Governor Kathy Hochul is expected to chose State Senator Brian Benjamin to be her lieutenant governor, NBC 4 reported.
“Even though I’ve spent thousands of hours in New York City and I’m well familiar with the challenges, I want someone who lives there,” Hochul said in a media interview with CBS. “I want someone who understands the challenges firsthand.”
Benjamin, who previously ran for comptroller in this year’s elections, has represented Manhattan’s District 30 since 2017. The district covers Harlem, East Harlem (El Barrio), the Upper West Side, Washington Heights, Hamilton Heights and Morningside Heights.
In his first term, he served as ranking member of the Senate Committee on Civil Service and Pensions. He currently serves as the chair of the Budget and Revenue committee, and as Senior Assistant Majority Leader. Additionally, he is a member of the Codes, Finance, Health, and Rules committees, as well as the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee and the Joint Senate Task Force on Opioids, Addiction & Overdose Prevention.
Benjamin sponsored creating a ‘rainy day’ fund for the city to tap into during emergencies, and advocated for ending solitary confinement and parole reform.
As a representative of Manhattan, Benjamin would offer geographic balance for the Buffalo-based Hochul, who has already announced she will run for a full term in 2022. Attorney General Letitia James and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams are widely expected to throw their hats into the race.
The lieutenant governor role is largely ceremonial, though the lieutenant governor takes over the role of governor if the governor is impeached or resigns, as Hochul did for Cuomo.