New York City leaders are looking to get started on the right foot with soon-to-be Gov. Kathy Hochul — and vice-versa — following the rocky relationship between City Hall and Albany during the previous administration.
“The governor’s office and the mayor’s office have rarely been on the same page when it comes to COVID-19 policy,” said Jeff Coltin, senior reporter at City & State.
So as Hochul prepares to take over following the resignation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo — set to take affect next week — she spent Tuesday in closed door meetings as a part of a listening tour to learn more about the needs of the city.
Hochul met with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams — and released joint statements with each.
Hochul and de Blasio said: “We had a productive conversation today discussing issues that are important to New Yorkers, from fighting the Delta variant to getting our kids back to school safely this fall to keeping our communities safe. We look forward to working with each other to continue New York City’s recovery and end the fight against COVID.”
Hochul has been traveling the state and working to “build out her senior staff.” On Sunday she told reporters that job number one, “Is to clean house of people who were mentioned in the report in that negative way.”
Political sources told PIX11 Hochul has considered naming Williams as her lieutenant governor. Williams ran against Hochul in the 2018 Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, which makes the appointment no small feat, Coltin said, compared to Hochul’s predecessor.
Two other names on Hochul’s short list: State Sens. Brian Benjamin, of Harlem, and Jamaal Bailey, of the Bronx.
Hochul and Williams said: “We had an important dialogue this evening discussing issues that are of vital and immediate importance to New Yorkers, including expanding and escalating COVID-19 vaccination efforts, reframing how we address public safety while reducing gun violence, and expediting distribution of relief funding for renters and owners alike. We also discussed the need to remove unnecessary barriers and fund excluded workers – largely immigrants – who have been blocked from federal aid. These must and will be immediate priorities of this new Administration. We look forward to working together, upstate and downstate, to help New Yorkers recover from this pandemic and renew New York City.”
“The fact that Hochul is meeting with Jumaane Williams is very notable. Gov. Cuomo was known for holding grudges,” he said.