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Hochul expected to announce her pick for lieutenant governor

August 26, 2021 Associated Press
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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is expected to introduce state Sen. Brian Benjamin as her choice for lieutenant governor Thursday.

Hochul scheduled a “special announcement” with Benjamin in his Harlem district at 1 p.m. A person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Wednesday said Hochul had selected Benjamin, a fellow Democrat, for her No. 2.

Hochul, the former lieutenant governor, took office Tuesday after the resignation of Andrew Cuomo amid a sexual harassment scandal.

Benjamin, 44, grew up in Harlem as the son of Caribbean immigrants and earned his master’s of business administration from Harvard Business School. He has focused on criminal justice reform as a state lawmaker, recently helping push through a law to criminalize the use of police chokeholds that result in injury or death.

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While the role of lieutenant governor in New York is largely ceremonial, Hochul was the second person with the job in 13 years to become governor following a resignation.

Choosing Benjamin also could provide political benefits for Hochul, a Buffalo Democrat who has said she intends to run for election next year.

Benjamin’s New York City roots could help drive support for Hochul. The city makes up more than a third of the state’s 13.4 million registered voters. And Benjamin’s legislative record could help her make inroads with the party’s progressive wing, which could be crucial in a primary.

Benjamin unsuccessfully ran for New York City comptroller this year. He serves as senior assistant majority leader in the Senate and chair of the budget and revenue committee.

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