislature established a new body to replace JCOPE, its members will continue to be nominated by Hochul and legislative leaders.</p> <p>"The progress Governor Hochul has made during her first ten months in office is just the beginning," wrote Jen Goodman, a spokesperson for Hochul's campaign, in an email. "New Yorkers need a governor who is laser focused on delivering on the issues that matter most from gun safety to abortion rights to affordability and that’s why Governor Hochul is running for a full term."</p> <p>Hochul came into office on the heels of scandal teeming around Cuomo and promised "a new era of transparency." A video featured prominently on Hochul's campaign website lists a number of steps the governor made in her first few months in office, including a commitment to government accountability. It ends with the slogan, "New governor. New day," attributed to an Albany Times Union editorial from her first day in office.</p> <p>Hochul won praise from corruption watchdogs for transparency efforts early in her administration, like directing state agencies to expedite the Freedom of Information process. But she has been dogged by ethical questions, including the indictment and resignation of her first lieutenant governor, Brian Benjamin, on federal corruption charges. Questions also swirl around Hochul’s secretive and generous negotiations over the construction of a new Buffalo Bills stadium with $850 million in tax dollars. The deal also raised questions about Hochul’s lack of recusal given her husband is a senior executive of a major stadium concessions company that has the contract at the Bills’ current stadium.</p> <p>Hochul addressed both topics at the June 7 debate, saying of Benjamin: “I promised the voters of New York and the people of the state that I would do everything I can to restore their faith in government and that was a setback.” She has said she undertook a stronger process with and is proud of her new lieutenant governor and running-mate, Antonio Delgado.</p> <p>On the Bills stadium, Hochul has said there is no conflict of interest between her family and the stadium deal because she and her husband comport to high personal ethical standards. “I worked hard to structure the best deal I could to the benefit of the taxpayers,” Hochul said at the debate. She did not comment on whether her husband's company, Delaware North, should be barred from seeking a concessions contract in the new stadium.</p> <p>In her short time in office, Hochul has been confronted with myriad challenges – from Hurricane Ida to the mass shooting in Buffalo, to the ongoing pandemic, housing affordability, inflation, the humanitarian crisis in prisons and jails, and a succession of U.S. Supreme Court rulings – to name only some. She has taken budgetary and legislative action on a number of fronts, including via the $220 billion state budget she negotiated and passed (though it was more than a week late).</p> <p>With her administration assembled and her first legislative session as governor behind her, Hochul now wants four years to execute her vision, though she has provided few details as to what her plans are beyond what she has already put in motion or pledged to do earlier in her tenure but didn’t yet accomplish.</p> <p>"I have put together a leadership team that is second to none, and it's mostly driven by women because they see the world very differently in a way that has not been part of a leadership team of the state in its history," she said at the June 7 debate.</p> <p><strong>Economy and Jobs</strong><br />Hochul's economic recovery plan is focused on affordability for taxpayers, support for small businesses, and investments in growing industries like healthcare, life-sciences, and renewable energy.</p> <p>She frequently talks about accelerating $1.2 billion in tax cuts to the middle class that were passed in previous years and enacting a temporary gas tax holiday this year. Hochul's website says the state is providing $100 million in relief to 200,000 small businesses and $1 billion in property tax rebates for 2 million households (checks from the state that prominently feature Hochul's name began to arrive in mailboxes this week, just ahead of primary day and amid early and absentee voting). It also touts a $75 million investment in childcare worker wages.</p> <p>Asked at the June 17 debate whether she would include new state money for the Excluded Workers Fund in next year’s budget, Hochul claimed it was no longer necessary. "Excluded worker program was designed intentionally to be immediate relief for people suffering from the effects of the pandemic when their jobs were lost," she said of the roughly $2 billion program largely for undocumented New Yorkers locked out of massive federal pandemic aid. "People who worked in hotels or hospitality or in the entertainment fields, the jobs are coming back. So the temporary relief granted at the time is not needed [again]."</p> <p>Earlier this year, Hochul pushed through generous subsidy packages for a number of industries. That included the Buffalo Bills stadium deal, a $1.3 billion, three-year film and TV tax credit extension, and a $10 billion tax break over 20 years for manufacturers of semiconductors used in microchips. Critics have decried the spending as giveaways to profitable corporations with few proven public benefits. Hochul has maintained the subsidies will create jobs and help spur regional economies throughout the state, while ensuring that industry and jobs stay in New York.</p> <p>Hochul is proposing or implementing a number of infrastructure projects likewise intended to create jobs, stimulate the economy, and meet regional needs. Many of them will require years and billions of dollars to complete, as well as buy-in from numerous entities and the public.</p> <p>She wants to build a new mass transit line connecting Brooklyn and Queens, using existing unused rails for one of three types of new transit. The volume of commuters between those two boroughs has surpassed travelers entering Manhattan from them, MTA Chair Janno Lieber, who supports the idea, told Gotham Gazette's Ben Max in a recent <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11399-max-politics-podcast-janno-lieber-state-mta-subways-buses">interview</a>.</p> <p>Hochul secured $1 billion to expand high speed internet in underserved areas and has discussed undoing the damage of past urban designs that blighted Black, Latino, and immigrant neighborhoods in the mid-twentieth century. Her website reads: "She is also focused on reconnecting neighborhoods across New York that were severed by asphalt highways, disproportionately impacting communities of color."</p> <p>Hochul has also offered ideas for or promised to advance major transit projects, while pledging better management of the MTA. She re-nominated Janno Lieber as Chair and CEO of the MTA and has both taken clear state ownership for the mass transit systems it runs while providing support and limiting interference. She has put forth the Interborough Express for a new transit line (rail or rapid bus, TBD) connecting parts of Brooklyn and Queens, and she's slightly altered and pushed ahead a plan to redevelopment Penn Station and the surrounding area, while also moving ahead on other mega-projects that are much further along like the next phase of the Second Avenue Subway, East Side Access, Gateway, Bronx MetroNorth expansion, and congestion pricing for Manhattan.</p> <p><strong>Health Care</strong><br />The center of Hochul's health-care plan is a $10 billion, five-year investment in health-care workforce development, to expand the labor market by 20%. The proposal includes $4 billion for wages and bonuses and incentives for recruiting workers from out of state. It also includes funding to make it easier to get a nursing degree.</p> <p>The state budget included a 5.4% cost of living adjustment for human services workers, which won praise from labor groups and providers. The budget also included a higher minimum wage for home care workers.</p> <p>Hochul was a strong supporter of continuing the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health-care workers as well as masks in school, for a time.</p> <p>"It's all about being ready, treating it like a military operation, and that's what I've already had to do during the time I've been governor," Hochul said at the June 17 debate of the ongoing pandemic recovery. She has said similar things with regard to preparing for additional covid surges or the next major disease outbreak.</p> <p>After pressure from public health experts and legislators, and <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11257-hochul-covid-review-cuomo-public-health">reporting from Gotham Gazette</a>, Hochul announced her administration was launching a full after-action review of state government's response to the pandemic. The governor has said that the review will inform preparedness for the future.</p> <p>Hochul has touted her support, as a member of Congress, for the Affordable Care Act and wants to reduce prescription drug prices. She has not publicly supported the controversial New York Health Act, which would create a statewide single-payer health-care system.</p> <p><strong>Guns and Public Safety</strong><br />Hochul has signed several pieces of gun control legislation since taking office. Most recently she enacted a package of ten laws advanced in response to mass shootings in Buffalo, Uvalde, and elsewhere that would raise the legal age to buy an assault rifle, strengthen the state's Red Flag law, and make it easier for police to forensically trace bullets, among other things.</p> <p>This past week Hochul vowed to call a special legislative session to pass additional gun control bills after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down New York's concealed carry law, and did so on Friday evening for June 30.</p> <p>Much of what Hochul implicitly and explicitly promises to do if elected for a full term is to implement the programs and laws she’s passed in her short but productive time as governor, including better implementation of the Red Flag law, other measures passed or about to pass on gun control, violence interruption, and community interventions.</p> <p>That also includes partnerships with other governors and New York City Mayor Eric Adams on a number of public safety initiatives, including on an interstate gun trafficking task force and Adams’ "Subway Safety Plan," which includes a greater police and social service-provider presence underground.</p> <p>As part of the state's partnership with New York City on "subway safety," Hochul rolled out so-called Safe Option Support teams, which pair social service workers with the NYPD to push unsheltered people to seek city services. Those teams, in part funded by the state, will be in action as soon as the state bids out the contracts, Hochul said.</p> <p>Her "Jails-to-Jobs" proposal focuses on education behind bars and re-entry employment. The proposal includes reorienting parole officers on career planning and coordinating DOCCS and the Department of Labor on workforce development reentry services. In the state budget, Hochul and the Legislature removed a ban on Tuition Assistance Program funding for incarcerated people.</p> <p>In her State of the State agenda this year, Hochul also said she would propose legislation to expand so-called educational release, and a state constitutional amendment to allow "public-private partnerships that would enable hybrid work-release programs within prisons" that are "voluntary" and "would pay good wages." These were included in the Executive Budget but didn't make it into the enacted budget, according to administration spokesperson Shams Tarek, making for the possibility of another attempt next year depending on the election results.</p> <p>Hochul also proposed to create some transitional housing for formerly incarcerated individuals and eliminate parole supervision fees, both of which did make it into the final budget.</p> <p>"For far too long, formerly incarcerated New Yorkers have been forced to deal with the lifelong consequences of criminal convictions that deny them a second chance to reclaim their role as an equal member of society," her website said. Despite these sentiments and a State of the State commitment to "push to pass" the Clean Slate Act this legislative session, the governor and state lawmakers failed to advance the legislation that would allow for criminal records sealing of most offenses after time served and an additional waiting period without re-offense.</p> <p>Hochul was a strong proponent of revising recent changes to the state's bail and discovery laws and age limits on criminal responsibility. Many of her proposed changes passed, including expanding the list of bail-eligible offenses. Hochul also successfully pushed for the expansion of Kendra's Law, which allows for court-ordered treatment for mental illness. Lawmakers did not give judges more full discretion to consider a defendant's "dangerousness" when setting bail, a measure supported by Hochul and others and rejected by many Democratic lawmakers and criminal justice advocates, but in passing some of Hochul’s proposals took steps in that direction given that judges can now incorporate defendants’ past arrest records and other factors.</p> <p><strong>Reproduction Rights</strong><br />Hochul has been a proponent of strong reproductive rights in New York, and became even more vocal since the draft U.S. Supreme Court decision threatening to overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked, a forecast that then came to fruition on Friday.</p> <p>At the end of the legislative session earlier this month, the state passed a number of protections for abortion seekers and providers, but fell short of passing an Equal Rights Amendment that would enshrine the right to abortion in the State Constitution – something Hochul called for "this session" in her State of the State agenda back in January.</p> <p>She also directed state agencies to change regulations to allow for abortions using medication to be conducted via telehealth and announced a state fund to pay for abortion services for those who cannot afford them, though she has said she does not support using state funds to help provide transportation and housing costs for those coming from out of state for abortions in New York.</p> <p>Hochul has called for the creation of a "Patient Bill of Rights" that would include information on abortion rights. In September, Hochul asked Facebook to post information on abortion and block misinformation. Outside of the letter, Hochul does not appear to have exerted significant pressure on the tech giant in public.</p> <p><strong>Housing</strong><br />Hochul's housing platform revolves around a $25 billion spending plan to create or preserve 100,000 affordable units over five years. That would include 10,000 units of supportive housing, which are designed to accommodate a range of needs of vulnerable populations and typically come with social services. Other details of the plan are fairly limited, but much of the money appears to go toward housing subsidies for new affordable housing or to extend the terms of existing affordable housing.</p> <p>She regularly touts relief for renters and extending the pandemic-era eviction moratorium last year (she then let it expire in January). The state budget passed in April included $800 million more for the Emergency Rental Assistance Programs, $250 million to go toward "pandemic-related" utility debt for low-income households, and $125 million for the Landlord Rental Assistance Program.</p> <p>Hochul has vowed to try again after failing to pass proposals that would lead to more (affordable) housing in the suburbs of New York City, which build very little new housing.</p> <p>Asked whether she would have signed Good Cause Eviction legislation -- which would set major limitations on both evictions and rent increases on the private rental market, and died in the Legislature to the chagrin of housing rights advocates -- Hochul told debate moderators on June 17: "I am focused on what the Legislature gives to us then I'll analyze it," adding of the rent relief programs, "as I said, let's keep focusing on getting the money out the door as quickly as we can."</p> <p><strong>Environment</strong><br />Hochul has set a number of clean energy goals, and, if elected to a full term, will be charged with implementing both her own promises and the mandates of the state’s major climate law, the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. As governor, Hochul has set out elements of a vision to reach the clean energy mandates of the CLCPA.</p> <p>Her State of the State set goals to invest in wind, solar, and hydro-electric power, double the state's energy storage by 2030, create net zero emissions in state investment portfolios by 2040, electrify the state fleet and school buses by 2035, and phase out fossil-fuel plants in New York City, among many others.</p> <p>In the state budget this year, lawmakers approved a Hochul-backed $1.3 billion increase to the Clean Water, Clean Air, and the $4.2 billion Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act, which will go before voters in a ballot referendum this November. Hochul has made a series of clean energy project announcements since becoming governor and has major projects to see to fruition if she is elected to a full term, including two transmission lines from Canada and upstate New York that will bring renewable energy to New York City.</p> <p>Hochul failed to find agreement with the Legislature on an environment-focused proposal to eliminate gas hook-ups in new building construction, which could make for a marquee plank if she is given a full term and returns to offer an agenda in January 2023.</p> <p>Hochul has refused to comment on whether she will sign a two-year moratorium on new fossil-fuel crypto-mining until after the election. Opponents have called attention to the thousands of dollars in campaign donations Hochul and Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado have received from Super PACs backed by crypto-currency executives who opposed moratoria on mining.</p> <p><strong>Education</strong><br />Hochul secured increases in School Aid in the budget this year, totaling $31.5 billion, including $1.5 billion in Foundation Aid increases, and hundreds of millions on pre-K and other programs. Hochul declined to seek any changes to school aid formulas despite critiques from some that the state sends too much money to wealthier districts and from others that the state should send more to those districts if they agree to reduce the property taxes that lead to the influx of local school funding that the former group of critiques says makes so much state aid unnecessary.</p> <p>The budget also included over half a billion dollars in operations funding for SUNY and CUNY and another $2.2 billion for capital projects at the public university systems.</p> <p>Hochul's campaign touts efforts to expanding early access to childhood education and plans for $2.1 billion in additional School Aid to go to public schools to hire more teachers, bus drivers, and support staff.</p> <p>Hochul sought a four-year extension of mayoral control of New York City schools but the Legislature only agreed to two years, in part because Mayor Eric Adams did not make a satisfactory case to legislators around his vision for the school system. Hochul is expected to sign that bill soon, while she has been non-committal about signing a companion bill that will mandate smaller class sizes in city schools.</p> <p>Hochul completely avoided the charged issue of charter schools, even as the state's cap on charter schools in New York City has been hit.</p> <p><strong>Transparency and Government Ethics</strong><br />When she came into office, Hochul promised a government-wide review of information sharing policies and the establishment of strong ethical guardrails. Shortly after, she directed state agency heads to report on their open government policies and ways to improve transparency, including speeding up the FOIL process. Good-government groups applauded that move, as well as her decision to publish a conflict of interest and recusal policy for matters involving the work of her husband. Then-Lt. Gov. Benjamin and Hochul's top aide, Secretary to the Governor Karen Persichilli Keogh, whose husband is a lobbyist at an influential firm, also signed recusal policies. All three are non-binding and self-enforced.</p> <p>Hochul also promised to require ethics training for state employees following the cascade of sexual harassment accusations against Cuomo.</p> <p>This legislative session, Hochul and the Legislature negotiated the replacement of JCOPE, the state's troubled ethics body. The new entity, like JCOPE, will be appointed by the governor and legislative leaders with a significant additional layer of input from the state's law school deans and other changes to improve its independence and teeth.</p> <p>While promising a more collaborative and open relationship with the Legislature, Hochul upset a number of lawmakers for introducing and forcing through major spending and policy changes in the final stages of budget negotiations. Good-government groups called the budget process one of the most secretive in recent memory.</p> <p>Hochul proposes instituting term limits on statewide elected officials but it did not pass.</p> <p>

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by Ethan Geringer-Sameth, reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
Max Politics Podcast: Harry Wilson's Closing Argument in the Republican Primary for Governor 2022-06-24T13:00:00+00:00 2022-06-24T13:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11406-max-politics-podcast-harry-wilson-campaign-republican-governor Gotham Gazette ggstaff@gothamgazette.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/max-politics-harrywilson-600.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Harry Wilson (photo: @harrywilson)</p> <hr /> <p><strong>June 24, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Harry Wilson's Closing Argument in the Republican Primary for Governor<br /></strong></p> <p>Harry Wilson, a businessman running for the Republican nomination for New York Governor in this year's election, joined the show to discuss his campaign, the state of the race, and his closing argument for GOP primary voters. Wilson outlined some of his business experience, lessons from his 2010 run for Comptroller, how he's talking about electability on the campaign trail, what separates him from his opponents, and more.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax">@TweetBenMax</a>. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the episode wherever you get your podcasts at Max Politics.</p> <p class="feed-readmore"><a target="_blank" href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11406-max-politics-podcast-harry-wilson-campaign-republican-governor">Read More ...</a></p> <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/max-politics-harrywilson-600.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Harry Wilson (photo: @harrywilson)</p> <hr /> <p><strong>June 24, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Harry Wilson's Closing Argument in the Republican Primary for Governor<br /></strong></p> <p>Harry Wilson, a businessman running for the Republican nomination for New York Governor in this year's election, joined the show to discuss his campaign, the state of the race, and his closing argument for GOP primary voters. Wilson outlined some of his business experience, lessons from his 2010 run for Comptroller, how he's talking about electability on the campaign trail, what separates him from his opponents, and more.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax">@TweetBenMax</a>. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the episode wherever you get your podcasts at Max Politics.</p> <p class="feed-readmore"><a target="_blank" href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11406-max-politics-podcast-harry-wilson-campaign-republican-governor">Read More ...</a></p> Republican Gubernatorial Primary Debates Rife with Misinformation about 2020 Election, January 6 Insurrection, Covid, and More 2022-06-25T04:00:00+00:00 2022-06-25T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11412-republican-primary-ny-governor-debates-rife-misinformation Samar Khurshid samarkhurshid@gmail.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/gop-primary-debate.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Republican primary debate in race for NY Governor (photo: pool)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The four Republican candidates running for governor have faced off in three debates ahead of the June 28 primary, each attempting to set themselves apart from the others and from the Democratic governor, Kathy Hochul, who they want to replace. But in their appeals to the party faithful, three of the candidates have indulged in misinformation, half-truths, and outright lies about the 2020 presidential election, the January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection, the covid vaccine, criminal justice reforms in New York, Critical Race Theory, and more.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York holds closed primaries so only Republicans are able to cast a vote for the gubernatorial nomination. The task currently at hand for the four candidates -- Rep. Lee Zeldin, Harry Wilson, Rob Astorino, and Andrew Giuliani -- is not necessarily to convince the broader electorate about their qualifications and vision, but dedicated Republicans about their adherence to party orthodoxy.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wilson has been willing to break from the party line and is running as an independent “outsider,” but, much like the party’s standard bearer, former President Donald Trump, the other Republican candidates for New York governor have been playing it especially fast-and-loose with the facts as they make their campaign pitches to their base. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Candidates do what they think will get them elected,” said John Kaehny, executive director of Reinvent Albany, a government reform group. “As a group, the GOP candidates for NY governor think GOP voters do not care if they lie. What else is there to say?”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Three of the candidates – Zeldin, Giuliani and Astorino – have either distorted the truth or outright lied about things including the results of the 2020 presidential election was fairly decided, the effectiveness of the covid vaccine, the link between state bail reforms and increasing violent crime, and state abortion law. Wilson has skewed far closer to the truth, while treading softly on some of the more controversial issues in an apparent effort to not repel the Republican voter base.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Two of the candidates – Zeldin and Giuliani – have taken pains to demonstrate their loyalty to Trump, even as the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol has been holding public hearings concurrently with the New York primary and painstakingly showing the then-president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They have also emulated him. For instance, Zeldin has given his opponents quippy monikers – “Never Trumper” Harry Wilson and “Rolex Rob” Astorino – just like the former president has been known to do with his rivals and critics. Giuliani has gone as far as publicly insisting that Trump won the 2020 presidential election, a denial of reality in the mode of his father’s work as Trump’s advisor and attorney. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Right now, the Republican Party is allowing the toxin of Donald Trump, and what he did and his lies, to continue to infect the party and not standing up against it.” said Republican U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, on </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/06/podcasts/the-daily/cheney-trump-gop-jan-6.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Daily podcast</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> hosted by the New York Times, amid the January 6 hearings. Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, was ousted from her Republican leadership position for challenging Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While Wilson has largely avoided the same lies and misinformation spread by the other three, all four have severely exaggerated when discussing a focus issue of the campaign on both sides of the aisle: the impact of state bail reforms on the violent crime surge of the last two years. The Republican candidates have repeatedly claimed without evidence that bail reforms approved by the Democrat-controlled state Legislature and then-Governor Andrew Cuomo have caused the gun violence spikes of 2020 and 2021.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While inaccurate, that notion has been promoted by Democrats as well, including New York City Mayor Eric Adams (a former Republican) and Rep. Tom Suozzi, who is running in the Democratic primary for governor. When pressed on his claimed connections between bail reform and the increase in gun violence, Suozzi has backed away from calling it causal. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“These are debates for the party faithful for both parties,” said Blair Horner, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, a good government group, about the primary debates on both sides of the aisle. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“What’s really going to matter is how they defend their proposals going into the general, because there, the myths and lies don't usually hold up, because you're appealing to the vast majority of voters,” he added.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here are some of the lies and mistruths that the Republican candidates have shared — none of the campaign responded to requests for comment for this story:</span></p> <p><b>Trump's 'Big Lie'<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Former President Trump’s ‘big lie’ that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him through widespread fraud has continued to hold purchase among the president’s most loyal supporters. Trump used that lie to whip up the crowd that eventually stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021 to prevent Joe Biden’s victory from being certified, while Trump and his team were taking steps behind the scenes to illegally overturn the results of the election. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The lie hasn’t gone away,” said U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, on the fourth day of the congressional hearings on the January 6 insurrection. “It is corrupting our democratic institutions. People who believe that lie are now seeking positions of public trust.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Among those people is Andrew Giuliani, who said at the </span><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11377-gop-governor-primary-new-york-wilson-giuliani-zeldin-wilson" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">second primary debate</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> on June 20, “I believe that Donald Trump on November 3, 2020 was reelected.”  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zeldin, who was among the Republicans in Congress who voted against certifying the election later the same day as the Capitol riot, has also cast doubt on whether the election was fairly decided, pointing to legal challenges in Pennsylvania, which was one of the most consequential states in the election. “It's something that we’ll never for sure know the exact consequence of in Pennsylvania, allowing one county to have different rules than another county or not allowing the close observation of the opening of ballots,” he said at the second debate. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Astorino was less direct, but nonetheless said the 2020 election raised concerns about election integrity despite claims of voter fraud being repeatedly debunked, dozens of court cases being dismissed, and the Trump team failing to ever provide evidence of its claims. “Unfortunately, Joe Biden is our president because we're dealing with this right now,” Astorino said. “I'll tell you what was stolen from us. What was stolen from us was our belief in the election system right now.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The problem was every state, every Republican governor, every Republican legislature, every state, all 50 sent in their certified results. So there really wasn't anything that they could do other than accept those results,” Astorino lamented of the 2020 election results and the role of the Congress and Vice President Mike Pence. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wilson, alone among the Republican candidates for governor, said, “So I believe Joe Biden was duly elected president of the United States. I believe that we Republicans need to move on and focus on addressing the problems that really hurt working families today.”</span></p> <p><b>Trump’s Role in January 6<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">The former president spent weeks urging his base to reject the election results that showed Biden had won the presidency and called on them to rally in Washington D.C. on January 6 under the banner of “Stop the Steal.” At a rally that day, before the electoral votes based on certified state results would be counted by Congress, the president </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/10/us/trump-speech-riot.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">addressed</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> the many thousands of people assembled and told them to “fight much harder” and to walk to the Capitol and “show strength” to Congress. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At one point Trump did say, “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But he later followed that up by saying Biden would be an “illegitimate president” if the election was certified. He told the crowd, “We fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Most Republicans, including the candidates for New York governor, have been wary of assigning blame to Trump for what took place after: the violent attack on the Capitol building in which rioters invaded congressional offices with the intention of harming members of Congress, including Republicans, and Vice President Pence, who Trump repeatedly vilified leading up to and on January 6, 2021. (Pence endorsed Zeldin this week, while Trump has remained on the sidelines of the primary given ties to both Zeldin and Giuliani.)</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Astorino is the only one who faulted Trump. “I do think he bears some responsibility,” he said of the former president, at the first debate. But he went on to describe the January 6 congressional hearings as “complete and utter political theater in Washington, D.C.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The rest of the candidates were either circumspect or even praised the president. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I think President Trump was a great president and honestly, I'm hopeful that he runs again,” Giuliani said at the first debate.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zeldin parroted select portions of the then-president’s words. “President Trump told his supporters to go peacefully and patriotically to the Capitol and if President Trump wants to run [in 2024], he should run and I believe that he will be the Republican nominee and he'll win,” he said at the debate. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wilson did not say the president was to blame. “Mr. Trump did not invade the Capitol,” he said. “The people who broke the law by invading the Capitol should be prosecuted and that's where the responsibility lies,” Wilson added, even as the January 6 committee, in part led by Republican Rep. Cheney, had already been outlining its case that Trump’s deeds had caused that law-breaking.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At one January 6 committee hearing, Cheney </span><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgCHYe7Dwhs" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">pointed</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to various actions Trump took that would make him liable for the Capitol riot: He “falsely declared victory” in the election. His campaign launched “a fraudulent media campaign” persuading millions of Americans that the election was stolen from him. He launched a “fraudulent fundraising campaign” based on those false claims. He and his allies “corruptly attempted” to pressure Pence to reject the electoral votes and he “provoked a violent mob” to pursue Pence. The then-president “oversaw and personally participated” in an effort to “vilify, threaten and pressure election officials” and legislators to change the election results. And, he worked with the Republican National Committee to create fake electoral slates and send those to federal officials. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“These efforts were not some minor or ad hoc enterprise concocted overnight,” Cheney said. “Each required planning and coordination. Some required significant funding. All of them were overseen by President Trump.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“What happened on January 6 was an attempted coup and it failed, thankfully,” said NYPIRG’s Horner.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Horner said questions about whether Trump’s actions amounted to illegal behavior will ultimately fall to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. “I'm not in a place to know if he broke the law, but certainly he broke the political norm in our democracy that, for over two centuries, when you lose an election, you gracefully concede and pass the torch on to the winner,” he said. “He refuses to do that.” </span></p> <p><b>COVID-19 and Vaccination<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Giuliani is the only candidate who has decided against receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and was therefore prevented from appearing in person at the first two debates. He was on stage for the final debate hosted by Newsmax. But all the candidates have sowed doubts about vaccines, the nature of COVID-19 as a highly-transmissible and deadly disease, and the reasoning behind covid mandates, even as the pandemic is far from over.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zeldin in particular has railed against the push for as many people as possible to get “the covid shot,” as he typically refers to it, making it more an issue of government overreach than public health, though he is not alone in that among the candidates. Often, the candidates have focused on the personal freedom to not be vaccinated, typically ignoring the various vaccine mandates required of children to attend school that have helped prevent outbreaks of a variety of deadly diseases — creating widespread adult immunity via childhood vaccinations was not possible with COVID-19 given its novelty.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Astorino, among others, publicly questioned the efficacy of the covid vaccines because people can still contract and become ill with covid after being inoculated, leaving out that in the vast majority of cases the vaccines prevent severe illness or death.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We're no longer in a pandemic. We've got to stop acting like we are,” Astorino said at the second debate. He also added, “We know, as the CDC has said, [the vaccine] does not stop the spread at all. We know that. Neither do those masks. We know that.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though the CDC did say that vaccinated people could still be infected with covid (particularly the Delta variant), the agency has </span><a href="https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/s1029-Vaccination-Offers-Higher-Protection.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">emphasized</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that those people are far less likely to get the virus than unvaccinated people and will experience less severe symptoms than if they weren’t vaccinated. There are also countless studies that show masking is extremely effective in preventing transmission of covid.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zeldin too questioned the vaccine even though, no matter the disease, vaccines have never been 100% effective. “The definition of vaccine has changed,” he insisted at the second debate. “I used to remember that if you get a vaccine, that means that you have immunity to what they're giving you that shot for but all of a sudden, suddenly with the COVID vaccine, the definition changes because even if you get it, you can still contract COVID.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I think it's a fundamentally different disease, and that's why I think it should be treated differently than existing vaccination requirements,” said Wilson, who did not explain how he sees it as fundamentally different and said the covid vaccine should not be mandated for children under the age of 5. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I think it's unfortunate that any elected official would discourage people from being vaccinated against COVID-19,” said Dr. Jay Varma, an international infectious disease expert who was Mayor Bill de Blasio’s top advisor for the city’s public health response for most of the pandemic, beginning in April 2020. “The overwhelming consensus of public health experts, government or university, is that COVID vaccines are safe and effective.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When asked, the candidates said they support required vaccinations for diseases like chicken pox and measles for children to attend schools, but would not add covid vaccination to that list, raising unfounded concerns about its rapid development and potential side effects. Giuliani even questioned, without any evidence at all, whether the vaccine could hamper the reproductive system of his young daughter as he insisted that he would not give her the vaccine.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I am not a biologist, nor am I an epidemiologist,” he said as he insisted he would need to see more data on the vaccine. “I think we've completely politicized the science when it comes to this at this point.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As Varma pointed out, the diseases for which vaccines are currently required in schools caused fewer deaths before those vaccines were available than covid already has in children. “We know that covid causes severe illness and death in children,” he said. “Any deaths in a child should be something that we try to avoid as much as possible.” He also noted that if children are sick then their parents stay home from work, which has consequences for the economy as well. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">All the Republican gubernatorial candidates have also promised to lift vaccination requirements for public sector workers and said that they would rehire state workers that were fired for refusing to get the covid vaccine. None spoke of the value of encouraging widespread vaccination in order to limit covid spread and reduce the most severe outcomes as much as possible, nor did they mention the possible risk of outbreaks from bringing those workers back to the workplace. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Varma said the vaccine mandate widely increased the vaccination rate in the city and state, the benefit of which was significantly reducing the severity of illness and death among those who still contracted it. “We know that this virus continues to evolve and cause surges, and during every one of those surges, the single strongest protective factor is getting vaccinated,” he said. “So the best way to maintain that level of protection in New York is to have this mandate.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Earlier this week, the CDC recommended that children between the ages of six months and 5 years should get vaccinated against COVID-19 with the newly-approved dosage, declaring it safe and effective. But at the second debate, three of the Republican candidates would not recommend that to their supporters, saying it was a decision best left to parents. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Only Wilson encouraged people to get vaccinated and vaccinate their children. “I personally am vaccinated, boosted. I encourage people to do so,” he said. He added a caveat: “That is their choice and should not be required by the government, particularly for young children.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Astorino also said that he has not vaccinated his children against covid. “My kids aren't vaccinated. My wife and I decided they don't need it. We follow the science,” he said, without elaborating on what science indicates children should not be vaccinated against COVID-19. “You're a parent, you can decide for your own children.”</span></p> <p><b>Abortion in New York<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Of the four candidates, only Wilson is pro-choice, supporting abortion rights for women. Like on other subjects where has differs from the other three candidates, he has voiced some caveats, such as saying he has some misgivings about New York’s law on abortion, which he believes “goes too far” in allowing non-doctor medical professionals to provide abortion care.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The candidates have all expressed concern about the state’s Reproductive Health Act, which was approved in 2019 and codified the protections of Roe v. Wade into state law. The legislation is particularly important in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling handed down on Friday that overturned Roe v. Wade. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The candidates have repeatedly said they oppose so-called “partial-birth late-term abortions” that are allowed under the law, but partial-birth is a political formulation, </span><a href="https://www.npr.org/2006/02/21/5168163/partial-birth-abortion-separating-fact-from-spin" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">not a medical term</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, and was created by anti-abortion activists. The state law does allow abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy, but only if the mother’s life or health are at risk or if the fetus is not viable. Those abortions occur very rarely, but Zeldin, Giuliani, and Astorino regularly make it appear that they are common and that Democrats in New York favor late-term and “partial-birth” abortions.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Astorino, in particular, criticized abortions “going to the moment of birth,” even though that virtually never happens.</span></p> <p><b>Critical Race Theory<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York’s K-12 schools curriculum </span><a href="https://nystateofpolitics.com/state-of-politics/new-york/politics/2021/06/17/ny-regents-chancellor--new-push-to-teach-diversity-isn-t-critical-race-theory" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">does not include Critical Race Theory</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, a legal theory about ingrained racial bias in U.S. institutions that is taught in college-level courses and beyond, mostly law schools. But the state Board of Regents has launched a “</span><a href="https://www.regents.nysed.gov/common/regents/files/521bra7.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Diversity, Equity and Inclusion</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">” initiative aimed at inclusive and culturally responsive teaching and learning in schools.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The state’s DEI framework instructs school to consider acknowledging the role of racism and bigotry in American history, encourages family and community engagement, promotes a diverse school workforce, promotes student wellness and anti-discrimination policies, and more. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Republican candidates, except for Wilson, have all equated the teaching of the history of racism and the DEI initiative as tantamount to teaching CRT, and wielded that false allegation, just as other Republicans have used CRT nationally, to inflame racial tensions and stir up white parents about what their children are being ‘indoctrinated’ with.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">CRT has become a controversial issue used by the right, a rhetorical tool in last year’s and this year’s elections to appeal to white voters. Those who oppose CRT say that it is used to indoctrinate children with “woke” ideology, convince children that all white people are racist, and erode parents’ rights in education. Dozens of states have even moved to ban CRT and, in their zeal, have also sought to prohibit broader anti-racist and culturally sensitive teaching. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York Republicans are no exception. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I would look at ‘Diversity, Equity, Inclusion,’ and I would call it what it is, which is Critical Race Theory 101,” Giuliani falsely said at the second debate. When asked, he could not define CRT or present an instance of when it was taught in schools. He also called equity a “dangerous concept” in education, conflating it with the idea that all students must have equal outcomes. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“They keep coming up with new names for Critical Race Theory,” said Zeldin, also equating it with the DEI initiative. In May last year, when the federal Department of Education issued a draft rule about culturally responsive teaching in schools, Zeldin associated it with CRT. “Critical Race Theory is an indoctrination of kids that has no business in America's classrooms,” he </span><a href="https://twitter.com/RepLeeZeldin/status/1388596951130718212?s=20&amp;t=X-_AxVys3JpLWLk9E5WLMg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">tweeted</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. “This isn't teaching children how to combat racism &amp; discrimination. It's a gross attempt to devalue, divide &amp; dumb down our children.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Astorino had a similar take. “[T]hings like CRT, which is seeping everywhere, is obviously when you divide people and tell people you're bad, you're a racist if you don't agree. No, that's not what we should be teaching,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wilson largely side-stepped the question but said, “I look at it quite differently…which is that I think we have to celebrate the diversity of America but not go into these labels that don't really mean anything and are loaded terms.”</span></p> <p><b>Bail Reform and Crime<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">In 2019, the Democrat-led state Legislature passed a major reform to state bail laws, eliminating cash bail for a series of misdemeanors and nonviolent offenses. Before and since its passage, conservatives and some moderates said it would lead to mayhem and have alleged that has transpired, even without facts to back up such claims.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The law was revisited in early 2020, just months after going into effect, and again this year by state lawmakers, partially rolling the reforms back each time. The changes were largely based on hearsay, anecdotes, and lies, but the chorus had become deafening and violent crime began to spike amid the pandemic. But there has remained a very limited connection between bail reform and violent crime.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At every turn, however, conservatives, some in law enforcement, and many moderate Democrats have pegged bail reform as the major, even singular, cause for the increase in violent crime despite </span><a href="https://www.timesunion.com/state/article/GOP-calls-into-question-state-s-actions-on-bail-16768206.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">data</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> showing that there is “</span><a href="https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/facts-bail-reform-and-crime-rates-new-york-state" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">no clear connection</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">,” as the Brennan Center for Justice concluded. Most of those critics of the law have also ignored the broader reality that violent crime spiked during the pandemic across the country and that many states, including those with Republican-led legislatures and governors, have not passed any similar legislation but have seen violent crime on the rise either way. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Each of the Republican candidates for governor have promised that they will immediately move to repeal the bail reform – and a host of other criminal justice reforms –  though it would be a difficult task given Democrats control the Legislature by large margins.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Even Governor Kathy Hochul wanted broader changes to the bail law – including allowing judges to consider a “dangerousness standard” when setting bail – but those changes were rejected by Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, though both houses did agree to some fairly significant changes to how bail can be assessed.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Misinformation is bad, no matter what framework you're in,” Horner said. “It's important to tell people the truth, to offer evidence to buttress your policy claims. That's better for democracy and better for the electorate, even if it is the party faithful.”</span></p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, senior reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/gop-primary-debate.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Republican primary debate in race for NY Governor (photo: pool)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The four Republican candidates running for governor have faced off in three debates ahead of the June 28 primary, each attempting to set themselves apart from the others and from the Democratic governor, Kathy Hochul, who they want to replace. But in their appeals to the party faithful, three of the candidates have indulged in misinformation, half-truths, and outright lies about the 2020 presidential election, the January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection, the covid vaccine, criminal justice reforms in New York, Critical Race Theory, and more.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York holds closed primaries so only Republicans are able to cast a vote for the gubernatorial nomination. The task currently at hand for the four candidates -- Rep. Lee Zeldin, Harry Wilson, Rob Astorino, and Andrew Giuliani -- is not necessarily to convince the broader electorate about their qualifications and vision, but dedicated Republicans about their adherence to party orthodoxy.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wilson has been willing to break from the party line and is running as an independent “outsider,” but, much like the party’s standard bearer, former President Donald Trump, the other Republican candidates for New York governor have been playing it especially fast-and-loose with the facts as they make their campaign pitches to their base. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Candidates do what they think will get them elected,” said John Kaehny, executive director of Reinvent Albany, a government reform group. “As a group, the GOP candidates for NY governor think GOP voters do not care if they lie. What else is there to say?”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Three of the candidates – Zeldin, Giuliani and Astorino – have either distorted the truth or outright lied about things including the results of the 2020 presidential election was fairly decided, the effectiveness of the covid vaccine, the link between state bail reforms and increasing violent crime, and state abortion law. Wilson has skewed far closer to the truth, while treading softly on some of the more controversial issues in an apparent effort to not repel the Republican voter base.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Two of the candidates – Zeldin and Giuliani – have taken pains to demonstrate their loyalty to Trump, even as the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol has been holding public hearings concurrently with the New York primary and painstakingly showing the then-president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They have also emulated him. For instance, Zeldin has given his opponents quippy monikers – “Never Trumper” Harry Wilson and “Rolex Rob” Astorino – just like the former president has been known to do with his rivals and critics. Giuliani has gone as far as publicly insisting that Trump won the 2020 presidential election, a denial of reality in the mode of his father’s work as Trump’s advisor and attorney. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Right now, the Republican Party is allowing the toxin of Donald Trump, and what he did and his lies, to continue to infect the party and not standing up against it.” said Republican U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, on </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/06/podcasts/the-daily/cheney-trump-gop-jan-6.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Daily podcast</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> hosted by the New York Times, amid the January 6 hearings. Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, was ousted from her Republican leadership position for challenging Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While Wilson has largely avoided the same lies and misinformation spread by the other three, all four have severely exaggerated when discussing a focus issue of the campaign on both sides of the aisle: the impact of state bail reforms on the violent crime surge of the last two years. The Republican candidates have repeatedly claimed without evidence that bail reforms approved by the Democrat-controlled state Legislature and then-Governor Andrew Cuomo have caused the gun violence spikes of 2020 and 2021.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While inaccurate, that notion has been promoted by Democrats as well, including New York City Mayor Eric Adams (a former Republican) and Rep. Tom Suozzi, who is running in the Democratic primary for governor. When pressed on his claimed connections between bail reform and the increase in gun violence, Suozzi has backed away from calling it causal. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“These are debates for the party faithful for both parties,” said Blair Horner, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, a good government group, about the primary debates on both sides of the aisle. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“What’s really going to matter is how they defend their proposals going into the general, because there, the myths and lies don't usually hold up, because you're appealing to the vast majority of voters,” he added.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here are some of the lies and mistruths that the Republican candidates have shared — none of the campaign responded to requests for comment for this story:</span></p> <p><b>Trump's 'Big Lie'<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Former President Trump’s ‘big lie’ that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him through widespread fraud has continued to hold purchase among the president’s most loyal supporters. Trump used that lie to whip up the crowd that eventually stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021 to prevent Joe Biden’s victory from being certified, while Trump and his team were taking steps behind the scenes to illegally overturn the results of the election. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The lie hasn’t gone away,” said U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, on the fourth day of the congressional hearings on the January 6 insurrection. “It is corrupting our democratic institutions. People who believe that lie are now seeking positions of public trust.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Among those people is Andrew Giuliani, who said at the </span><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11377-gop-governor-primary-new-york-wilson-giuliani-zeldin-wilson" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">second primary debate</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> on June 20, “I believe that Donald Trump on November 3, 2020 was reelected.”  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zeldin, who was among the Republicans in Congress who voted against certifying the election later the same day as the Capitol riot, has also cast doubt on whether the election was fairly decided, pointing to legal challenges in Pennsylvania, which was one of the most consequential states in the election. “It's something that we’ll never for sure know the exact consequence of in Pennsylvania, allowing one county to have different rules than another county or not allowing the close observation of the opening of ballots,” he said at the second debate. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Astorino was less direct, but nonetheless said the 2020 election raised concerns about election integrity despite claims of voter fraud being repeatedly debunked, dozens of court cases being dismissed, and the Trump team failing to ever provide evidence of its claims. “Unfortunately, Joe Biden is our president because we're dealing with this right now,” Astorino said. “I'll tell you what was stolen from us. What was stolen from us was our belief in the election system right now.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The problem was every state, every Republican governor, every Republican legislature, every state, all 50 sent in their certified results. So there really wasn't anything that they could do other than accept those results,” Astorino lamented of the 2020 election results and the role of the Congress and Vice President Mike Pence. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wilson, alone among the Republican candidates for governor, said, “So I believe Joe Biden was duly elected president of the United States. I believe that we Republicans need to move on and focus on addressing the problems that really hurt working families today.”</span></p> <p><b>Trump’s Role in January 6<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">The former president spent weeks urging his base to reject the election results that showed Biden had won the presidency and called on them to rally in Washington D.C. on January 6 under the banner of “Stop the Steal.” At a rally that day, before the electoral votes based on certified state results would be counted by Congress, the president </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/10/us/trump-speech-riot.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">addressed</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> the many thousands of people assembled and told them to “fight much harder” and to walk to the Capitol and “show strength” to Congress. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At one point Trump did say, “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But he later followed that up by saying Biden would be an “illegitimate president” if the election was certified. He told the crowd, “We fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Most Republicans, including the candidates for New York governor, have been wary of assigning blame to Trump for what took place after: the violent attack on the Capitol building in which rioters invaded congressional offices with the intention of harming members of Congress, including Republicans, and Vice President Pence, who Trump repeatedly vilified leading up to and on January 6, 2021. (Pence endorsed Zeldin this week, while Trump has remained on the sidelines of the primary given ties to both Zeldin and Giuliani.)</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Astorino is the only one who faulted Trump. “I do think he bears some responsibility,” he said of the former president, at the first debate. But he went on to describe the January 6 congressional hearings as “complete and utter political theater in Washington, D.C.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The rest of the candidates were either circumspect or even praised the president. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I think President Trump was a great president and honestly, I'm hopeful that he runs again,” Giuliani said at the first debate.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zeldin parroted select portions of the then-president’s words. “President Trump told his supporters to go peacefully and patriotically to the Capitol and if President Trump wants to run [in 2024], he should run and I believe that he will be the Republican nominee and he'll win,” he said at the debate. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wilson did not say the president was to blame. “Mr. Trump did not invade the Capitol,” he said. “The people who broke the law by invading the Capitol should be prosecuted and that's where the responsibility lies,” Wilson added, even as the January 6 committee, in part led by Republican Rep. Cheney, had already been outlining its case that Trump’s deeds had caused that law-breaking.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At one January 6 committee hearing, Cheney </span><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgCHYe7Dwhs" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">pointed</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to various actions Trump took that would make him liable for the Capitol riot: He “falsely declared victory” in the election. His campaign launched “a fraudulent media campaign” persuading millions of Americans that the election was stolen from him. He launched a “fraudulent fundraising campaign” based on those false claims. He and his allies “corruptly attempted” to pressure Pence to reject the electoral votes and he “provoked a violent mob” to pursue Pence. The then-president “oversaw and personally participated” in an effort to “vilify, threaten and pressure election officials” and legislators to change the election results. And, he worked with the Republican National Committee to create fake electoral slates and send those to federal officials. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“These efforts were not some minor or ad hoc enterprise concocted overnight,” Cheney said. “Each required planning and coordination. Some required significant funding. All of them were overseen by President Trump.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“What happened on January 6 was an attempted coup and it failed, thankfully,” said NYPIRG’s Horner.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Horner said questions about whether Trump’s actions amounted to illegal behavior will ultimately fall to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. “I'm not in a place to know if he broke the law, but certainly he broke the political norm in our democracy that, for over two centuries, when you lose an election, you gracefully concede and pass the torch on to the winner,” he said. “He refuses to do that.” </span></p> <p><b>COVID-19 and Vaccination<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Giuliani is the only candidate who has decided against receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and was therefore prevented from appearing in person at the first two debates. He was on stage for the final debate hosted by Newsmax. But all the candidates have sowed doubts about vaccines, the nature of COVID-19 as a highly-transmissible and deadly disease, and the reasoning behind covid mandates, even as the pandemic is far from over.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zeldin in particular has railed against the push for as many people as possible to get “the covid shot,” as he typically refers to it, making it more an issue of government overreach than public health, though he is not alone in that among the candidates. Often, the candidates have focused on the personal freedom to not be vaccinated, typically ignoring the various vaccine mandates required of children to attend school that have helped prevent outbreaks of a variety of deadly diseases — creating widespread adult immunity via childhood vaccinations was not possible with COVID-19 given its novelty.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Astorino, among others, publicly questioned the efficacy of the covid vaccines because people can still contract and become ill with covid after being inoculated, leaving out that in the vast majority of cases the vaccines prevent severe illness or death.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We're no longer in a pandemic. We've got to stop acting like we are,” Astorino said at the second debate. He also added, “We know, as the CDC has said, [the vaccine] does not stop the spread at all. We know that. Neither do those masks. We know that.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though the CDC did say that vaccinated people could still be infected with covid (particularly the Delta variant), the agency has </span><a href="https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/s1029-Vaccination-Offers-Higher-Protection.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">emphasized</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that those people are far less likely to get the virus than unvaccinated people and will experience less severe symptoms than if they weren’t vaccinated. There are also countless studies that show masking is extremely effective in preventing transmission of covid.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zeldin too questioned the vaccine even though, no matter the disease, vaccines have never been 100% effective. “The definition of vaccine has changed,” he insisted at the second debate. “I used to remember that if you get a vaccine, that means that you have immunity to what they're giving you that shot for but all of a sudden, suddenly with the COVID vaccine, the definition changes because even if you get it, you can still contract COVID.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I think it's a fundamentally different disease, and that's why I think it should be treated differently than existing vaccination requirements,” said Wilson, who did not explain how he sees it as fundamentally different and said the covid vaccine should not be mandated for children under the age of 5. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I think it's unfortunate that any elected official would discourage people from being vaccinated against COVID-19,” said Dr. Jay Varma, an international infectious disease expert who was Mayor Bill de Blasio’s top advisor for the city’s public health response for most of the pandemic, beginning in April 2020. “The overwhelming consensus of public health experts, government or university, is that COVID vaccines are safe and effective.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When asked, the candidates said they support required vaccinations for diseases like chicken pox and measles for children to attend schools, but would not add covid vaccination to that list, raising unfounded concerns about its rapid development and potential side effects. Giuliani even questioned, without any evidence at all, whether the vaccine could hamper the reproductive system of his young daughter as he insisted that he would not give her the vaccine.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I am not a biologist, nor am I an epidemiologist,” he said as he insisted he would need to see more data on the vaccine. “I think we've completely politicized the science when it comes to this at this point.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As Varma pointed out, the diseases for which vaccines are currently required in schools caused fewer deaths before those vaccines were available than covid already has in children. “We know that covid causes severe illness and death in children,” he said. “Any deaths in a child should be something that we try to avoid as much as possible.” He also noted that if children are sick then their parents stay home from work, which has consequences for the economy as well. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">All the Republican gubernatorial candidates have also promised to lift vaccination requirements for public sector workers and said that they would rehire state workers that were fired for refusing to get the covid vaccine. None spoke of the value of encouraging widespread vaccination in order to limit covid spread and reduce the most severe outcomes as much as possible, nor did they mention the possible risk of outbreaks from bringing those workers back to the workplace. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Varma said the vaccine mandate widely increased the vaccination rate in the city and state, the benefit of which was significantly reducing the severity of illness and death among those who still contracted it. “We know that this virus continues to evolve and cause surges, and during every one of those surges, the single strongest protective factor is getting vaccinated,” he said. “So the best way to maintain that level of protection in New York is to have this mandate.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Earlier this week, the CDC recommended that children between the ages of six months and 5 years should get vaccinated against COVID-19 with the newly-approved dosage, declaring it safe and effective. But at the second debate, three of the Republican candidates would not recommend that to their supporters, saying it was a decision best left to parents. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Only Wilson encouraged people to get vaccinated and vaccinate their children. “I personally am vaccinated, boosted. I encourage people to do so,” he said. He added a caveat: “That is their choice and should not be required by the government, particularly for young children.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Astorino also said that he has not vaccinated his children against covid. “My kids aren't vaccinated. My wife and I decided they don't need it. We follow the science,” he said, without elaborating on what science indicates children should not be vaccinated against COVID-19. “You're a parent, you can decide for your own children.”</span></p> <p><b>Abortion in New York<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Of the four candidates, only Wilson is pro-choice, supporting abortion rights for women. Like on other subjects where has differs from the other three candidates, he has voiced some caveats, such as saying he has some misgivings about New York’s law on abortion, which he believes “goes too far” in allowing non-doctor medical professionals to provide abortion care.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The candidates have all expressed concern about the state’s Reproductive Health Act, which was approved in 2019 and codified the protections of Roe v. Wade into state law. The legislation is particularly important in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling handed down on Friday that overturned Roe v. Wade. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The candidates have repeatedly said they oppose so-called “partial-birth late-term abortions” that are allowed under the law, but partial-birth is a political formulation, </span><a href="https://www.npr.org/2006/02/21/5168163/partial-birth-abortion-separating-fact-from-spin" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">not a medical term</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, and was created by anti-abortion activists. The state law does allow abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy, but only if the mother’s life or health are at risk or if the fetus is not viable. Those abortions occur very rarely, but Zeldin, Giuliani, and Astorino regularly make it appear that they are common and that Democrats in New York favor late-term and “partial-birth” abortions.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Astorino, in particular, criticized abortions “going to the moment of birth,” even though that virtually never happens.</span></p> <p><b>Critical Race Theory<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York’s K-12 schools curriculum </span><a href="https://nystateofpolitics.com/state-of-politics/new-york/politics/2021/06/17/ny-regents-chancellor--new-push-to-teach-diversity-isn-t-critical-race-theory" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">does not include Critical Race Theory</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, a legal theory about ingrained racial bias in U.S. institutions that is taught in college-level courses and beyond, mostly law schools. But the state Board of Regents has launched a “</span><a href="https://www.regents.nysed.gov/common/regents/files/521bra7.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Diversity, Equity and Inclusion</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">” initiative aimed at inclusive and culturally responsive teaching and learning in schools.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The state’s DEI framework instructs school to consider acknowledging the role of racism and bigotry in American history, encourages family and community engagement, promotes a diverse school workforce, promotes student wellness and anti-discrimination policies, and more. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Republican candidates, except for Wilson, have all equated the teaching of the history of racism and the DEI initiative as tantamount to teaching CRT, and wielded that false allegation, just as other Republicans have used CRT nationally, to inflame racial tensions and stir up white parents about what their children are being ‘indoctrinated’ with.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">CRT has become a controversial issue used by the right, a rhetorical tool in last year’s and this year’s elections to appeal to white voters. Those who oppose CRT say that it is used to indoctrinate children with “woke” ideology, convince children that all white people are racist, and erode parents’ rights in education. Dozens of states have even moved to ban CRT and, in their zeal, have also sought to prohibit broader anti-racist and culturally sensitive teaching. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York Republicans are no exception. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I would look at ‘Diversity, Equity, Inclusion,’ and I would call it what it is, which is Critical Race Theory 101,” Giuliani falsely said at the second debate. When asked, he could not define CRT or present an instance of when it was taught in schools. He also called equity a “dangerous concept” in education, conflating it with the idea that all students must have equal outcomes. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“They keep coming up with new names for Critical Race Theory,” said Zeldin, also equating it with the DEI initiative. In May last year, when the federal Department of Education issued a draft rule about culturally responsive teaching in schools, Zeldin associated it with CRT. “Critical Race Theory is an indoctrination of kids that has no business in America's classrooms,” he </span><a href="https://twitter.com/RepLeeZeldin/status/1388596951130718212?s=20&amp;t=X-_AxVys3JpLWLk9E5WLMg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">tweeted</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. “This isn't teaching children how to combat racism &amp; discrimination. It's a gross attempt to devalue, divide &amp; dumb down our children.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Astorino had a similar take. “[T]hings like CRT, which is seeping everywhere, is obviously when you divide people and tell people you're bad, you're a racist if you don't agree. No, that's not what we should be teaching,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wilson largely side-stepped the question but said, “I look at it quite differently…which is that I think we have to celebrate the diversity of America but not go into these labels that don't really mean anything and are loaded terms.”</span></p> <p><b>Bail Reform and Crime<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">In 2019, the Democrat-led state Legislature passed a major reform to state bail laws, eliminating cash bail for a series of misdemeanors and nonviolent offenses. Before and since its passage, conservatives and some moderates said it would lead to mayhem and have alleged that has transpired, even without facts to back up such claims.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The law was revisited in early 2020, just months after going into effect, and again this year by state lawmakers, partially rolling the reforms back each time. The changes were largely based on hearsay, anecdotes, and lies, but the chorus had become deafening and violent crime began to spike amid the pandemic. But there has remained a very limited connection between bail reform and violent crime.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At every turn, however, conservatives, some in law enforcement, and many moderate Democrats have pegged bail reform as the major, even singular, cause for the increase in violent crime despite </span><a href="https://www.timesunion.com/state/article/GOP-calls-into-question-state-s-actions-on-bail-16768206.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">data</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> showing that there is “</span><a href="https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/facts-bail-reform-and-crime-rates-new-york-state" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">no clear connection</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">,” as the Brennan Center for Justice concluded. Most of those critics of the law have also ignored the broader reality that violent crime spiked during the pandemic across the country and that many states, including those with Republican-led legislatures and governors, have not passed any similar legislation but have seen violent crime on the rise either way. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Each of the Republican candidates for governor have promised that they will immediately move to repeal the bail reform – and a host of other criminal justice reforms –  though it would be a difficult task given Democrats control the Legislature by large margins.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Even Governor Kathy Hochul wanted broader changes to the bail law – including allowing judges to consider a “dangerousness standard” when setting bail – but those changes were rejected by Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, though both houses did agree to some fairly significant changes to how bail can be assessed.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Misinformation is bad, no matter what framework you're in,” Horner said. “It's important to tell people the truth, to offer evidence to buttress your policy claims. That's better for democracy and better for the electorate, even if it is the party faithful.”</span></p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, senior reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
What is Tom Suozzi's Gubernatorial Campaign Platform? 2022-06-24T04:00:00+00:00 2022-06-24T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11389-tom-suozzi-campaign-platform-governor Ethan Geringer-Sameth ethangs@gothamgazette.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/3-tom-suozzi.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Tom Suozzi outside a debate (photo: @Tom_Suozzi)</p> <hr /> <p>U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi is pitching himself as a “common sense Democrat” as he runs for his party’s gubernatorial nomination in this month’s primary election.</p> <p>The third-term Congressman from Long Island, whose district is mostly in Nassau County but includes part of eastern Queens, has been on the attack against his chief rival, Governor Kathy Hochul, as he attempts to corner much of the same moderate Democratic base and overcome the governor's formidable advantages, namely holding the position of governor and an immense fundraising lead. The choice for Democratic voters is among Suozzi, Hochul, and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who is running to their left.</p> <p>Suozzi's positions align with Hochul's more often than not, so he is campaigning on his track record as a “proven executive,” having once served as a town mayor and county executive during his 30 years in politics. He has framed Hochul, who also held local office and, briefly, a seat in Congress, as unprepared or unwilling to take the necessary steps to improve the state in essential ways.</p> <p>Suozzi is running on his experience and accomplishments, but also a few proposals unique in the field, including on tightening the state’s bail laws and reducing taxes and government spending.</p> <p>“If Democrats want to keep New York state in Democratic hands, they should elect Tom Suozzi in the Democratic primary,” he said in a recent <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11297-max-politics-podcast-tom-suozzi-runs-governor-democrat">podcast interview</a> with Gotham Gazette. “I’ll run [New York State] better, more effectively, more efficiently, and better for the taxpayers, with the people’s interest at heart.”</p> <p>On issues like abortion, Suozzi has argued there's not much daylight between himself and Hochul, while on gun control, he’s pitched a much stronger record than the formerly NRA A-rated governor, who represented a conservative area of Western New York. In the interview, he said he agreed with Hochul's embrace of abortion protections but would have put more stress on preventing unwanted pregnancies with education and contraception.</p> <p>A former mayor of Glen Cove, Long Island, Suozzi said he was “running on the issues that people care about": crime, taxes and affordability, and education. He added government corruption to that list when Hochul's first lieutenant governor, Brian Benjamin, resigned after a federal indictment. Hochul, in office less than a year after taking over for the disgraced former Governor Andrew Cuomo upon his resignation, has already had two lieutenant governors.</p> <p>Suozzi himself has been dogged by allegations that he hid stock trading activity while serving in Congress, which he <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11371-hochul-williams-suozzi-democratic-primary-debate-cbs">attributed to</a> a "paperwork error" at a recent debate. “The reality is we've corrected it and we're moving forward,” he said. In a previous debate stage appearance, Suozzi – who made more than $360,000 in taxable income last year from his Congressional salary and investments, according to tax returns – said he was <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11354-suozzi-williams-debate-hochul-democratic-primary-governor">in favor</a> of banning state elected officials from trading stocks.</p> <p>For Suozzi, a combination of crime and affordability are stifling the economy and driving residents out of state.</p> <p>"People are not coming back to their office buildings in New York City because they don't feel safe. They don't feel safe to take the subway…and it's not COVID, it's crime,” he said at the first debate. New York's high taxes of all kinds have made the state "uncompetitive," Suozzi’s platform states.</p> <p>Suozzi and Williams have both been harsh critics of Hochul's handling of the opaque state budget process and, in particular, a massive stadium development project for the Buffalo Bills funded by taxpayers to the tune of $850 million and pushed through behind closed doors in the final days of negotiation. (Hochul's husband is general counsel of the company that holds the Bill's current concessions contract, a relationship Suozzi and others have been quick to point out.)</p> <p>Some differences of position have emerged during the campaign. Suozzi is against the right to vote for noncitizens, while Hochul believes it should be up to localities to decide and Williams supports it. On a two-year moratorium on fossil fuel-burning crypto-mining that Hochul has refused to opine on as she reviews a bill passed by the Legislature, Suozzi said he supports a shorter moratorium while Williams wants the bill signed right away. And Suozzi said he would delay Manhattan congestion pricing to ease the burden on commuters and businesses after Hochul revealed the program had stalled amid federal questions. Williams said congestion pricing should be advanced as quickly as possible.</p> <p>Suozzi's platform focuses on policing and gun violence, tax relief, economic revitalization, education, housing, infrastructure, and government ethics, though he offers limited policy detail on several fronts. He has said relatively little on the campaign trail about the climate, healthcare, childcare, or the MTA -- when pressed in the interview with Gotham Gazette about what changes he would make to run the regional transit authority better, he said he would first need to become governor in order to get under the hood and formulate a plan.</p> <p>Asked for more on some of these topics, his campaign pointed to his track record in Congress co-sponsoring the Green New Deal and negotiating $10 billion for New York public transit in the $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure legislation passed last year. Campaign spokesperson Jason Elan said Suozzi supports federal childcare legislation and creating universal healthcare through a federal option. The campaign did not respond to questions about state level proposals that he would push for if elected governor, including whether Suozzi supports the New York Health Act for state-run single-payer health care.</p> <p>While he has proposed the state uses federal aid from the American Rescue Plan and higher than forecasted tax revenues to ease the burden on taxpayers, Suozzi has said climate solutions are a federal project. “[We] can't do it all by ourselves here in New York state where we're pushing our utility rates through the roof and it's hurting the people that can least afford to pay their utility rates,” he said in a <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11354-suozzi-williams-debate-hochul-democratic-primary-governor">debate</a>.</p> <p><strong>Tax Relief and Affordability</strong><br />Suozzi sees affordability as one of the most serious threats to the state's vitality. He wants to increase state local education aid upon the condition that localities reduce the property taxes that often fund education and he pledges to replace education mandates with "guidelines," giving localities flexibility in spending tax dollars. He also wants to place permanent "circuit-breakers" or caps on residential property taxes while incentivizing counties to reduce Medicaid costs.</p> <p>Suozzi wants to cut regulations for small businesses and establish a New York State Public Bank to support small business loans and homeownership.</p> <p><strong>Infrastructure and Economic Development</strong><br />Suozzi, like Hochul and Williams, supports the development of renewable energy hubs in a corridor from offshore Long Island through New York City and the Hudson Valley.</p> <p>He wants to dedicate a state agency to oversee all infrastructure projects under the roughly $30 billion New York received in the federal infrastructure act. He has called for the state Department of Transportation to swiftly spend billions of those dollars on needed highway and bridge repair. He also wants to see major repairs to Penn Station. Suozzi supports the expansion of Community Development Corporations, to steer public and private investment in upstate communities.</p> <p>He's also proposed using federal funds to develop a high-speed rail system throughout the state.</p> <p><strong>Gun Violence and Crime</strong><br />Suozzi's policing plan, which tops his platform, is divided into interventions (changing bail and discovery laws to give more leeway to judges and prosecutors, and more funding for the NYPD's gun suppression units) and preventions ("universal community policing," social services and education investments, expanding Kendra's Law, and pairing social workers with parole officers).</p> <p>Like Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Suozzi backs a multi-state commission to target gun trafficking, fund gun-buybacks, strengthen the Red Flag Law, and push for federal gun control legislation. At the same time he has repeatedly criticized Hochul for receiving endorsements from the National Rifle Association in the past (an association she has sought to distance herself from citing her evolving stances on gun control).</p> <p>“She used to be on the far right and now she's on the far left. I don't know what she stands for,” he said at a <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11354-suozzi-williams-debate-hochul-democratic-primary-governor">primary debate that Hochul skipped</a> earlier this month.</p> <p>On policing and more Suozzi often sounds a lot like Mayor Adams, whom he supported from early in last year’s mayoral race. Adams asked Suozzi to become a deputy mayor, but Suozzi turned him down, leaving his congressional seat for the run at governor. It’s his second gubernatorial bid after losing the 2006 primary to Eliot Spitzer. Given Hochul is the sitting governor, Suozzi <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11297-max-politics-podcast-tom-suozzi-runs-governor-democrat" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">told Gotham Gazette</a> that the best he could hope for was that Adams would not make an endorsement in the gubernatorial primary, but that didn’t happen as the mayor backed Hochul leading up to the vote.</p> <p>Suozzi still employs Adams’ “intervention and prevention” model as well as other sayings.</p> <p>He also frequently employs a refrain from the new mayor and a parade of recent NYPD commissioners, that the state should implement "precision policing models," which would use "a systematic, proactive approach using all available data, statistics, and information to prevent crime before it happens," according to his website. He has given nods to the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network and Adams' "neighborhood safety teams," which replaced the notorious anti-crime units targeting guns that then Mayor Bill de Blasio shuttered in 2020.</p> <p>Suozzi wants to increase the use of ShotSpotter, Inc. products, which detect the sound of gunfire, and perhaps other policing tech. On his campaign website, he promises to "employ state-of-the-art technology to find street criminals with illegal handguns."</p> <p><strong>Education</strong><br />Suozzi pledges more state aid for education and looser restrictions on local education funding. He supports specialized high schools in New York City and wants to keep and expand gifted and talented programs, something Adams announced earlier this year. In public appearances, Suozzi has called for maintaining the statewide cap on charter schools while lifting the New York City sub-cap, which has been hit.</p> <p>Suozzi’s "No Wrong Door" plan, modeled after work he did in Nassau, would place service providers in school buildings to identify students in need and make it easier for teachers to make referrals to social workers.</p> <p>He has talked about increasing funding for SUNY and CUNY and expanding career placement programs. He wants to see more job training and workforce development programs across the state.</p> <p><strong>Housing</strong><br />Suozzi has released few details about his purported plan to build affordable housing. His campaign website calls for an unspecified "billions" on affordable housing production and "transit-oriented development," while promising, if elected, to craft a comprehensive housing plan.</p> <p>He opposed Hochul's unsuccessful bid to legalize so-called "accessory dwelling units" while supporting commercial-to-residential conversions of vacant hotels and office buildings with affordable set-asides. He supports a tax incentive and abatement for developers of affordable housing that would replace the 421-a program that expired this year. He also wants to expand the New York State Homes and Community Renewal program.</p> <p><strong>Government Ethics</strong><br />In response to the $850 million stadium deal with the Buffalo Bills that Hochul pushed through the state budget in the final weeks of negotiation, Suozzi called for a more public process around major spending. Any expenditure over $10 million that was not included in the executive or one-house budget proposals should trigger a public hearing, he says.</p> <p>He embraces lower legal contribution limits to campaign accounts and a ban on corporate donations to state offices (though he is currently taking that money). He also believes elected officials should not be allowed to include their name or likeness on official mass communications within 90 days of an election (Hochul's name figures prominently on a property tax rebate check sent to homeowners a week before primary polls close). Like virtually everyone in Albany, he criticized the state's dysfunctional ethics watchdog, JCOPE, which Hochul and the Legislature are replacing this year with a new body.</p> <p>He came out in opposition to term limits for state officials, when asked recently on the debate stage. Hochul said she supports two-term limits for statewide officials and Williams the same, while arguing that legislators should also have term limits but more time in office than statewide officials.</p> <p>[<a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11297-max-politics-podcast-tom-suozzi-runs-governor-democrat" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">LISTEN: Max Politics Podcast: Tom Suozzi on His Campaign for Governor</a>]</p> <p>

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by Ethan Geringer-Sameth, reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/3-tom-suozzi.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Tom Suozzi outside a debate (photo: @Tom_Suozzi)</p> <hr /> <p>U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi is pitching himself as a “common sense Democrat” as he runs for his party’s gubernatorial nomination in this month’s primary election.</p> <p>The third-term Congressman from Long Island, whose district is mostly in Nassau County but includes part of eastern Queens, has been on the attack against his chief rival, Governor Kathy Hochul, as he attempts to corner much of the same moderate Democratic base and overcome the governor's formidable advantages, namely holding the position of governor and an immense fundraising lead. The choice for Democratic voters is among Suozzi, Hochul, and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who is running to their left.</p> <p>Suozzi's positions align with Hochul's more often than not, so he is campaigning on his track record as a “proven executive,” having once served as a town mayor and county executive during his 30 years in politics. He has framed Hochul, who also held local office and, briefly, a seat in Congress, as unprepared or unwilling to take the necessary steps to improve the state in essential ways.</p> <p>Suozzi is running on his experience and accomplishments, but also a few proposals unique in the field, including on tightening the state’s bail laws and reducing taxes and government spending.</p> <p>“If Democrats want to keep New York state in Democratic hands, they should elect Tom Suozzi in the Democratic primary,” he said in a recent <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11297-max-politics-podcast-tom-suozzi-runs-governor-democrat">podcast interview</a> with Gotham Gazette. “I’ll run [New York State] better, more effectively, more efficiently, and better for the taxpayers, with the people’s interest at heart.”</p> <p>On issues like abortion, Suozzi has argued there's not much daylight between himself and Hochul, while on gun control, he’s pitched a much stronger record than the formerly NRA A-rated governor, who represented a conservative area of Western New York. In the interview, he said he agreed with Hochul's embrace of abortion protections but would have put more stress on preventing unwanted pregnancies with education and contraception.</p> <p>A former mayor of Glen Cove, Long Island, Suozzi said he was “running on the issues that people care about": crime, taxes and affordability, and education. He added government corruption to that list when Hochul's first lieutenant governor, Brian Benjamin, resigned after a federal indictment. Hochul, in office less than a year after taking over for the disgraced former Governor Andrew Cuomo upon his resignation, has already had two lieutenant governors.</p> <p>Suozzi himself has been dogged by allegations that he hid stock trading activity while serving in Congress, which he <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11371-hochul-williams-suozzi-democratic-primary-debate-cbs">attributed to</a> a "paperwork error" at a recent debate. “The reality is we've corrected it and we're moving forward,” he said. In a previous debate stage appearance, Suozzi – who made more than $360,000 in taxable income last year from his Congressional salary and investments, according to tax returns – said he was <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11354-suozzi-williams-debate-hochul-democratic-primary-governor">in favor</a> of banning state elected officials from trading stocks.</p> <p>For Suozzi, a combination of crime and affordability are stifling the economy and driving residents out of state.</p> <p>"People are not coming back to their office buildings in New York City because they don't feel safe. They don't feel safe to take the subway…and it's not COVID, it's crime,” he said at the first debate. New York's high taxes of all kinds have made the state "uncompetitive," Suozzi’s platform states.</p> <p>Suozzi and Williams have both been harsh critics of Hochul's handling of the opaque state budget process and, in particular, a massive stadium development project for the Buffalo Bills funded by taxpayers to the tune of $850 million and pushed through behind closed doors in the final days of negotiation. (Hochul's husband is general counsel of the company that holds the Bill's current concessions contract, a relationship Suozzi and others have been quick to point out.)</p> <p>Some differences of position have emerged during the campaign. Suozzi is against the right to vote for noncitizens, while Hochul believes it should be up to localities to decide and Williams supports it. On a two-year moratorium on fossil fuel-burning crypto-mining that Hochul has refused to opine on as she reviews a bill passed by the Legislature, Suozzi said he supports a shorter moratorium while Williams wants the bill signed right away. And Suozzi said he would delay Manhattan congestion pricing to ease the burden on commuters and businesses after Hochul revealed the program had stalled amid federal questions. Williams said congestion pricing should be advanced as quickly as possible.</p> <p>Suozzi's platform focuses on policing and gun violence, tax relief, economic revitalization, education, housing, infrastructure, and government ethics, though he offers limited policy detail on several fronts. He has said relatively little on the campaign trail about the climate, healthcare, childcare, or the MTA -- when pressed in the interview with Gotham Gazette about what changes he would make to run the regional transit authority better, he said he would first need to become governor in order to get under the hood and formulate a plan.</p> <p>Asked for more on some of these topics, his campaign pointed to his track record in Congress co-sponsoring the Green New Deal and negotiating $10 billion for New York public transit in the $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure legislation passed last year. Campaign spokesperson Jason Elan said Suozzi supports federal childcare legislation and creating universal healthcare through a federal option. The campaign did not respond to questions about state level proposals that he would push for if elected governor, including whether Suozzi supports the New York Health Act for state-run single-payer health care.</p> <p>While he has proposed the state uses federal aid from the American Rescue Plan and higher than forecasted tax revenues to ease the burden on taxpayers, Suozzi has said climate solutions are a federal project. “[We] can't do it all by ourselves here in New York state where we're pushing our utility rates through the roof and it's hurting the people that can least afford to pay their utility rates,” he said in a <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11354-suozzi-williams-debate-hochul-democratic-primary-governor">debate</a>.</p> <p><strong>Tax Relief and Affordability</strong><br />Suozzi sees affordability as one of the most serious threats to the state's vitality. He wants to increase state local education aid upon the condition that localities reduce the property taxes that often fund education and he pledges to replace education mandates with "guidelines," giving localities flexibility in spending tax dollars. He also wants to place permanent "circuit-breakers" or caps on residential property taxes while incentivizing counties to reduce Medicaid costs.</p> <p>Suozzi wants to cut regulations for small businesses and establish a New York State Public Bank to support small business loans and homeownership.</p> <p><strong>Infrastructure and Economic Development</strong><br />Suozzi, like Hochul and Williams, supports the development of renewable energy hubs in a corridor from offshore Long Island through New York City and the Hudson Valley.</p> <p>He wants to dedicate a state agency to oversee all infrastructure projects under the roughly $30 billion New York received in the federal infrastructure act. He has called for the state Department of Transportation to swiftly spend billions of those dollars on needed highway and bridge repair. He also wants to see major repairs to Penn Station. Suozzi supports the expansion of Community Development Corporations, to steer public and private investment in upstate communities.</p> <p>He's also proposed using federal funds to develop a high-speed rail system throughout the state.</p> <p><strong>Gun Violence and Crime</strong><br />Suozzi's policing plan, which tops his platform, is divided into interventions (changing bail and discovery laws to give more leeway to judges and prosecutors, and more funding for the NYPD's gun suppression units) and preventions ("universal community policing," social services and education investments, expanding Kendra's Law, and pairing social workers with parole officers).</p> <p>Like Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Suozzi backs a multi-state commission to target gun trafficking, fund gun-buybacks, strengthen the Red Flag Law, and push for federal gun control legislation. At the same time he has repeatedly criticized Hochul for receiving endorsements from the National Rifle Association in the past (an association she has sought to distance herself from citing her evolving stances on gun control).</p> <p>“She used to be on the far right and now she's on the far left. I don't know what she stands for,” he said at a <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11354-suozzi-williams-debate-hochul-democratic-primary-governor">primary debate that Hochul skipped</a> earlier this month.</p> <p>On policing and more Suozzi often sounds a lot like Mayor Adams, whom he supported from early in last year’s mayoral race. Adams asked Suozzi to become a deputy mayor, but Suozzi turned him down, leaving his congressional seat for the run at governor. It’s his second gubernatorial bid after losing the 2006 primary to Eliot Spitzer. Given Hochul is the sitting governor, Suozzi <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11297-max-politics-podcast-tom-suozzi-runs-governor-democrat" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">told Gotham Gazette</a> that the best he could hope for was that Adams would not make an endorsement in the gubernatorial primary, but that didn’t happen as the mayor backed Hochul leading up to the vote.</p> <p>Suozzi still employs Adams’ “intervention and prevention” model as well as other sayings.</p> <p>He also frequently employs a refrain from the new mayor and a parade of recent NYPD commissioners, that the state should implement "precision policing models," which would use "a systematic, proactive approach using all available data, statistics, and information to prevent crime before it happens," according to his website. He has given nods to the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network and Adams' "neighborhood safety teams," which replaced the notorious anti-crime units targeting guns that then Mayor Bill de Blasio shuttered in 2020.</p> <p>Suozzi wants to increase the use of ShotSpotter, Inc. products, which detect the sound of gunfire, and perhaps other policing tech. On his campaign website, he promises to "employ state-of-the-art technology to find street criminals with illegal handguns."</p> <p><strong>Education</strong><br />Suozzi pledges more state aid for education and looser restrictions on local education funding. He supports specialized high schools in New York City and wants to keep and expand gifted and talented programs, something Adams announced earlier this year. In public appearances, Suozzi has called for maintaining the statewide cap on charter schools while lifting the New York City sub-cap, which has been hit.</p> <p>Suozzi’s "No Wrong Door" plan, modeled after work he did in Nassau, would place service providers in school buildings to identify students in need and make it easier for teachers to make referrals to social workers.</p> <p>He has talked about increasing funding for SUNY and CUNY and expanding career placement programs. He wants to see more job training and workforce development programs across the state.</p> <p><strong>Housing</strong><br />Suozzi has released few details about his purported plan to build affordable housing. His campaign website calls for an unspecified "billions" on affordable housing production and "transit-oriented development," while promising, if elected, to craft a comprehensive housing plan.</p> <p>He opposed Hochul's unsuccessful bid to legalize so-called "accessory dwelling units" while supporting commercial-to-residential conversions of vacant hotels and office buildings with affordable set-asides. He supports a tax incentive and abatement for developers of affordable housing that would replace the 421-a program that expired this year. He also wants to expand the New York State Homes and Community Renewal program.</p> <p><strong>Government Ethics</strong><br />In response to the $850 million stadium deal with the Buffalo Bills that Hochul pushed through the state budget in the final weeks of negotiation, Suozzi called for a more public process around major spending. Any expenditure over $10 million that was not included in the executive or one-house budget proposals should trigger a public hearing, he says.</p> <p>He embraces lower legal contribution limits to campaign accounts and a ban on corporate donations to state offices (though he is currently taking that money). He also believes elected officials should not be allowed to include their name or likeness on official mass communications within 90 days of an election (Hochul's name figures prominently on a property tax rebate check sent to homeowners a week before primary polls close). Like virtually everyone in Albany, he criticized the state's dysfunctional ethics watchdog, JCOPE, which Hochul and the Legislature are replacing this year with a new body.</p> <p>He came out in opposition to term limits for state officials, when asked recently on the debate stage. Hochul said she supports two-term limits for statewide officials and Williams the same, while arguing that legislators should also have term limits but more time in office than statewide officials.</p> <p>[<a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11297-max-politics-podcast-tom-suozzi-runs-governor-democrat" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">LISTEN: Max Politics Podcast: Tom Suozzi on His Campaign for Governor</a>]</p> <p>

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by Ethan Geringer-Sameth, reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
Zeldin the Apparent Favorite But Republican Race for Governor Fluid as Primary Day Nears, Experts Say 2022-06-23T04:00:00+00:00 2022-06-23T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11403-republican-governor-primary-race-zeldin-giuliani-astorino-wilson Charles Gorrivan cgorrivan@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/gop-first-debate.jpg" /></p> <p>Rob Astorino, Harry Wilson, Lee Zeldin, and Andrew Giuliani (l-r)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With under a week until primary day, June 28, and early voting underway, Long Island Rep. Lee Zeldin by most measures appears to be the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for New York Governor in this year’s election.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But some experts suggest that the race remains open and hard to predict.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Andrew Giuliani, a former Trump aide, lays claim to certain advantages with the GOP primary electorate, including his association with the former president and name recognition as the son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. While the other two candidates in the running — businessman Harry Wilson and former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino — also have strengths that make them hard to count out.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Lee Zeldin is the unequivocal frontrunner,” said Chapin Fay, a Republican consultant. “He’s got virtually the entire state Republican Party infrastructure working on his behalf, and regardless of polling and advertising, that is a massive advantage that will be difficult for the others to overcome.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And Zeldin's status as the perceived frontrunner got a boost Wednesday when former Vice President Mike Pence endorsed him.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To win the four-way primary, one candidate will need to perform especially well among upstate voters – who are</span><a href="https://empirereportnewyork.com/gauging-the-gubernatorial-gauntlet-ii-piercing-a-panoply-of-optical-illusions/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;"> likely to cast between 60-62% of the Republican primary vote</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, according to Gyory’s analysis — while attracting some support downstate, in both New York City and its suburbs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The winner will then face the general election nominees of the Democratic and other parties while likely also appearing on the Conservative Party ballot line in New York’s fusion voting system.</span><b> </b></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“My sense is this race hasn't gelled yet,” said Bruce Gyory, a political scientist, Democratic strategist, and senior advisor at the law firm Manatt, Phelps &amp; Phillips, LLP who closely studies polling, voting trends, and the demographics of the electorate. “I see it as wide open.”</span></p> <p><b>Polling<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zeldin is leading the race by double digits in the two most recent polls seen publicly, </span><a href="https://emersonpolling.reportablenews.com/pr/new-york-2022-zeldin-hochul-matchup-likely-for-new-york-governor-s-seat" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">conducted by Emerson College</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and his campaign pollster, McLaughlin &amp; Associates. He benefits from strong fundraising relative to the rest of the primary field other than Wilson, who is largely self-funding his campaign, and Zeldin has the longest list of endorsements by far.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since getting into this race over a year ago, Congressman and Army veteran Lee Zeldin has amassed support from New Yorkers from all walks of life, including thousands of volunteers, and tens of thousands of grassroots donors,” said Katie </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Vincentez, Zeldin’s spokesperson, in an email to Gotham Gazette. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Lee Zeldin is going to win this race, because we need him to win this race, and save our state.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some polling from May and June suggests that Giuliani could be a force in the race. He is the most well-known candidate among New York Republicans, thanks in large part to his father, the former two-term mayor of New York City turned Trump attorney working to overturn the results of the 2020 election.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Andrew Giuliani is viewed favorably by Republicans by a margin of 50-28%, compared to 35-21% for Zeldin, </span><a href="https://myemail.constantcontact.com/--of-NYers-Say-New-Law-Requiring-Permit-to-Get-Semi-Automatic-Weapons-Will-be-Good-for-the-State---79--Hope-Supreme-Court--Uphol.html?soid=1121049327817&amp;aid=urGpqEjnSB8" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">according to a Siena College poll released last week</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (which only tracked favorability and did not do a ‘horse race’ poll), with many more respondents saying they didn’t know enough about Zeldin to have an opinion of him. That difference is larger than </span><a href="https://scri.siena.edu/2022/04/25/while-nyers-strongly-support-new-bail-law-changes-only-1-3-think-they-will-decrease-crime-38-say-theyll-have-no-effect/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">it was in mid-April</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, showing Giuliani's popularity climbing while Zeldin’s remained stagnant.</span> </p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Our mission throughout the campaign has been to connect with as many voters as possible on a grassroots level, which has translated to high favorability in the polls for about a year now,” said </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Maria Sliwa, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Giuliani’s campaign spokesperson, in an email to Gotham Gazette. Struggling to raise money, Giuliani has been running his campaign on a shoestring budget, but traversing the state with his famous father and appearing at a wide variety of events.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Gyory said that the favorability polling shows Giuliani’s name advantage over Zeldin, who is less known among voters despite leading him in fundraising and endorsements. “In the absence of others being known, people could vote for the name,” Gyory said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“His last name and likeability as a candidate make him a wildcard in this race,” echoed Fay of Giuliani, though he maintained Zeldin as the frontrunner. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Fay added that persistent attacks on Zeldin from both Wilson and Astorino may also help Giuliani, who largely avoided either being attacked or attacking others </span><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11382-gop-republican-candidates-governor-new-york-debate" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">when the four debated on television for the first time last week</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (which Giuliani attended virtually after failing to meet CBS’ vaccine requirement to be in the studio). The volume of attacks on Zeldin certainly made it appear that Wilson and Astorino consider the congressman the frontrunner. In the second televised debate, Monday on Spectrum News, Giuliani went after Zeldin for having called Donald Trump’s 2016 criticism of a judge based on the judge’s Mexican heritage racist.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zeldin and Giuliani exchanged harsh words at debates on Monday and Tuesday nights, indicative of a competitive race heading into its final days.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The former Trump aide also led Zeldin 35%-25% in a late-May survey conducted by </span><a href="https://uniteny.org/new-unite-ny-poll-shows-giuliani-in-lead-in-gop-primary-zeldin-numbers-continue-to-fall/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">John Zogby Strategies</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and funded by Unite NY, a new initiative </span><a href="https://uniteny.org/candidates/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">backing Wilson and Astorino</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. The poll, which was conducted with a sample of 408 likely voters and is an outlier given Zeldin’s strength in other polls, found Astorino with 17% of the vote and Wilson with 12%, while 17% of voters said that they were undecided.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Giuliani trailed Zeldin in the McLaughlin and Emerson polls, however, tying in second with Astorino and then placing fourth (last), respectively. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zeldin’s campaigns dismissed the Zogby poll when asked for comment. “</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Zogby poll is a fake, wildly inaccurate poll paid for by an entity that has been desperately trying to take down Lee Zeldin at any cost,” said </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Vincentez.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While Unite NY, which funded the poll, has endorsed Astorino and Wilson, its poll showed them behind the other two candidates. But Gyrory said he found the Zogby poll to be the most reliable of the surveys available, though he maintained that they were all subject to error. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Emerson poll, which was conducted with a sample of 500 “very likely voters” found Zeldin with 34% of the vote, Giuliani 13%, Astorino 16%, and Wilson 15%. When undecided voters – which accounted for 22% of the respondents – were asked who they were leaning towards, Zeldin’s share of the vote increased to 40%, Astorino’s to 23%, Wilson’s to 20%, and Giuliani’s to 17%. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the most recent McLaughlin poll from Zeldin’s campaign, released Tuesday, June 21, Zeldin had 38% of the vote, Giuliani 17%, Astorino 17%, and Wilson 16%, while 12% of voters said they were undecided. The poll’s results are similar to its findings in</span><a href="https://zeldinfornewyork.com/2022/05/31/massive-lead-may/"><span style="font-weight: 400;"> late May</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, though they show Zeldin dropping three points and Wilson gaining three points. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Gyory cautioned against the findings of Zeldin’s internal pollster, but noted that while they may reflect a bias toward Zeldin, it is in McLaughlin’s interest to correctly predict the race. “</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Just because McLaughlin is Zeldin's pollster doesn't mean his polling is wrong, but it also doesn't mean it's right,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Astorino has polled evenly throughout May and June, averaging 17.5% of the vote across the Emerson, Mclaughlin, and Zogby surveys. When asked to comment on Astorino’s trailing position in the surveys, his campaign dismissed the data, specifically targeting the bias of internal pollsters like Mclaughlin.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Internal campaign polls that have been leaked so far have been largely nonsense; they're not so thinly veiled PR releases masquerading as genuine surveys,” said William F. B. O’Reilly, Astorino’s campaign spokesperson. “What's happening on the ground is far more telling, and we like what we're hearing."  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wilson has climbed some in the polls of May and June, which may reflect his campaign’s sharp increase in spending in the last weeks of the race – he has pledged to spend $12 million of his own money ahead of the vote. Between the Emerson Polls conducted in early May and June, he climbed from 8% to 15%. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Gyory agreed that Wilson’s spending could push a breakthrough. “The fact that his poll numbers haven't really risen yet doesn't mean they're not,” he said, despite maintaining that the polls  are imperfect indicators of the race. “I haven't seen where he's made a breakthrough, but I can't dismiss it.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wilson’s campaign said that as primaries tend to shape up in their last weeks, it is optimistic. “</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">All Republican primaries nationwide are breaking late as voters tune in, so we are focused on the dynamics over the final 2-3 weeks,” said Alex Wilkes, Wilson’s campaign spokesperson. “With Harry's momentum, massive and growing financial advantage and the growing realization he is the only candidate running with the skills and the guts to truly fix Albany – not just manage the decline -– the late breaking voters will disproportionately support Harry and his Turnaround Plan for New York.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Experts added that while polling can be a helpful way to gauge the race, it is often subject to error. Gyory said that he is skeptical about polling based largely on a sample of “very likely voters” weighted based on expected turnout demographics. “That highly subjective criteria for creating a sample is not in my mind empirically reliable,” he said. “To be charitable, it is interesting but not dispositive.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Gyory said that he trusts Zogby’s polling the most but believes that none of the surveys are conclusive, adding that the broad inconsistencies among them will eventually be reexamined. “Somebody will have egg on their face,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Political consultant Jonathan Greenspun cautioned against relying too heavily on pollsters' often dizzying findings, emphasizing how challenging it can be to predict voter turnout among Republican voters. “Pollsters can attest to how difficult it is to predict what the Trump base is thinking and how many will actually turn out,” he said, noting their failure </span><a href="https://www.politico.com/news/2021/07/18/pollsters-2020-polls-all-wrong-500050" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">to accurately predict and explain</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> the results of Presidential and Statewide elections in 2020. </span></p> <p><b>Fundraising<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zeldin has led fundraising in the race – aside from Wilson’s self-funding. Zeldin has raised about $10 million and transferred another $1.2 million from his congressional campaign account), and has spent about $9.2 million, leaving him with $2 million in cash on hand as of June 22. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Astorino and Giuliani trail the other candidates in fundraising and spending.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wilson, a multi-millionaire who is CEO of the advisory firm MAEVA group – previously serving as CEO at Genesis HealthCare and partner at hedge fund Silver Point Capital, among other business roles – has had the most money to spend among the Republican candidates, due to his decision to self-fund a large portion of his campaign.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wilson has raised about $2.1 million in total contributions and also loaned his campaign almost $11 million, allowing him to spend more than $11.1 million in total as of June 22. He had just over $2 million in cash on hand as of the latest filing. He previously pledged $12 million of his own money earlier this year when he jumped into the race late.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Harry has a massive advantage in primary election cash (over 5 to 1) to bring this message to all primary voters at the time most are beginning to focus on the race,” Vincentez told Gotham Gazette. “As a result, we remain confident we will win upstate voters comfortably and win enough support in the NYC market to prevail statewide.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The majority of Zeldin’s ad spending has been downstate. His campaign told Gotham Gazette that as of early June it had spent nearly $5 million on television and radio advertisements since February.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Astorino, who was the 2014 Republican nominee for Governor, could still attract support on his record as a veteran politician with executive experience and connection to the suburbs, Gyory said, despite falling behind Wilson and Zeldin in spending and fundraising. He has raised about $3.4 million and transferred another $811,000 from a previous campaign account. He has spent about $3.3 million and has about $747,000 in cash on hand as of June 22. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Giuliani has the least money of the candidates but has what it usually buys: popularity. “He’ll need less money to win,” said Fay.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Giuliani raised just over $922,000 in total since entering the race and has spent about $570,000. He had about $320,000 in the bank as of the latest filing. “NY for Giuliani is a grassroots movement, not the product of a backroom deal or political cronyism,” Giuliani said in a statement to Gotham Gazette. “The red wave we’ve all been hearing about consists of everyday people who are tired of being mandated, taxed, and regulated — or seeing their children indoctrinated. I’m one of them, and that’s why I’m leading in the polls.”</span></p> <p><b>Endorsements<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zeldin has been designated as the choice of both the Republican and Conservative state parties, boasting a wide range of endorsements, including former VP Pence, many elected officials and </span><a href="https://nypost.com/2022/06/16/lee-zeldin-is-the-best-bet-for-governor-to-save-new-york/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The New York Post editorial board</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. The other candidates have few endorsements or institutional support.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zeldin has also received support from several labor unions, especially in law enforcement, </span><a href="https://zeldinforcongress.com/endorsements/#1596807231537-5ca57b6c-be80" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">among others</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Lee Zeldin is the clear frontrunner because he has proven he has what it takes to win,” said New York Republican Party Chair Nick Langworthy, who has endorsed Zeldin, in a statement to Gotham Gazette about the state of the race. “He has won the support of more than 90% of Republican and Conservative leaders in every corner of this state and has raised the most money from grassroots supporters of any candidate in 20 years. I am confident that he will not only deliver a resounding victory in the primary but that he will be elected to serve as our next governor to save New York State." </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Harry Wilson notably has the </span><a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-edit-gop-primary-20220618-v4jiwfk65rdudb4efdl4kyxf3q-story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">backing of the New York Daily News editorial board</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and good government group </span><a href="https://citizensunion.org/portfolio-item/citizens-union-announces-preferences-of-kathy-hochul-in-democratic-primary-and-harry-wilson-in-republican-primary-for-governor/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Citizens Union</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, which called Wilson ​​</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">”an outsider who wants to clean up Albany” with “a proven track record as a turnaround specialist, something our state surely needs.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Giuliani has the support of his father, Rudy Giuliani, as well as the Whitestone Republican Club, the largest party organization in Queens.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But Gyory noted that while Zeldin’s endorsements from party officials across the state is an advantage, he may struggle to translate that support into votes. “There are not a whole lot of Republican primaries year in and year out,” he said. “I just don't think these county leaders who got behind him very early have much experience in turning out the vote.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There is still time left for an endorsement from former President Donald Trump that could shift the race. The </span><a href="https://www.politico.com/news/2022/06/05/trumps-endorsement-stumper-family-friends-or-fierce-ally-00036313" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">prevailing belief</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is that Trump will stay out of the primary to avoid damaging a relationship with either Zeldin or the Giulianis, but </span><a href="https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/politics/2022/06/17/republican-race-for-governor-heats-up-as-they-prepare-to-debate-next-week" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">some believe that he could enter the race late </span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">because Republican voters are more likely to vote in person on primary day than in early or absentee voting.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“A last-minute Trump endorsement will move mountains for the candidate who receives it,” said Greenspun.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zeldin, Giuliani, and Astorino all have ties to the former president, though Astorino has distanced himself from him by recognizing President Joe Biden and condemning the Capitol riots of January 6, 2021, and saying at the first televised debate that Trump bore some responsibility for what happened that day.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The GOP primary for Governor will serve as a bellwether to see if the party of ‘MAGA’ is alive in New York,” said Greenspun, himself a former Republican. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Trumpism is still the dominant force among New York Republicans, and not necessarily choosing the candidate with the best chance to win a general election in Democrat-heavy New York. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">If the nomination goes to Giuliani or Zeldin, who have both aligned themselves with the former president and further Trump’s lies about the 2020 election, it will signal that the former President’s influence on the party remains robust.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A win by Wilson — who worked with the Obama Administration and is the only candidate in the race who supports abortion rights and readily admits Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election – would show that it is ebbing. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Gyory notes, however, that while far-right policies may be popular among primary voters, they are hard sells in statewide elections where Republicans have to win over independents and even Democrats. “I don't see a Republican candidate out there, with the possible exception of Harry Wilson, who shows any potential to be able to unite both the Republican bases and independent voters,” he said. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But as voters become </span><a href="https://myemail.constantcontact.com/--of-NYers-Say-New-Law-Requiring-Permit-to-Get-Semi-Automatic-Weapons-Will-be-Good-for-the-State---79--Hope-Supreme-Court--Uphol.html?soid=1121049327817&amp;aid=urGpqEjnSB8" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">increasingly concerned about high rates of violent crime</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, the Republican candidates' law and order-focused campaigns are in a better position to win statewide than in past election years. “There's palpable anger among the entire electorate right now,” Greenspun said. “As we head into the November elections, the Democrats are likely to see one of the closest margins for Governor in over a decade.”</span></p> <p></p> <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/gop-first-debate.jpg" /></p> <p>Rob Astorino, Harry Wilson, Lee Zeldin, and Andrew Giuliani (l-r)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With under a week until primary day, June 28, and early voting underway, Long Island Rep. Lee Zeldin by most measures appears to be the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for New York Governor in this year’s election.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But some experts suggest that the race remains open and hard to predict.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Andrew Giuliani, a former Trump aide, lays claim to certain advantages with the GOP primary electorate, including his association with the former president and name recognition as the son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. While the other two candidates in the running — businessman Harry Wilson and former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino — also have strengths that make them hard to count out.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Lee Zeldin is the unequivocal frontrunner,” said Chapin Fay, a Republican consultant. “He’s got virtually the entire state Republican Party infrastructure working on his behalf, and regardless of polling and advertising, that is a massive advantage that will be difficult for the others to overcome.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And Zeldin's status as the perceived frontrunner got a boost Wednesday when former Vice President Mike Pence endorsed him.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To win the four-way primary, one candidate will need to perform especially well among upstate voters – who are</span><a href="https://empirereportnewyork.com/gauging-the-gubernatorial-gauntlet-ii-piercing-a-panoply-of-optical-illusions/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;"> likely to cast between 60-62% of the Republican primary vote</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, according to Gyory’s analysis — while attracting some support downstate, in both New York City and its suburbs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The winner will then face the general election nominees of the Democratic and other parties while likely also appearing on the Conservative Party ballot line in New York’s fusion voting system.</span><b> </b></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“My sense is this race hasn't gelled yet,” said Bruce Gyory, a political scientist, Democratic strategist, and senior advisor at the law firm Manatt, Phelps &amp; Phillips, LLP who closely studies polling, voting trends, and the demographics of the electorate. “I see it as wide open.”</span></p> <p><b>Polling<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zeldin is leading the race by double digits in the two most recent polls seen publicly, </span><a href="https://emersonpolling.reportablenews.com/pr/new-york-2022-zeldin-hochul-matchup-likely-for-new-york-governor-s-seat" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">conducted by Emerson College</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and his campaign pollster, McLaughlin &amp; Associates. He benefits from strong fundraising relative to the rest of the primary field other than Wilson, who is largely self-funding his campaign, and Zeldin has the longest list of endorsements by far.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since getting into this race over a year ago, Congressman and Army veteran Lee Zeldin has amassed support from New Yorkers from all walks of life, including thousands of volunteers, and tens of thousands of grassroots donors,” said Katie </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Vincentez, Zeldin’s spokesperson, in an email to Gotham Gazette. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Lee Zeldin is going to win this race, because we need him to win this race, and save our state.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some polling from May and June suggests that Giuliani could be a force in the race. He is the most well-known candidate among New York Republicans, thanks in large part to his father, the former two-term mayor of New York City turned Trump attorney working to overturn the results of the 2020 election.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Andrew Giuliani is viewed favorably by Republicans by a margin of 50-28%, compared to 35-21% for Zeldin, </span><a href="https://myemail.constantcontact.com/--of-NYers-Say-New-Law-Requiring-Permit-to-Get-Semi-Automatic-Weapons-Will-be-Good-for-the-State---79--Hope-Supreme-Court--Uphol.html?soid=1121049327817&amp;aid=urGpqEjnSB8" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">according to a Siena College poll released last week</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (which only tracked favorability and did not do a ‘horse race’ poll), with many more respondents saying they didn’t know enough about Zeldin to have an opinion of him. That difference is larger than </span><a href="https://scri.siena.edu/2022/04/25/while-nyers-strongly-support-new-bail-law-changes-only-1-3-think-they-will-decrease-crime-38-say-theyll-have-no-effect/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">it was in mid-April</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, showing Giuliani's popularity climbing while Zeldin’s remained stagnant.</span> </p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Our mission throughout the campaign has been to connect with as many voters as possible on a grassroots level, which has translated to high favorability in the polls for about a year now,” said </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Maria Sliwa, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Giuliani’s campaign spokesperson, in an email to Gotham Gazette. Struggling to raise money, Giuliani has been running his campaign on a shoestring budget, but traversing the state with his famous father and appearing at a wide variety of events.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Gyory said that the favorability polling shows Giuliani’s name advantage over Zeldin, who is less known among voters despite leading him in fundraising and endorsements. “In the absence of others being known, people could vote for the name,” Gyory said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“His last name and likeability as a candidate make him a wildcard in this race,” echoed Fay of Giuliani, though he maintained Zeldin as the frontrunner. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Fay added that persistent attacks on Zeldin from both Wilson and Astorino may also help Giuliani, who largely avoided either being attacked or attacking others </span><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11382-gop-republican-candidates-governor-new-york-debate" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">when the four debated on television for the first time last week</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (which Giuliani attended virtually after failing to meet CBS’ vaccine requirement to be in the studio). The volume of attacks on Zeldin certainly made it appear that Wilson and Astorino consider the congressman the frontrunner. In the second televised debate, Monday on Spectrum News, Giuliani went after Zeldin for having called Donald Trump’s 2016 criticism of a judge based on the judge’s Mexican heritage racist.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zeldin and Giuliani exchanged harsh words at debates on Monday and Tuesday nights, indicative of a competitive race heading into its final days.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The former Trump aide also led Zeldin 35%-25% in a late-May survey conducted by </span><a href="https://uniteny.org/new-unite-ny-poll-shows-giuliani-in-lead-in-gop-primary-zeldin-numbers-continue-to-fall/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">John Zogby Strategies</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and funded by Unite NY, a new initiative </span><a href="https://uniteny.org/candidates/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">backing Wilson and Astorino</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. The poll, which was conducted with a sample of 408 likely voters and is an outlier given Zeldin’s strength in other polls, found Astorino with 17% of the vote and Wilson with 12%, while 17% of voters said that they were undecided.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Giuliani trailed Zeldin in the McLaughlin and Emerson polls, however, tying in second with Astorino and then placing fourth (last), respectively. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zeldin’s campaigns dismissed the Zogby poll when asked for comment. “</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Zogby poll is a fake, wildly inaccurate poll paid for by an entity that has been desperately trying to take down Lee Zeldin at any cost,” said </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Vincentez.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While Unite NY, which funded the poll, has endorsed Astorino and Wilson, its poll showed them behind the other two candidates. But Gyrory said he found the Zogby poll to be the most reliable of the surveys available, though he maintained that they were all subject to error. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Emerson poll, which was conducted with a sample of 500 “very likely voters” found Zeldin with 34% of the vote, Giuliani 13%, Astorino 16%, and Wilson 15%. When undecided voters – which accounted for 22% of the respondents – were asked who they were leaning towards, Zeldin’s share of the vote increased to 40%, Astorino’s to 23%, Wilson’s to 20%, and Giuliani’s to 17%. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the most recent McLaughlin poll from Zeldin’s campaign, released Tuesday, June 21, Zeldin had 38% of the vote, Giuliani 17%, Astorino 17%, and Wilson 16%, while 12% of voters said they were undecided. The poll’s results are similar to its findings in</span><a href="https://zeldinfornewyork.com/2022/05/31/massive-lead-may/"><span style="font-weight: 400;"> late May</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, though they show Zeldin dropping three points and Wilson gaining three points. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Gyory cautioned against the findings of Zeldin’s internal pollster, but noted that while they may reflect a bias toward Zeldin, it is in McLaughlin’s interest to correctly predict the race. “</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Just because McLaughlin is Zeldin's pollster doesn't mean his polling is wrong, but it also doesn't mean it's right,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Astorino has polled evenly throughout May and June, averaging 17.5% of the vote across the Emerson, Mclaughlin, and Zogby surveys. When asked to comment on Astorino’s trailing position in the surveys, his campaign dismissed the data, specifically targeting the bias of internal pollsters like Mclaughlin.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Internal campaign polls that have been leaked so far have been largely nonsense; they're not so thinly veiled PR releases masquerading as genuine surveys,” said William F. B. O’Reilly, Astorino’s campaign spokesperson. “What's happening on the ground is far more telling, and we like what we're hearing."  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wilson has climbed some in the polls of May and June, which may reflect his campaign’s sharp increase in spending in the last weeks of the race – he has pledged to spend $12 million of his own money ahead of the vote. Between the Emerson Polls conducted in early May and June, he climbed from 8% to 15%. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Gyory agreed that Wilson’s spending could push a breakthrough. “The fact that his poll numbers haven't really risen yet doesn't mean they're not,” he said, despite maintaining that the polls  are imperfect indicators of the race. “I haven't seen where he's made a breakthrough, but I can't dismiss it.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wilson’s campaign said that as primaries tend to shape up in their last weeks, it is optimistic. “</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">All Republican primaries nationwide are breaking late as voters tune in, so we are focused on the dynamics over the final 2-3 weeks,” said Alex Wilkes, Wilson’s campaign spokesperson. “With Harry's momentum, massive and growing financial advantage and the growing realization he is the only candidate running with the skills and the guts to truly fix Albany – not just manage the decline -– the late breaking voters will disproportionately support Harry and his Turnaround Plan for New York.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Experts added that while polling can be a helpful way to gauge the race, it is often subject to error. Gyory said that he is skeptical about polling based largely on a sample of “very likely voters” weighted based on expected turnout demographics. “That highly subjective criteria for creating a sample is not in my mind empirically reliable,” he said. “To be charitable, it is interesting but not dispositive.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Gyory said that he trusts Zogby’s polling the most but believes that none of the surveys are conclusive, adding that the broad inconsistencies among them will eventually be reexamined. “Somebody will have egg on their face,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Political consultant Jonathan Greenspun cautioned against relying too heavily on pollsters' often dizzying findings, emphasizing how challenging it can be to predict voter turnout among Republican voters. “Pollsters can attest to how difficult it is to predict what the Trump base is thinking and how many will actually turn out,” he said, noting their failure </span><a href="https://www.politico.com/news/2021/07/18/pollsters-2020-polls-all-wrong-500050" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">to accurately predict and explain</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> the results of Presidential and Statewide elections in 2020. </span></p> <p><b>Fundraising<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zeldin has led fundraising in the race – aside from Wilson’s self-funding. Zeldin has raised about $10 million and transferred another $1.2 million from his congressional campaign account), and has spent about $9.2 million, leaving him with $2 million in cash on hand as of June 22. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Astorino and Giuliani trail the other candidates in fundraising and spending.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wilson, a multi-millionaire who is CEO of the advisory firm MAEVA group – previously serving as CEO at Genesis HealthCare and partner at hedge fund Silver Point Capital, among other business roles – has had the most money to spend among the Republican candidates, due to his decision to self-fund a large portion of his campaign.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wilson has raised about $2.1 million in total contributions and also loaned his campaign almost $11 million, allowing him to spend more than $11.1 million in total as of June 22. He had just over $2 million in cash on hand as of the latest filing. He previously pledged $12 million of his own money earlier this year when he jumped into the race late.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Harry has a massive advantage in primary election cash (over 5 to 1) to bring this message to all primary voters at the time most are beginning to focus on the race,” Vincentez told Gotham Gazette. “As a result, we remain confident we will win upstate voters comfortably and win enough support in the NYC market to prevail statewide.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The majority of Zeldin’s ad spending has been downstate. His campaign told Gotham Gazette that as of early June it had spent nearly $5 million on television and radio advertisements since February.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Astorino, who was the 2014 Republican nominee for Governor, could still attract support on his record as a veteran politician with executive experience and connection to the suburbs, Gyory said, despite falling behind Wilson and Zeldin in spending and fundraising. He has raised about $3.4 million and transferred another $811,000 from a previous campaign account. He has spent about $3.3 million and has about $747,000 in cash on hand as of June 22. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Giuliani has the least money of the candidates but has what it usually buys: popularity. “He’ll need less money to win,” said Fay.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Giuliani raised just over $922,000 in total since entering the race and has spent about $570,000. He had about $320,000 in the bank as of the latest filing. “NY for Giuliani is a grassroots movement, not the product of a backroom deal or political cronyism,” Giuliani said in a statement to Gotham Gazette. “The red wave we’ve all been hearing about consists of everyday people who are tired of being mandated, taxed, and regulated — or seeing their children indoctrinated. I’m one of them, and that’s why I’m leading in the polls.”</span></p> <p><b>Endorsements<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zeldin has been designated as the choice of both the Republican and Conservative state parties, boasting a wide range of endorsements, including former VP Pence, many elected officials and </span><a href="https://nypost.com/2022/06/16/lee-zeldin-is-the-best-bet-for-governor-to-save-new-york/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The New York Post editorial board</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. The other candidates have few endorsements or institutional support.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zeldin has also received support from several labor unions, especially in law enforcement, </span><a href="https://zeldinforcongress.com/endorsements/#1596807231537-5ca57b6c-be80" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">among others</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Lee Zeldin is the clear frontrunner because he has proven he has what it takes to win,” said New York Republican Party Chair Nick Langworthy, who has endorsed Zeldin, in a statement to Gotham Gazette about the state of the race. “He has won the support of more than 90% of Republican and Conservative leaders in every corner of this state and has raised the most money from grassroots supporters of any candidate in 20 years. I am confident that he will not only deliver a resounding victory in the primary but that he will be elected to serve as our next governor to save New York State." </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Harry Wilson notably has the </span><a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-edit-gop-primary-20220618-v4jiwfk65rdudb4efdl4kyxf3q-story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">backing of the New York Daily News editorial board</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and good government group </span><a href="https://citizensunion.org/portfolio-item/citizens-union-announces-preferences-of-kathy-hochul-in-democratic-primary-and-harry-wilson-in-republican-primary-for-governor/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Citizens Union</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, which called Wilson ​​</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">”an outsider who wants to clean up Albany” with “a proven track record as a turnaround specialist, something our state surely needs.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Giuliani has the support of his father, Rudy Giuliani, as well as the Whitestone Republican Club, the largest party organization in Queens.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But Gyory noted that while Zeldin’s endorsements from party officials across the state is an advantage, he may struggle to translate that support into votes. “There are not a whole lot of Republican primaries year in and year out,” he said. “I just don't think these county leaders who got behind him very early have much experience in turning out the vote.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There is still time left for an endorsement from former President Donald Trump that could shift the race. The </span><a href="https://www.politico.com/news/2022/06/05/trumps-endorsement-stumper-family-friends-or-fierce-ally-00036313" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">prevailing belief</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is that Trump will stay out of the primary to avoid damaging a relationship with either Zeldin or the Giulianis, but </span><a href="https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/politics/2022/06/17/republican-race-for-governor-heats-up-as-they-prepare-to-debate-next-week" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">some believe that he could enter the race late </span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">because Republican voters are more likely to vote in person on primary day than in early or absentee voting.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“A last-minute Trump endorsement will move mountains for the candidate who receives it,” said Greenspun.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Zeldin, Giuliani, and Astorino all have ties to the former president, though Astorino has distanced himself from him by recognizing President Joe Biden and condemning the Capitol riots of January 6, 2021, and saying at the first televised debate that Trump bore some responsibility for what happened that day.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The GOP primary for Governor will serve as a bellwether to see if the party of ‘MAGA’ is alive in New York,” said Greenspun, himself a former Republican. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Trumpism is still the dominant force among New York Republicans, and not necessarily choosing the candidate with the best chance to win a general election in Democrat-heavy New York. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">If the nomination goes to Giuliani or Zeldin, who have both aligned themselves with the former president and further Trump’s lies about the 2020 election, it will signal that the former President’s influence on the party remains robust.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A win by Wilson — who worked with the Obama Administration and is the only candidate in the race who supports abortion rights and readily admits Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election – would show that it is ebbing. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Gyory notes, however, that while far-right policies may be popular among primary voters, they are hard sells in statewide elections where Republicans have to win over independents and even Democrats. “I don't see a Republican candidate out there, with the possible exception of Harry Wilson, who shows any potential to be able to unite both the Republican bases and independent voters,” he said. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But as voters become </span><a href="https://myemail.constantcontact.com/--of-NYers-Say-New-Law-Requiring-Permit-to-Get-Semi-Automatic-Weapons-Will-be-Good-for-the-State---79--Hope-Supreme-Court--Uphol.html?soid=1121049327817&amp;aid=urGpqEjnSB8" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">increasingly concerned about high rates of violent crime</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, the Republican candidates' law and order-focused campaigns are in a better position to win statewide than in past election years. “There's palpable anger among the entire electorate right now,” Greenspun said. “As we head into the November elections, the Democrats are likely to see one of the closest margins for Governor in over a decade.”</span></p> <p></p> Max Politics Podcast: Jumaane Williams' Closing Argument in Democratic Primary for Governor 2022-06-22T15:00:00+00:00 2022-06-22T15:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11402-max-politics-podcast-jumaane-williams-democratic-primary-governor Gotham Gazette ggstaff@gothamgazette.com <p> <img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/mpp-w-demo600.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Jumaane Williams (photo: WIlliam Alatriste/City Council)</p> <hr /> <p><strong>June 22, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Jumaane Williams' Closing Argument in Democratic Primary for Governor<br /></strong></p> <p>Jumaane Williams, the New York City Public Advocate and a Democratic candidate for Governor in this year's election, joined the show to discuss the state of the race and his campaign with just a few days before primary day, some of his major proposals, make his closing argument to primary voters, and more.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax">@TweetBenMax</a>. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the episode wherever you get your podcasts at Max Politics.</p> <p class="feed-readmore"><a target="_blank" href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11402-max-politics-podcast-jumaane-williams-democratic-primary-governor">Read More ...</a></p> <p> <img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/mpp-w-demo600.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Jumaane Williams (photo: WIlliam Alatriste/City Council)</p> <hr /> <p><strong>June 22, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Jumaane Williams' Closing Argument in Democratic Primary for Governor<br /></strong></p> <p>Jumaane Williams, the New York City Public Advocate and a Democratic candidate for Governor in this year's election, joined the show to discuss the state of the race and his campaign with just a few days before primary day, some of his major proposals, make his closing argument to primary voters, and more.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax">@TweetBenMax</a>. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the episode wherever you get your podcasts at Max Politics.</p> <p class="feed-readmore"><a target="_blank" href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11402-max-politics-podcast-jumaane-williams-democratic-primary-governor">Read More ...</a></p> Democratic and Republican Candidates for Governor Offer Varied Housing Plans 2022-06-23T04:00:00+00:00 2022-06-23T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11395-candidates-ny-governor-housing-plans Charles Gorrivan cgorrivan@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/5-repub-candidates-offers.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>New York City (photo: Governor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>New Yorkers are voting this month in the Democratic and Republican primaries for Governor as the state grapples with an affordable housing crisis that has hit downstate regions home to some two-thirds of its population the hardest. The issue has been far more elevated among the three Democratic candidates to lead the state for the next four years, with the four Republican candidates largely ignoring the topic. That trend changed somewhat when Gotham Gazette asked the Republican campaigns about the issue.</p> <p>Candidates on both sides of the aisle do have proposals for addressing the state’s affordable housing crisis, including to build more homes and incentivize development, ensure affordability, and revamp crumbling public housing.</p> <p>Democrats Jumaane Williams and Tom Suozzi issued housing plans on their campaign websites months ago, and Williams has made it among the top three focus issues of his campaign. Meanwhile, Governor Kathy Hochul is running in part on implementing the five-year housing plan that she passed in this year’s state budget.</p> <p>Among Republicans, none of the four candidates has issued a housing plan publicly, but upon inquiry, Rob Astorino and Harry Wilson provided Gotham Gazette with their ideas, while Lee Zeldin and Andrew Giuliani ignored multiple requests to do so. The four GOP candidates have been campaigning largely on crime and taxes.</p> <p>Population growth in New York City and its suburbs has continued to outpace residential development over the past decade – squeezing renters, keeping vacancy rates at emergency levels, increasing homelessness, hurting quality of life, and reducing home ownership opportunities. </p> <p>Nearly a third of New York City renters spend more than half of their income on rent, according to findings from the <a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/hpd/downloads/pdfs/services/2021-nychvs-selected-initial-findings.pdf">2021 Housing and Vacancy Survey</a> published last month by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. That number jumps to 85% among households with incomes less than $25,000. Meanwhile, there are more than 60,000 homeless people in New York City and the vacancy rate for apartments renting at under $1,500 a month is below 1%. The city builds less housing per capita than nearly any other large city in the country, according to <a href="https://cbcny.org/research/strategies-boost-housing-production-new-york-city-metropolitan-area">Citizens Budget Commission. </a></p> <p>The root of the state and city housing crisis extends beyond the five boroughs. It has been well-established for decades that Westchester and Long Island have severely limited housing growth, with the regions having some of the lowest housing production rates in the country, issuing far fewer permits for housing than in neighboring New Jersey and Connecticut or the suburban regions of Boston, Washington D.C., and the Bay Area. </p> <p>The percentage of households defined as “extremely low income” in New York City is also double that of Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk, according to data compiled by <a href="https://www.socialexplorer.com/">Social Explorer</a>, leading <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/130-opinion/11365-suburbs-new-york-affordable-housing-crisis">some to pressure those municipalities</a> to build more housing for low-income families. </p> <p>In her agenda released early this year, Hochul had attempted to pursue strategies for more housing growth in the suburbs, especially transit-rich areas with easier commutes to New York City, but in the face of intense pushback from elected officials, particularly on Long Island, she abandoned the proposals. It was among the housing setbacks during the governor’s first budget and legislative session in the role, while she was able to notch other accomplishments among her housing priorities.</p> <p><strong>Kathy Hochul</strong><br />Hochul, the Democratic governor who took office last August, has touted the <a href="https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-announces-launch-comprehensive-25-billion-housing-plan-historic-fy-2023-budget">$25 billion, five-year housing plan</a> that was funded in the state budget approved in April, with funding focused toward creating and preserving affordable housing, including supportive housing that has social services on-site. Highlights of the plan also include the promise to electrify an additional 50,000 homes and boost the production of affordable rental housing, advance home-ownership, senior housing, and more. </p> <p>Hochul recently signed <a href="https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-signs-landmark-law-unlocking-underutilized-hotel-space-affordable-housing">a bill passed by the Legislature</a> that makes it easier to convert underutilized hotel space into permanent homes and another to <a href="https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-signs-legislation-creating-new-york-city-public-housing-preservation-trust">create the New York City Housing Preservation Trust</a> that is expected to unlock billions in federal funding for NYCHA public housing, home to more than 400,000 New Yorkers and in dire need of tens of billions of dollars in capital repairs.</p> <p>Hochul was unable to convince the Legislature to approve her proposed changes to the 421-a program that provides large tax breaks for housing development in New York City that includes some affordable housing.</p> <p>The governor opposed the controversial <a href="https://www.multihousingnews.com/new-york-considers-good-cause-eviction-law/">‘Good Cause’ eviction bill</a>, which would significantly limit allowable rent increases and evictions in rental housing but did not have enough votes to pass the Legislature. It is among the proposals that Williams and other progressives have criticized Hochul over and it is a policy central to his housing plan.</p> <p>Hochul proposed two policies to relax restrictions on accessory dwelling units in single-family lots and multi-family homes near commuter rail stations, but both were abandoned in an amended budget plan in February. The revisions, which <a href="https://www.fox5ny.com/news/gov-hochul-scraps-affordable-housing-plan-from-budget">disappointed many housing advocates</a>, came after suburban lawmakers widely criticized the bills as threats to local zoning authority and single-family home-ownership.</p> <p>Included in her housing agenda was also replacing the 421-a tax abatement – which has offered property tax breaks on apartment building construction since 1971, but expired last week. Opponents to the program have attacked it as a developer giveaway that costs taxpayers $1.7 billion per year, but real estate industry leaders and some elected officials like Hochul and Mayor Adams warn that affordable housing development will plummet in its absence. Hochul proposed a replacement program, called 485-w, that made some adjustments to the recently-expired program to require more affordable housing in properties receiving the tax break. But the Legislature declined to take it up.</p> <p><a href="https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-announces-major-statewide-initiative-end-homelessness-crisis-and-address">According to her campaign website</a>, Hochul also hopes to improve housing access for renters involved in the criminal justice system or with negative credit history, bolster legal support for those facing eviction, create a disaster recovery and resiliency housing unit, and overall address poverty to prevent homelessness statewide.</p> <p><strong>Tom Suozzi</strong><br />Among the opposition to Hochul’s ‘granny flat’ proposal was Rep. Tom Suozzi, who is also seeking the Democratic nomination for Governor this year. Suozzi, who represents the 3rd Congressional District mostly based in Nassau County on Long Island, said it was a state overreach and threat to local single-family zoning.</p> <p>“There is a better way to expand New York’s affordable housing stock based on local control, not Hochul control,” Suozzi <a href="https://suozziforny.com/issues/">says on his campaign website. </a></p> <p>Suozzi is offering a series of initiatives that he believes would address the housing crisis. If elected, he says he would craft his own multibillion-dollar affordable housing development plan while focusing on repurposing office buildings and hotels, promoting affordable housing tax incentives, building transit-oriented development in suburban localities, and investing in New York State Homes and Community Renewal.</p> <p>Suozzi offers few details beyond promising, if elected, to craft a plan based on those broad principles.</p> <p><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11297-max-politics-podcast-tom-suozzi-runs-governor-democrat">On Gotham Gazette’s Max’s Politics podcast</a>, Suozzi discussed his plan to enhance downtown suburban areas near train stations to attract young renters and meet some of the significant demand for housing in the New York metropolitan area. He said would create more “cool downtowns,” as he had as Nassau County executive, developing affordable rental apartments, commerce areas, offices, and dining and entertainment options. “Young people are not interested in suburbia,” he said. “We need to make it fun for young people to live there.”</p> <p>He added that he would keep the rate of return that a developer can make on projects below 10% while incentivizing widespread housing development through tax breaks.</p> <p>“We need to create a lot more supply of housing, which will help to reduce cost, and we need to actually target affordable housing as well by providing tax incentives to do it,”<a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11297-max-politics-podcast-tom-suozzi-runs-governor-democrat"> he said</a>.</p> <p><strong>Jumaane Williams</strong><br />New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, another Democratic primary contender in this year’s gubernatorial race, has also been a critic of Hochul’s housing initiatives.</p> <p>"Governor Hochul’s housing strategy is woefully inadequate to meet the scale of the housing crisis, the depth of need, that decades of corporate giveaways have helped to create,” he said in a March 18 press release announcing his own housing plan.</p> <p>Williams promises to employ very robust government subsidy programs to cap rent at 30% of household income across the board and to build or preserve 1 million affordable housing units by restructuring how Empire State Development does business, where the city’s housing subsidy funding goes, and leveraging public funds to build more affordable housing.</p> <p>Williams says that the housing crisis can largely be blamed on profit-motivated private developers' domination of the housing market, which he says has been encouraged by government giveaways and tax breaks like 421-a. He proposes working with nonprofits and qualified housing operators –  rather than revenue-focused companies – to increase development. He is also vehemently supporting the Good Cause eviction bill, which he says would provide renters needed protections.</p> <p>Other highlights of his <a href="https://jumaanewilliams.com/housing-for-all-new-yorkers">housing plan</a> include strengthening tenant associations, expanding cooperative housing models, and introducing a progressive property tax system to offer working and middle-class homeowners rebates.</p> <p>“Housing is a human right, and housing and homelessness need to be a top priority for anyone who wants to lead our state,” Williams said in the press release.  </p> <p><strong>Rob Astorino</strong><br />In response to Gotham Gazette inquiries, Astorino – the former Westchester County Executive who was the Republican nominee for Governor in 2014 – said that as governor he would take several steps to address the state affordable housing crisis.</p> <p>Astorino said he would strengthen partnerships with the private sector, adding revenue-generating retail establishments to NYCHA and other public housing developments. “One look at a NYCHA building should tell anyone that government-run housing almost always ends up subpar,” Astorino said by email. “We can do better with common sense, hard work, and less politicization around tenants and landlords.” </p> <p>He said would also reintroduce “luxury decontrol” for rent-stabilized apartments, a policy that previously allowed landlords to deregulate a unit, or remove it from rent regulation, if the tenants earned over $200,000 per year in the past two consecutive years. He said that the policy would help affordable housing target needier residents, while also increasing cooperation with landlords. “Instead of making landlords the enemy, we need to bring them into the discussion to come up with free-market solutions to expand housing stock all across the state,” he said. </p> <p>Astorino said he would also pursue rezoning initiatives to help developers create more housing stock, though he did not clarify how he would do so in his statement to Gotham Gazette. He added that he opposes rezoning single-family-housing areas – a policy that he previously fought against as county executive – but that he is in favor of transit-oriented housing approved by local communities. </p> <p><strong>Harry Wilson</strong><br />Wilson, a businessman who has worked for major investment companies and in the federal government, also proposes increasing the housing supply through an ambitious plan to restructure NYCHA and boost housing development by working with the private sector. </p> <p>“One of the primary thrusts of our <a href="https://harrywilsonforgovernor.com/turn-around-ny/">Turnaround Plan for New York</a> is to make it far more affordable for middle-class and working-class families, and addressing housing costs is an important – but far from the only – part of that effort,” Wilson, a Westchester Republican, said by email.</p> <p>He said that he blames the crisis on underinvestment in housing stock, restrictive and outdated zoning laws, NYCHA administrative mismanagement, and high construction and planning costs driven by overregulation.</p> <p>To address the lack of affordable housing supply, Wilson said that it is essential to lower the cost of development over the long-term and subsidize it in the interim through a successor to the 421-a program. “I believe the former is both inherently more sustainable and less subject to political gamesmanship, though in the short-term some level of subsidization for affordable housing (like a successor to 421-a) is unfortunately necessary,” he told Gotham Gazette.</p> <p>Wilson said that he would also use the governorship to establish a committee responsible for reviewing NYCHA mismanagement, while also developing a plan that would unlock <a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/site/nycha/section-8/about-section-8.page">Section 8</a> funding to help low- and moderate- income families rent in the private market.</p> <p>He added that legislators need to review zoning laws and conduct a realistic assessment of housing needs across a broad array of price points, helping legislators to increase housing supply and meet the needs of both landlords and renters. </p> <p>“While there is a great deal of work to be done, and much progress that must be made, the underlying management principles are straightforward,” Wilson said. “We need to make operating costs more affordable and a closer match to tenant revenues while separately financing the long-neglected capital needs, all consistent with a realistic long-term plan and accountability for each step along the way to ensure NYCHA’s many problems are actually solved and not just talked about.”</p> <p><strong>Lee Zeldin and Andrew Giuliani</strong><br />Neither Zeldin’s nor Giuliani’s gubernatorial campaign replied to multiple requests to provide their candidate’s assessment of the state affordable housing crisis and what they propose to do about it if elected Governor.</p> <p>Zeldin, the Long Island congressman, was among the <a href="https://zeldinfornewyork.com/2022/02/03/lee-zeldin-slams-hochul-plan-to-effectively-eliminate-single-family-housing/">vocal critics of Hochul’s accessory dwelling unit proposal</a> when the governor released it early this year, but has not offered his own plans for how to increase affordable housing in New York</p> <p>

***
Charles Gorrivan, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/5-repub-candidates-offers.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>New York City (photo: Governor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>New Yorkers are voting this month in the Democratic and Republican primaries for Governor as the state grapples with an affordable housing crisis that has hit downstate regions home to some two-thirds of its population the hardest. The issue has been far more elevated among the three Democratic candidates to lead the state for the next four years, with the four Republican candidates largely ignoring the topic. That trend changed somewhat when Gotham Gazette asked the Republican campaigns about the issue.</p> <p>Candidates on both sides of the aisle do have proposals for addressing the state’s affordable housing crisis, including to build more homes and incentivize development, ensure affordability, and revamp crumbling public housing.</p> <p>Democrats Jumaane Williams and Tom Suozzi issued housing plans on their campaign websites months ago, and Williams has made it among the top three focus issues of his campaign. Meanwhile, Governor Kathy Hochul is running in part on implementing the five-year housing plan that she passed in this year’s state budget.</p> <p>Among Republicans, none of the four candidates has issued a housing plan publicly, but upon inquiry, Rob Astorino and Harry Wilson provided Gotham Gazette with their ideas, while Lee Zeldin and Andrew Giuliani ignored multiple requests to do so. The four GOP candidates have been campaigning largely on crime and taxes.</p> <p>Population growth in New York City and its suburbs has continued to outpace residential development over the past decade – squeezing renters, keeping vacancy rates at emergency levels, increasing homelessness, hurting quality of life, and reducing home ownership opportunities. </p> <p>Nearly a third of New York City renters spend more than half of their income on rent, according to findings from the <a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/hpd/downloads/pdfs/services/2021-nychvs-selected-initial-findings.pdf">2021 Housing and Vacancy Survey</a> published last month by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. That number jumps to 85% among households with incomes less than $25,000. Meanwhile, there are more than 60,000 homeless people in New York City and the vacancy rate for apartments renting at under $1,500 a month is below 1%. The city builds less housing per capita than nearly any other large city in the country, according to <a href="https://cbcny.org/research/strategies-boost-housing-production-new-york-city-metropolitan-area">Citizens Budget Commission. </a></p> <p>The root of the state and city housing crisis extends beyond the five boroughs. It has been well-established for decades that Westchester and Long Island have severely limited housing growth, with the regions having some of the lowest housing production rates in the country, issuing far fewer permits for housing than in neighboring New Jersey and Connecticut or the suburban regions of Boston, Washington D.C., and the Bay Area. </p> <p>The percentage of households defined as “extremely low income” in New York City is also double that of Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk, according to data compiled by <a href="https://www.socialexplorer.com/">Social Explorer</a>, leading <a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/130-opinion/11365-suburbs-new-york-affordable-housing-crisis">some to pressure those municipalities</a> to build more housing for low-income families. </p> <p>In her agenda released early this year, Hochul had attempted to pursue strategies for more housing growth in the suburbs, especially transit-rich areas with easier commutes to New York City, but in the face of intense pushback from elected officials, particularly on Long Island, she abandoned the proposals. It was among the housing setbacks during the governor’s first budget and legislative session in the role, while she was able to notch other accomplishments among her housing priorities.</p> <p><strong>Kathy Hochul</strong><br />Hochul, the Democratic governor who took office last August, has touted the <a href="https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-announces-launch-comprehensive-25-billion-housing-plan-historic-fy-2023-budget">$25 billion, five-year housing plan</a> that was funded in the state budget approved in April, with funding focused toward creating and preserving affordable housing, including supportive housing that has social services on-site. Highlights of the plan also include the promise to electrify an additional 50,000 homes and boost the production of affordable rental housing, advance home-ownership, senior housing, and more. </p> <p>Hochul recently signed <a href="https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-signs-landmark-law-unlocking-underutilized-hotel-space-affordable-housing">a bill passed by the Legislature</a> that makes it easier to convert underutilized hotel space into permanent homes and another to <a href="https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-signs-legislation-creating-new-york-city-public-housing-preservation-trust">create the New York City Housing Preservation Trust</a> that is expected to unlock billions in federal funding for NYCHA public housing, home to more than 400,000 New Yorkers and in dire need of tens of billions of dollars in capital repairs.</p> <p>Hochul was unable to convince the Legislature to approve her proposed changes to the 421-a program that provides large tax breaks for housing development in New York City that includes some affordable housing.</p> <p>The governor opposed the controversial <a href="https://www.multihousingnews.com/new-york-considers-good-cause-eviction-law/">‘Good Cause’ eviction bill</a>, which would significantly limit allowable rent increases and evictions in rental housing but did not have enough votes to pass the Legislature. It is among the proposals that Williams and other progressives have criticized Hochul over and it is a policy central to his housing plan.</p> <p>Hochul proposed two policies to relax restrictions on accessory dwelling units in single-family lots and multi-family homes near commuter rail stations, but both were abandoned in an amended budget plan in February. The revisions, which <a href="https://www.fox5ny.com/news/gov-hochul-scraps-affordable-housing-plan-from-budget">disappointed many housing advocates</a>, came after suburban lawmakers widely criticized the bills as threats to local zoning authority and single-family home-ownership.</p> <p>Included in her housing agenda was also replacing the 421-a tax abatement – which has offered property tax breaks on apartment building construction since 1971, but expired last week. Opponents to the program have attacked it as a developer giveaway that costs taxpayers $1.7 billion per year, but real estate industry leaders and some elected officials like Hochul and Mayor Adams warn that affordable housing development will plummet in its absence. Hochul proposed a replacement program, called 485-w, that made some adjustments to the recently-expired program to require more affordable housing in properties receiving the tax break. But the Legislature declined to take it up.</p> <p><a href="https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-announces-major-statewide-initiative-end-homelessness-crisis-and-address">According to her campaign website</a>, Hochul also hopes to improve housing access for renters involved in the criminal justice system or with negative credit history, bolster legal support for those facing eviction, create a disaster recovery and resiliency housing unit, and overall address poverty to prevent homelessness statewide.</p> <p><strong>Tom Suozzi</strong><br />Among the opposition to Hochul’s ‘granny flat’ proposal was Rep. Tom Suozzi, who is also seeking the Democratic nomination for Governor this year. Suozzi, who represents the 3rd Congressional District mostly based in Nassau County on Long Island, said it was a state overreach and threat to local single-family zoning.</p> <p>“There is a better way to expand New York’s affordable housing stock based on local control, not Hochul control,” Suozzi <a href="https://suozziforny.com/issues/">says on his campaign website. </a></p> <p>Suozzi is offering a series of initiatives that he believes would address the housing crisis. If elected, he says he would craft his own multibillion-dollar affordable housing development plan while focusing on repurposing office buildings and hotels, promoting affordable housing tax incentives, building transit-oriented development in suburban localities, and investing in New York State Homes and Community Renewal.</p> <p>Suozzi offers few details beyond promising, if elected, to craft a plan based on those broad principles.</p> <p><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11297-max-politics-podcast-tom-suozzi-runs-governor-democrat">On Gotham Gazette’s Max’s Politics podcast</a>, Suozzi discussed his plan to enhance downtown suburban areas near train stations to attract young renters and meet some of the significant demand for housing in the New York metropolitan area. He said would create more “cool downtowns,” as he had as Nassau County executive, developing affordable rental apartments, commerce areas, offices, and dining and entertainment options. “Young people are not interested in suburbia,” he said. “We need to make it fun for young people to live there.”</p> <p>He added that he would keep the rate of return that a developer can make on projects below 10% while incentivizing widespread housing development through tax breaks.</p> <p>“We need to create a lot more supply of housing, which will help to reduce cost, and we need to actually target affordable housing as well by providing tax incentives to do it,”<a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/state/11297-max-politics-podcast-tom-suozzi-runs-governor-democrat"> he said</a>.</p> <p><strong>Jumaane Williams</strong><br />New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, another Democratic primary contender in this year’s gubernatorial race, has also been a critic of Hochul’s housing initiatives.</p> <p>"Governor Hochul’s housing strategy is woefully inadequate to meet the scale of the housing crisis, the depth of need, that decades of corporate giveaways have helped to create,” he said in a March 18 press release announcing his own housing plan.</p> <p>Williams promises to employ very robust government subsidy programs to cap rent at 30% of household income across the board and to build or preserve 1 million affordable housing units by restructuring how Empire State Development does business, where the city’s housing subsidy funding goes, and leveraging public funds to build more affordable housing.</p> <p>Williams says that the housing crisis can largely be blamed on profit-motivated private developers' domination of the housing market, which he says has been encouraged by government giveaways and tax breaks like 421-a. He proposes working with nonprofits and qualified housing operators –  rather than revenue-focused companies – to increase development. He is also vehemently supporting the Good Cause eviction bill, which he says would provide renters needed protections.</p> <p>Other highlights of his <a href="https://jumaanewilliams.com/housing-for-all-new-yorkers">housing plan</a> include strengthening tenant associations, expanding cooperative housing models, and introducing a progressive property tax system to offer working and middle-class homeowners rebates.</p> <p>“Housing is a human right, and housing and homelessness need to be a top priority for anyone who wants to lead our state,” Williams said in the press release.  </p> <p><strong>Rob Astorino</strong><br />In response to Gotham Gazette inquiries, Astorino – the former Westchester County Executive who was the Republican nominee for Governor in 2014 – said that as governor he would take several steps to address the state affordable housing crisis.</p> <p>Astorino said he would strengthen partnerships with the private sector, adding revenue-generating retail establishments to NYCHA and other public housing developments. “One look at a NYCHA building should tell anyone that government-run housing almost always ends up subpar,” Astorino said by email. “We can do better with common sense, hard work, and less politicization around tenants and landlords.” </p> <p>He said would also reintroduce “luxury decontrol” for rent-stabilized apartments, a policy that previously allowed landlords to deregulate a unit, or remove it from rent regulation, if the tenants earned over $200,000 per year in the past two consecutive years. He said that the policy would help affordable housing target needier residents, while also increasing cooperation with landlords. “Instead of making landlords the enemy, we need to bring them into the discussion to come up with free-market solutions to expand housing stock all across the state,” he said. </p> <p>Astorino said he would also pursue rezoning initiatives to help developers create more housing stock, though he did not clarify how he would do so in his statement to Gotham Gazette. He added that he opposes rezoning single-family-housing areas – a policy that he previously fought against as county executive – but that he is in favor of transit-oriented housing approved by local communities. </p> <p><strong>Harry Wilson</strong><br />Wilson, a businessman who has worked for major investment companies and in the federal government, also proposes increasing the housing supply through an ambitious plan to restructure NYCHA and boost housing development by working with the private sector. </p> <p>“One of the primary thrusts of our <a href="https://harrywilsonforgovernor.com/turn-around-ny/">Turnaround Plan for New York</a> is to make it far more affordable for middle-class and working-class families, and addressing housing costs is an important – but far from the only – part of that effort,” Wilson, a Westchester Republican, said by email.</p> <p>He said that he blames the crisis on underinvestment in housing stock, restrictive and outdated zoning laws, NYCHA administrative mismanagement, and high construction and planning costs driven by overregulation.</p> <p>To address the lack of affordable housing supply, Wilson said that it is essential to lower the cost of development over the long-term and subsidize it in the interim through a successor to the 421-a program. “I believe the former is both inherently more sustainable and less subject to political gamesmanship, though in the short-term some level of subsidization for affordable housing (like a successor to 421-a) is unfortunately necessary,” he told Gotham Gazette.</p> <p>Wilson said that he would also use the governorship to establish a committee responsible for reviewing NYCHA mismanagement, while also developing a plan that would unlock <a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/site/nycha/section-8/about-section-8.page">Section 8</a> funding to help low- and moderate- income families rent in the private market.</p> <p>He added that legislators need to review zoning laws and conduct a realistic assessment of housing needs across a broad array of price points, helping legislators to increase housing supply and meet the needs of both landlords and renters. </p> <p>“While there is a great deal of work to be done, and much progress that must be made, the underlying management principles are straightforward,” Wilson said. “We need to make operating costs more affordable and a closer match to tenant revenues while separately financing the long-neglected capital needs, all consistent with a realistic long-term plan and accountability for each step along the way to ensure NYCHA’s many problems are actually solved and not just talked about.”</p> <p><strong>Lee Zeldin and Andrew Giuliani</strong><br />Neither Zeldin’s nor Giuliani’s gubernatorial campaign replied to multiple requests to provide their candidate’s assessment of the state affordable housing crisis and what they propose to do about it if elected Governor.</p> <p>Zeldin, the Long Island congressman, was among the <a href="https://zeldinfornewyork.com/2022/02/03/lee-zeldin-slams-hochul-plan-to-effectively-eliminate-single-family-housing/">vocal critics of Hochul’s accessory dwelling unit proposal</a> when the governor released it early this year, but has not offered his own plans for how to increase affordable housing in New York</p> <p>

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Charles Gorrivan, Gotham Gazette

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