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Politics and Government

Central NY elected officials react to new lieutenant governor pick

State Sen. Brian Benjamin.

Gov. Kathy Hochul is expected to pick Harlem state Sen. Brian Benjamin to be the next lieutenant governor. The two will make an announcement together Thursday in New York City. Central New York elected officials reacted positively to the news at the New York State Fair on Wednesday.

State Sen. Rachel May said she knows Benjamin well and is excited for people across the state to get to know him better.

“Senator Benjamin is an amazing colleague,” May said. “He is a really kind and thoughtful person and has been a mentor to me.”

May said if Benjamin does take on the new role, she expects he’ll visit upstate New York, as his predecessor did.

State Sen. John Mannion called Benjamin a strong leader, and suggested Hochul needed to name a downstate Democrat to the job.

“She wanted to make sure there was a balance,” Mannion said. “And when we’re on the other side of that, as upstaters, we like that also. I think it’s good to have people in the room from all areas of the state.”

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who was also at the fair, said she didn’t want to say too much before an official announcement on Thursday, but praised Benjamin.

“This is one of those best-kept secrets I guess,’ Stewart-Cousins said. “I don’t wish to get out in front of the governor. But I can say of Senator Benjamin, he’s an excellent senator.”