NEW YORK — The last 100 days have been a whirlwind for Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin. Just after Gov. Kathy Hochul called on Benjamin to serve, his wife gave birth to their second daughter.
“I’ve gotten very little sleep,” Benjamin told PIX11 News. “Partially because I’m traveling all over the state.”
The lieutenant governor sat down for an exclusive interview with PIX11 News to discuss taking on the new role at a critical time. Benjamin has been focused on addressing vaccine equity and hesitancy.
“Our younger Black men across the state are not getting vaccinated and in more White, rural communities, there’s some cultural challenges,” Benjamin explained.
With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations on the rise, the governor’s office announced a new mask mandate for all public places that do not require vaccinations. Benjamin explained they’re trying to find a balance between stopping the spread of the omicron variant while avoiding large-scale shutdowns.
“We’re trying to use a scalpel and not a sledgehammer approach, and we’re trying to work a local municipalities,” he said.
After stepping into their roles following the resignation of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Benjamin and Gov. Hochul are now campaigning together, hoping to win a full term as governor and lieutenant governor.
There was an unexpected shake up in the race for governor when Attorney General Letitia James suspended her campaign this week, saying instead she’ll run for re-election.
“I think what she decided to do is very commendable. Right? You know, she’s saying, ‘I am going to go get Donald Trump,'” Benjamin said. “With the attorney general now running for reelection, we could run together as a ticket as opposed to there being that conflict with her and the governor making their own their own arguments for why they should be governor.”