Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul told the Max & Murphy podcast on Thursday that her public schedule over the remaining days of the legislative session is lighter than usual so that she can, if needed, rush to Albany to break ties on procedural matters in the evenly divided New York State Senate.
Twice already in the past weeks, she has entered the Senate chamber in a scripted bid to cast a tie-breaker, prompting Republicans to adjourn the session. “Now, I could do that every day of the week,” Hochul said Thursday. But she doesn’t want to merely sit in Albany “twittling my thumbs.”
Hochul discussed her rise to office, from growing up in an unusually progressive, working-class household to volunteering on campaigns to time as a student leader at Syracuse University. She talked about the strategy that guided her upset election to Congress in 2011, and offered advice to Democrats trying this year to accomplish the same feat of ousting Republicans in swing districts. Back then, Hochul says, she was helped by Paul Ryan’s attack on Medicare. “The Medicare issue is still strong,” she said. Attacks on nutrItion programs and other strands in the safety net could also backfire on the GOP. “I would lean hard into programs that transcend party labels.”
A native of Buffalo, Hochul says Andrew Cuomo’s efforts have had a major impact there. “Nobody paid it the attention he did. People needed that infusion of faith.” As for the corruption allegations that have followed some of that work, “It was heart-breaking to see them break the trust that was placed in them.”
Of the primary challenge she faces from Brooklyn’s Jumaane Williams: “I know what happens when Democrats attack each other. What I would love to do is harness all that energy and turn it against Republicans.”