UPDATED 9:50 AM PT – Friday, August 27, 2021
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced her selection for her second-in-command, which is soon to be Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin. During the announcement event Thursday, Hochul praised Benjamin as a choice that would help her get her new administration off the ground.
“Someone who’ll be out there championing our policies and our admission administration’s agenda in every corner of the state with a real focus on New York City,” she stated. “Because New York City needs our help.”
Hochul promised Benjamin would have an important role in her administration, which marks a stark contrast from the relationship she had with her predecessor over the last seven years. This new relationship will be tested next year when the Hochul-Benajmin ticket will appear on the ballot.
I want to thank Governor Hochul for trusting me with the incredible honor of serving alongside her as Lieutenant Governor. pic.twitter.com/4jSE9wHP3l
— Senator Brian Benjamin (@NYSenBenjamin) August 26, 2021
The Democrat governor then gave a glimpse into what that administration’s first priorities will be.
“We’ve got of get this kids back to school, especially those from black and brown communities where the kids sometimes don’t have the easiest shot in life,” Hochul stated. “They need to get back to the environment that’s nurturing and caring. And we have to protect them and we have to protect our teachers, our amazing teachers, who’ve been showing up to be there for our children.”
Benajmin will be leaving his role as the state senator for District 30, which includes Harlem, East Harlem and the Upper West Side.
“Gov. Hochul is someone who I have a lot of faith in and it’s not just because we did so many important things together over my four years as being a state senator,” he explained. “It’s because of the moments we had, the conversations we had, where I was able to see inside her heart and I knew the kind of person she was before she had power.”
Before he turned to public service, Benjamin worked as a financial advisor for major non-and-for-profit organizations with Morgan Stanely.
“When I left banking to get involved in public service full time, I left and I decided I wanted to devote my life to public service,” he stated. “A lot of people thought I was crazy, they thought that I had no idea what I was doing.”
After getting elected, Benjamin made a name for himself in the realm of criminal justice reform by leading a controversial charge on a progressive push to defund private prisons.
Benjamin will be sworn in after Labor Day at which point a special election will kick of in District 30 to fill his seat.