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Antonio Delgado sworn in as New York's lieutenant governor

Governor Kathy Hochul

Antonio Delgado was officially sworn in as the state’s lieutenant governor Wednesday, just hours after resigning his seat from Congress and a few weeks after Gov. Kathy Hochul picked him for the post.

The move paves the way to hold a special election for his seat on Aug. 23, the same date as the congressional and State Senate primaries.

Hochul chose Delgado on May 3 to replace former Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin, who resigned after being indicted on federal corruption charges.

Delgado, who is of African-American and Cape Verdean descent, grew up in Schenectady. He left to attend Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, graduated from Harvard Law School, and lived in New York City for a time before running successfully for his seat in Congress in 2018.

Delgado’s wife and twin 8-year-old sons attended the ceremony, where the Monday school shooting in Texas that killed at least 19 children and two teachers was not far from anyone’s mind.

Delgado, who said he “can’t imagine” the pain the parents in Texas are going through, said he’s frustrated with the lack of gun control policy in the United States as mass shootings multiply.

“Time and time again, efforts to change gun policies at the national level have repeatedly failed,” Delgado said.

 The state's lieutenant  governor, Antonio Delgado, speaking an an abortion rights rally at the State Capitol on May 3, 2022
Karen DeWitt NYS Public Radio
The state's lieutenant governor, Antonio Delgado, speaking an an abortion rights rally at the State Capitol on May 3, 2022

He said universal background checks for all firearm sales, which are supported by 80% of the public, have stalled in Congress.

“The gun lobby and gun manufacturers specifically have a stranglehold on our democracy,” Delgado said. “There are politicians out there who are bought and paid for by the NRA.”

“We know stronger guns laws can work,” he continued. “Because they have.”

Saying “our freedoms are under assault,” Delgado pledged to work to preserve a woman’s right to choose abortion and said he will also spend his time focusing on connecting with residents across the state.

Delgado will be running in the June 28 primary for statewide offices.

The Democratic-led state Legislature approved a measure, at Hochul’s request, to allow anyone who is charged with a crime to remove their name from the ballot. That enabled Benjamin to withdraw from the contest.

In New York, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run together in the general election, but separately in the primary. Delgado faces Ana Maria Archila, who is running with gubernatorial candidate and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and Diana Reyna, who is running with Long Island Rep. Tom Suozzi, who is also seeking the governor’s post.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.