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Hochul visits Syracuse childcare center to advocate for funding

Ellen Abbott
State Sen. Rachel May (D-Syracuse), left, and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul visited Gingerbread House Preschool and Childcare Center in Syracuse Tuesday

Lieutenant Gov. Kathy Hochul, and State Sen. Rachel May visited a Syracuse child care center Tuesday to thank workers for staying on the job during the pandemic, allowing other essential workers to go to work.

Hochul and May toured the Gingerbread House Preschool and Childcare Center in Lyncourt, holding babies, and had a message for workers.

"We want to say thank you,” Hochul said.

Hochul said it was child care centers that kept essential workers on the job during the darkest days of the pandemic. And while many day care centers have reopened across the state, Hochul said the system is not back to full capacity.

“I was in Chenango County, only 50 percent of the population is vaccinated, that means 50 percent is not. So there is still a risk to individuals in that community,” Hochul said. “And some of the child care centers are not back to full capacity. There’s no reason they can’t be, but that’s still affecting parents.”

Hochul said the pandemic exposed the importance of child care centers to the economic recovery. And she’s optimistic there is now a greater political will to invest in child care, evidenced by the child care tax credit and other federal programs.

“For too long people put this in the category of women’s issues. ‘Oh they wanted to have kids, they have to deal with it.’ But women now playing major roles in the economy and taking leadership roles and stepping up and running companies and playing essential roles in all levels,” she said. “If they can’t get to work, it doesn’t happen."

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.