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Lieutenant Governor Candidate Kathy Hochul Addresses North Country Business Officials

New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul
WAMC/Pat Bradley

Democratic candidate for New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul was in Plattsburgh Friday to meet with the North Country’s business and economic development leaders.

In May, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his choice for a running mate: former congresswoman Kathy Hochul. She replaces Robert Duffy, who announced he would leave the ticket due to health issues.

The Plattsburgh North Country Chamber of Commerce regularly invites elected officials and those running for office to meet with members of the regional business community. Chamber President and CEO Garry Douglas noted that the chamber does not endorse candidates.

Democrat Kathy Hochul told those assembled that she and her family are no strangers to the region, having often vacationed in the Adirondacks. She then noted the proximity and importance of the Canadian border.  “I was real excited when the governor announced his Global Initiative recognizing that he has an opportunity to really promote our products and our markets to a larger audience. And he did put Canada at the top of that list.”

Hochul praised the concept and creation of the Regional Economic Development Councils.  “This has been the most significant game changer in how we’ve delivered services to our businesses and created a pro-business environment in the state of New York. Having the power put in the hands of people who know their communities the best to make the economic development decisions is brilliant. I was so excited when the governor asked me to oversee the ten Regional Economic Development Councils because my entire public life and particularly my time in Congress was very focused on working on helping our businesses and create jobs.”

The regional business representatives quizzed the candidate on numerous topics, including American content in trade goods and the SUNY 2020 program. Hotel manager Vicki Giroux noted that her family operates a family farm.  Hochul related that she too is from an agriculturally rich area.  “How are we going to attract young people to want to go into the farm careers? Which I think are exciting. The image that someone may have is definitely very different from the reality because these are kids that are going to our top universities. They come back and they’re using their minds to figure out ways to use biomass and try to create energy.  I’ve seen bio-digesters. There’s just so many great ideas that are percolating off our farms. We’ve got to get kids in school excited about this and be part of the agricultural industry which is an important  economic driver for upstate New York.”

Following her presentation Democratic Lieutenant Governor candidate Kathy Hochul answered a few targeted questions. She has been criticized as too conservative to be an appropriate match for Democrat Andrew Cuomo. But Hochul discounts the concerns.  “The governor knows that I’m from upstate New York and I represented a part of the state that does have strong conservative values.  But I don’t think those are exclusive to the values that the governor has because we all want to make sure that upstate New York prospers and that we continue building the economy. So I don’t think labels like conservative make a difference when you’re trying to fight for peoples’ jobs, the dignity of a living wage and supporting our environment up here and promoting tourism and promoting agriculture. So I think we’re going to be great partners.”

Franklin County Board of Legislators Chair Billy Jones says the candidate touched on many issues affecting his area.  “The issues that continue to be watched are obviously economic development, helping out with government regulation - getting that off our business owners. Obviously agriculture is a huge asset to our area in Franklin County. And she did happen to mention unfunded mandates which is a killer to us in county government.”

In September Hochul won a primary challenge from Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu. She and Governor Cuomo will face Republican Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and his running mate, Chemung County Sheriff Christopher Moss, in the general election in November.

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