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Democrats running for New York LG debate as June 28 primary nears

The Democratic candidates for New York lieutenant governor debate on June 15, 2022.
Spectrum News
/
Spectrum News
The Democratic candidates for New York lieutenant governor debate on June 15, 2022.

The three Democratic candidates for New York lieutenant governor debated Wednesday.

Former Hudson Valley Congressman Antonio Delgado has only been in office since May 25, but he’ll have to fend off two challengers in the June 28 primary if he wants to stay on as New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s second lieutenant governor.

Wednesday’s Spectrum debate may be the only time on stage together for Delgado, Ana Maria Archila, who is running with New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and former New York City Councilmember Diana Reyna, Long Island Congressman Tom Suozzi’s running mate.

Given the fact that Delgado is only in the role because former Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin resigned after pleading not guilty to federal fraud charges this spring, the candidates were asked about their approach to ethics in government.

“I have a track record of trying to make sure we create accountability, transparency, in our electoral system. I supported HR1 when I was in Congress, which would create public finance campaigns, which would stop the revolving door of members of Congress joining lobbyists, I had a bill that I introduced in there that would also create an FEC reports making sure that we know who the lobbyists were and who they were giving to. I think that same approach needs to be brought to the state level,” he said.

Reyna responded, “I know that there's a need for continuous training on conflicts of interest. When someone's going to be a criminal in politics, they have no business being in politics. I have seen what has been many colleagues go through what have been criminal activities. I have seen Albany, the corruption that has continued to plague Albany, this is what voters want corrected.”

Archila took the opportunity to go on the offensive.

“Actions speak louder than words,” she said. “Both of my opponents have accepted money from industries that dominate the debate in Albany. Antonio, if you don't know the person who has spent a million dollars on behalf of your campaign, you should tell him to stop. You should stop accepting money from corporate landlords that are the ones who are raising the rent. And both of you should make sure that you don't have conflict of interest. I am the only person in this race who has from day one said that I will not take money from millionaires, I will not take money from corporate PACs. I will not take money from real estate developer. Because that actually corrupts our democracy and drowns out the voices of people.”

Among many other topics, the candidates were also asked about how they would approach bail reform and crime — which a new Siena Research Institute poll shows is a key concern among registered voters across the state and party lines.

“I think that we need to protect the changes that we make that allow us to end a history of mass incarceration of Black and brown and poor people,” Archila said. “And we actually need to do the things that keep people safe. Jumaane Williams and I put together a very comprehensive plan that calls for essentially what New Yorkers have asked. 66,000 New Yorkers were asked the question of what to do about public safety. And they said, invest in affordable housing, invest in mental health services, and respectful policing. I agree with them.”

Reyna said, “I would fix bail reform. I support what is the opportunities to be able to ensure that no one languishes in jail. But what is also true is that the issues that we see here today is a revolving door of criminals, the opportunities to see lawlessness in the streets. The criminals have more rights than the victims.”

“When it comes to repeat offenders being let back into the very communities that we're trying to protect, that is problematic,” Delgado said. “When you have individuals who have violent priors, but in the case before the judge is not before the judge with a violent crime, you are handcuffed if you're the judge to figure out how to best deal with this individual, again, with the mindset of how do you protect the community from harm. But let's be clear, too, there are underlying conditions in communities that give rise to crime.”

The lieutenant governor and governor run separately in the June 28 primary. Early voting runs for 10 days starting June 18.

A lifelong resident of the Capital Region, Ian joined WAMC in late 2008 and became news director in 2013. He began working on Morning Edition and has produced The Capitol Connection, Congressional Corner, and several other WAMC programs. Ian can also be heard as the host of the WAMC News Podcast and on The Roundtable and various newscasts. Ian holds a BA in English and journalism and an MA in English, both from the University at Albany, where he has taught journalism since 2013.
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