By JORDAN RAMOS
On Thursday morning, New York Governor Kathy Hochul swore in State Senator Brian Benjamin as the state’s newest lieutenant governor. The ceremony took place at 633 Third Ave. in Manhattan.
There were relatively few attendees allowed into the swearing-in, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In introducing him, Hochul praised Benjamin’s leadership as a state senator. “I can’t do it alone,” Hochul said. “I need someone at my side, someone who also I rely upon for their wisdom and guidance and their local knowledge of issues.”
Hochul said that Benjamin has been giving New York State a “sense of normalcy in a time where things aren’t normal.”
Benjamin, after taking his oath, praised Hochul for giving people all over the state have “a seat at the table.”
Speaking to the press, Benjamin said the new administration will set up a NYCHA task force. He also spoke about providing education opportunities to immigrants. “Governor Hochul has been very clear that we will spend the resources we need as a state to make sure that every ethnicity, every language, every group that needs to have the communication as it relates to any natural emergency if that occurs, it is a cause that is essential because it is our job to reflect and represent every member in New York State,” Benjamin said.
Concerning gun violence, Benjamin answered a journalist’s question by saying, “We have to have safer streets.”
After taking questions from journalists who were present, Benjamin went on to respond to questions that came via Zoom. One of the Zoom questions referred to a report about Benjamin owning stock in a firm that makes high-interest loans. “My record actually speaks for itself,” he answered, saying he will oppose financial policies that place burdens on New Yorkers.
One of those at the event was financier Mark Price. Price said, “It was a very nice ceremony, and as the governor mentioned, Brian has a long history of public service and I think she chose a really great partner for her administration and I’m looking forward to all of the good work that they’ll continue to do for the state of New York.”
Benjamin was pleased with the day and, of course, with the governor. “I want to thank Governor Kathy Hochul,” he said. “It has been a pleasure since the moment you asked me to stand by your side. You have shown so much leadership in the last few weeks.” Referring to Hochul, he praised the “collaboration you have brought to New York State, the compassion you have shown at people’s time of need.”