Governor Kathy Hochul said on Tuesday she supports law enforcement “100%” – despite tying up with vocal supporters of the “Defund the Police” movement as part of her election bid.
“The era of bashing our police is over. We have your back 100%,” Hochul said at the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police annual conference in upstate Glens Falls.
“No one will ever say the words ‘Defund The Police’ in my presence. It won’t lead anywhere. You’re not going to befriend me if you say that,” added Hochul, who voiced support for increased state spending on police in the future.
His comments appear at odds with his candidacy on the Working Families Party ballot line, in addition as a Democrat, in November. Working Families has supported the “Defund” movement in the past. Hochul takes on Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin (R-Suffolk) in the Nov. 8 election.
The governor’s funding ties also include the appointment of Brian Benjamin as lieutenant governor last year alongside Amit Bagga as assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs.
Benjamin and Bagga both pledged to support fundraising efforts while running for city offices in 2021.
“The first big decision as governor that Kathy Hochul supported by the Working Families Party was choosing a lieutenant governor. She chose Brian Benjamin, the champion of funding the police movement in the state Legislature,” Zeldin, which was endorsed by the Post editorial board, tweeted Tuesday. “It was his claim to fame until his arrest and resignation.”
A Hochul spokeswoman and spokeswoman for the Working Families Party, which backed Hochul after his landslide victory in the June 28 Democratic primary, declined to comment.
With the Democratic Party primary trailing Hochul, political pundits say a pivot to the political middle ahead of the Nov. 8 election makes sense.
“It may dampen the enthusiasm of progressives a bit, but it helps her with conservative Democrats and suburban voters by dampening Zeldin’s attacks that she and Democrats are soft on crime, too preoccupied with reforming the bill and anti-police,” said Dr. Basil Smile. , Jr., political consultant and former executive director of the New York State Democratic Party, to the Post in a text.
Hochul’s ties to the controversial “Defund the Police” movement, which she has never personally supported publicly, have come under criticism alongside her stances on bail reform, which some police unions and law enforcement officials, undermine their ability to maintain public order. security.
“Obviously she knows she has a problem on the issue of crime, and there’s no way she’s going to get out of it in the next 105 days. Voters aren’t stupid,” a Republican political consultant Bill O’Reilly told the Post on Tuesday.
A total of 58% of New Yorkers believe bail reform has contributed to a continued rise in crime, while 38% believe Hochul’s championed changes to the state budget would have “no effect.” about the situation, according to an April poll from Siena College.
Separate cases involving two accused meth dealers and an Army vet who allegedly attacked Zeldin at a campaign event last week have fueled new calls to change state laws on confining people before their court case.
Hochul on Tuesday rejected a call by New York City Mayor Eric Adams to summon state lawmakers for a special session of the legislature to tackle spiraling crime, hours after he urged police chiefs to be patient with the changes approved in the state budget adopted in April. The changes included making more crimes eligible for bail.
“Our budget just passed and some of these laws came into effect to give law enforcement more opportunity to arrest repeat offenders,” Hochul told police chiefs on Tuesday. “And property theft, gun violence cases and hate crimes – all of that is now covered by law. They had not been covered before. We have also given more authority to our judges.
But she pledged to include law enforcement more in policy-making in the future.
“I believe there has been a gap for years in making sure the voices of law enforcement are there when we talk about policies that affect what you do every day,” Hochul said.
Appointments from left-leaning politicians such as Benjamin — who resigned months ago after his federal indictment linked to an alleged corruption scheme — and Hochul state’s support for some criminal justice reforms have helped her to win the support of the political left when she replaced the ex-governor. Andrew Cuomo last August amid his sexual harassment scandal.
Some progressives are now chafing at Hochul’s continued efforts to garner support from law enforcement now that she has the Democratic gubernatorial nomination locked.
“The governor took office after 10 years of legislative and political violence from Cuomo, blunting her clear neoliberal perspective; of course, soon after the start of its first budget and first legislative session, it became an obstacle to common-sense public policy due to tone-deaf fiscal conservatism and pushing the campaign over the top. above politics,” said Jawanza James Williams, the organization’s director of advocacy. group VOCAL-NY, to the Post on Tuesday.