The stakes, CV and pitches
ALBANY — Three Democrats are seeking the party’s nomination for governor in the June 28 primary — and are vying for party leadership.
Governor Kathy Hochul, Long Island Rep. Tom Suozzi and New York Public Advocate Jumaane Williams largely agree on broad issues, from abortion to the environment to the impact of the former President Donald Trump on Republican ground for Governor.
But Democrats differed notably on criminal justice, taxes, government spending and, even, former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Resumes also make a difference, according to everyone.
As a result, the primary competition, along with the November general election, will help decide the party’s future, according to Gerald Benjamin, longtime New York political observer and retired SUNY New Paltz dean.
Governor Kathy Hochul Former Lieutenant Governor
The 63-year-old Buffalo resident served as a city councilman, county clerk and congresswoman before being elected Cuomo’s lieutenant governor in 2014. Serving on so many levels of government and traveling around the state since 2015 gives her experience of others in the race she can’t match, she argues. She notes that she is the only one who has now led a state budget to completion.
As a member of Congress 10 years ago, she was supported by the National Rifle Association. Since then, she says she has moved on on gun issues and supports banning assault rifles, raising the purchase age for semi-automatic rifles, micro-stamping ammunition and enhanced background checks. She also strengthened the “red flag” law, which provides a process to keep firearms away from someone who could pose a danger to themselves or others.
She signed legislation to amend the Bail Act to allow a judge to consider a defendant’s criminal history and the seriousness of the charge when determining bail. She says it is a more definitive and objective measure than simply allowing a judge to consider the “dangerousness” of a defendant.
Hochul’s approach has been pretty steady as it goes. She highlighted the recently enacted gasoline and property tax cuts, but offered no new ones. She touted the use of pandemic aid for renters and the unemployed. But, rejecting calls from the Liberals, she will not offer more unemployment funding for undocumented workers.
She was not a confidante of Cuomo and represents a break with the former governor. She is the state’s first female governor. She says she’s a pragmatic Democrat who has handled transition and multiple crises, supports abortion rights and gun safety, but also wants to encourage developers, and hasn’t offered new money increases. taxes. The right cannot therefore consider her as a pure progressive. She won the lion’s share of union support and by far raised the most money for the campaign.
Representative Tom Suozzi, Former Nassau County Executive
The Glen Cove resident served as mayor and county executive of one of the most populous counties in the country, which has a bigger budget than some states. He argues that this gives him far more managerial experience than Hochul or anyone else, especially when it comes to overseeing taxes and spending and negotiating employment contracts. He says his work in the bipartisan “problem-solving” caucus in Congress shows he knows he has to work in the political aisle.
He regularly criticized Hochul over his 2012 positions on guns, backing the NRA’s positions. He maintains that his change of opinion is actually based on a political strategy aimed at seducing the Democrats. He wants stricter enforcement of the “red flag” law.
Suozzi considers crime reduction to be his #1 priority. He attacked Hochul for failing to change the law to allow judges to consider a defendant’s ‘dangerousness’ in determining bail – even though the state legislature was unlikely to rule. by the Democrats accepts such a change. He wants to change policing models, he says, to ensure officers become “trusted members of the community.”
Suozzi says he would cut income taxes by 10% and adopt a “circuit breaker” to limit future property tax hikes. To achieve the latter, he says he would change many school mandates to voluntary guidelines to allow districts to streamline spending. He would create a new “New York State Public Bank,” which would serve “unbanked” residents and lend money to small businesses and struggling families.
Suozzi calls himself a “common sense” Democrat who will be tough on crime. He appeals to the Cuomo Democrats – the more moderate branch of the party. On other issues – environment, abortion, etc. – he says he’s as progressive as Democrats come. He says Hochul’s judgment is suspect because of an $850 million grant it provided for a new NFL stadium in Buffalo and because Brian Benjamin, Hochul’s first lieutenant governor, had to resign following corruption charges.
Jumane Williams Former NYC Council Member
The Brooklyn resident is the only person in the contest who calls himself a Democratic Socialist and whose first election victory was attributed in large part to the Working Families Party, which is trying to push Democrats to the left. He was a community activist and supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement. He has Tourette syndrome and says misunderstandings about his condition have made him a stronger advocate for people with special conditions, disabilities or mental health issues.
Williams supports the recent changes enacted by Hochul, but says the more important point is that it does little to reduce common street crime and its causes. He created the National Gun Violence Network to bring together elected officials and community leaders to work on the causes of violence. He touts his work with the New York City Council’s Crisis Management System to give “credible messengers” the ability to broker street disputes and connect people to mental health services, job training and work. other resources.
He opposes the idea of allowing a judge to weigh a person’s “dangerousness” in determining bail. He says that before bail was waived for most crimes in New York, many more minorities and poor people often languished in jail before their trial compared to their white and wealthy counterparts. Saying a job is the best way to reduce recidivism in prison, he backs a bill banning employers from asking about a job seeker’s criminal history.
Unlike his rivals, Williams says he would raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires. It would spend the revenue on affordable housing, social services and job training. It would push for “universal” (state-funded) health care for all and raise the income threshold for those eligible for the “essential plan,” state health care coverage for those whose income is low but too high to be eligible for Medicaid.
Williams is clearly targeting the progressive wing of the party, where the party’s energy lies these days, analysts said. He tries to link Hochul to Cuomo and says the two were meant to protect the status quo and not working-class New Yorkers.