In the only surprise of the New York State Democratic Convention, Kathy Hochul, former Congresswoman representing Buffalo, was nominated to run as Lt. Governor.
Hochul was introduced to the delegates in a video presentation by Governor Andrew Cuomo, who praised his current Lt. Governor, Robert Duffy, took a moment to heighten suspense, and then the camera panned out to show Kathy Hochul sitting beside him.
“The Lieutenant Governor is an important position for the campaign but even more important for this great state," Governor Cuomo said. "Kathy is a person who knows Upstate New York, knows Western New York, knows the federal government, who has worked in the private sector and knows business, who knows New York’s needs all across the board. Even more exciting, Kathy will be the first female Democratic Lieutenant Governor in more than 35 years. I am excited to have her join me on the Democratic ticket and look forward to her future service on behalf of the people of this state. I also extend my thanks to Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy for his four years of exceptional dedication and commitment to New York.”
"I am thrilled to be joining Governor Cuomo and the entire Democratic team," Hochul said. "Over the last four years I’ve witnessed unprecedented optimism and enthusiasm for our entire state, especially Upstate New York and in my hometown of Buffalo where we have seen an economic recovery that many politicians have promised but only Governor Cuomo has delivered. It is exciting to see how far we have come as a state and I don’t want to be on the sidelines for what the future holds. Like I have my whole life, I want to roll up my sleeves and be part of the transformation of this great state. New York State is on the move, but our work is far from finished. I am proud to join Governor Cuomo as a new voice for the communities in Upstate New York and for all New Yorkers. I am proud to be running with Governor Cuomo and joining the ticket as Lieutenant Governor of the State of New York.”
Hochul won her seat in 2011, the first Democrat to represent the 26th District in 40 years. She then lost her seat through redistricting.
"As a member of Congress, Kathy was a champion for Western New York and Upstate, taking a bipartisan approach toward creating jobs and supporting farmers, small businesses, veterans, and environmental protection," the campaign stated.
Hochul grew up in the Buffalo area, graduated from Syracuse University and has spent nearly her entire life in Western New York. She and her husband William live in Buffalo, and are parents of two children, Will and Katie. Kathy most recently served as Vice President of M&T Bank.
"In Congress, Kathy focused on growing the Upstate economy by advancing measures to close the skills gap and help businesses place new workers in unfilled advanced manufacturing jobs. In addition, Kathy fought to save the Niagara Air Reserve Station – the largest employer in the county – and as a result of those efforts the Station secured a new mission. Kathy championed the Clothe the Homeless Veterans Act that provides veterans with items that are left behind at security checkpoints.
"Kathy was a strong supporter of the dairy industry and secured federal infrastructure funding for a business park in Genessee County, the site of yogurt producer Pepsi-Mueller’s new plant. She successfully managed to get the EPA to consider putting Eighteen Mile Creek on the Superfund list in order to protect residents from industrial contamination. Kathy also secured funding for repair work to be undertaken on the Flight of Five series canal locks on the Erie Canal," her biography states.
Before her election to Congress, Kathy served as the Erie County Clerk from 2007 until 2011. Previously, she was a deputy county clerk, a member of the Hamburg town board, a practicing attorney, and a legislative assistant for New York Congressional Representative John J. LaFalce and legislative assistant for New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
Hochul is an ideal running mate. Like Robert Duffy, she is from upstate, where despite the massive marshalling of resources to boost the upstate economy and a shift away from the Republican party by d suburban communities, Cuomo lost some luster because of the SAFE Act to reduce gun violence and his victory in winning marriage equality. And choosing a woman as his running mate will highlight a key difference in Cuomo's pro-woman agenda versus his Republican opponent Rob Astorino.
"Cuomo wants to make gender issues an important part of his campaign," a Democratic insider said.
"She's a great choice," Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver commented. "She was an effective member of Congress - got a lot of things done. But she was a victim of reapportionment by a court."
Robert Duffy Cheered
The current Lt. Governor, Robert Duffy, chose not to run for a second term.
Duffy, who took to the podium before the announcement, was greeted to appreciate applause.
"The toughest thing about my decision not to run again was to step away from this governor – friend, colleague – a decision I made several months ago. Sometimes life gets in the way," he said. "I am comfortable with my decision."
Citing a series of accomplishments - jobs creation, economic development particularly of the hard-pressed upstate region, tax reductions, on time budgets - he said "one of the highlights of my career was to be in the Senate chambers that historic night" when marriage equality was voted into law. "Then, marching a few days later down Fifth Avenue with the Governor, seeing 1 million lining the streets and realizing that one act changed millions of lives.
"Leadership is hard, governing is very hard, but this governor has really changed the landscape." He pointed to the economic development councils and the mechanisms that match higher education with business.
"You are seeing a transformation before your eyes...things are happening everywhere, jobs are being created, and change will take place at faster rate in the future. This state is on the move – something you should be proud of."
Hochul was nominated by acclamation at the convention, as were Tom DiNapoli to run for reelection as NYS Comptroller and Eric Schneiderman to run for a second term as NYS Attorney General, and Andrew Cuomo for reelection as Governor.
Karen Rubin, Long Island Populist Examiner
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