SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — In between their bites of barbeque, people eating at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Sunday afternoon might have noticed the woman sitting in the corner. It was Governor Kathy Hochul.
Governor Hochul, along with her husband Bill, joined State Senators Rachel May and John Mannion and State Assemblyman Al Stirpe for a conversation about state politics.
It was just part of Hochul’s day of campaigning in Central New York on Sunday. She attended fundraisers, hosted a union rally and stopped at Heid’s in Liverpool.
In between stops, Governor Hochul sat down for a brief one-on-one interview with NewsChannel 9.
Seated at a picnic table, Hochul said:
She continued: “I’m not losing my connection with people, particularly in a place like Upstate, Central New York, Western New York, where you feel you’re forgotten by Albany. I’m coming out here in person and saying no, you have someone who understands you. I’ve walked your streets. I’ve helped your businesses. I’ve gone to school here and I’m not forgetting you. And that’s the message I bring just by showing up.”
Hochul inherited the remainder of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s term, she’s already running for the job again. She’s facing two candidates in June’s Democratic primary and if she wins, more candidates of other parties in November’s general election.
Despite only getting the job last summer when Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned, Hohcul is already running for it again.
“I love this part of it,” said Governor Hochul. “It’s actually being out there listening to people and their concerns, what keeps them up at night. I don’t see a separation between getting out there because there’s an election but also it’s part of doing my job.”
When asked, Hochul said she’s not focused on the ghost of former Governor Cuomo as he tries to publicly rebuild his reputation and toys with his own run to get his job back. She said: “I’m focused on the role I play.”
She defended the state’s role in fighting the pandemic, now into his third year, under her leadership.
“We very much have our Department of Health emergency orders in place,” she said. “We still have mask requirements in nursing homes, a vulnerable population. We still have mask requirements in public transit, on our buses for example. We still have them in corrections centers, where people are in congested areas. But also, we are still making sure people have test kits.”
Unmasked for much of her visit, Hochul was well aware she was in a coronavirus hot-spot, as defined by the CDC.
She said: “We’re monitoring the numbers. We’re watching them closely and prepared to take whatever action is necessary to protect the health of the people, but also want to protect the health of the economy and not shut things down arbitrarily.”
Hochul is being challenged by Congressman Thomas Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumanne Williams in the Democratic primary.