NEW YORK (NEWS10/PIX11) — The next lieutenant governor of New York will be from New York City, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said on Sunday. Appearing on “Face the Nation,” Hochul said there’s been a lot of interest in who will fill the position once she becomes governor in just over a week.
“There’s a lot of energy and excitement. I’ve narrowed it down in terms of the geographic area of the state to New York City because I’m an upstater, even though I’ve spent thousands of hours in New York City and I’m well familiar with the challenges, but I want somebody who lives there,” Hochul said. “I want someone who understands the challenges firsthand. So I’ll have a very diverse administration, but I’m also excited about the prospect of having a true partnership with a lieutenant governor who I believe will bring a lot to the table.”
The position of lieutenant governor has largely been a ceremonial role. During her time in office, Hochul helped lead economic reopening efforts in western New York amid the COVID-19 pandemic. She has been in the post since 2015, and said she will announce her choice shortly after she is sworn in.
State Sens. Jamaal Bailey and Brian Benjamin are emerging as top contenders in the search in recent days, a person familiar with the matter told the Associated Press. Both from New York City, they’re among several candidates being vetted by Hochul and her team.
Hochul, who will be New York’s first female governor, is also considering naming Kathryn Garcia as the director of state operations, a coveted position in the state administration, the person said. They could not publicly discuss the internal deliberations and spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity.
Hochul is preparing to take over the executive office after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation on Tuesday, effective after a two-week transition period. She said on Sunday the governor’s team has so far made the transition a smooth process.
Cuomo resigned following a report by the New York attorney general’s office that found he sexually harassed 11 women. He also faced an impeachment investigation led by the New York State Assembly, however, the proceedings were suspended on Friday.
Hochul has said she is ready to step into the role of governor and lead New Yorkers through the COVID pandemic. She said on Sunday the state’s response to rising cases, spurred by the delta variant, will be her top priority after she is sworn in.
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