NEW YORK, New York – Brian Benjamin, has accepted the nomination of the New York State Democratic Party to contest the position of Lieutenant Governor in New York.
The party voted unanimously to nominate Benjamin, 44, the son of a Guyanese mother and Jamaican father, as its choice for Lieutenant Governor in this year’s election.
“I am honored to be endorsed by the New York State Democratic Party as their choice for Lieutenant Governor,” said Benjamin, who had been sworn-in in September as second-in-command to newly-installed New York Governor Kathy Hochul.
“I am looking forward to continuing to work with Governor Kathy Hochul and the rest of our unified ticket to get New York back on track,” Benjamin told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).
“New York State, I will do everything I can to make sure that those who are living at the margins, those who are struggling, those who are overlooked will have a seat at the table. And we will make sure that there’s fairness, accountability and good practical decision-making that governs our activities.
“And thank you so much, Governor Hochul, for this opportunity to serve. I will not let you down. New York State, I will not let you down, either.”
During Thursday’s convention, Haitian American Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, chair of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, urged New York State Democrats to unite behind Hochul.
“The party should be unified,” said the daughter of Haitian immigrants, who represents the predominantly Caribbean 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn.
Bichotte Hermelyn suggested that Hochul’s Democratic contenders in June’s Democratic Primary – New York City Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, and Long Island, New York Congressman Tom Suozzi – give up their bid to replace Hochul.
“The vast majority of the people are behind Kathy Hochul. So why create fights?”
Williams, who received 12.46 percent of the vote at the convention, to Hochul’s 85.5 percent, was equivocal about remaining in the race.
He said Thursday’s party vote was not representative of the larger community.
“It’s no surprise that today’s New York Democratic Convention functioned as a coronation for Kathy Hochul,” Williams told CMC, adding but it’s an unfortunate reminder that while the governor (former Governor Andrew Cuomo) may have changed last year, the power structures, within the party and the state that enabled him, are very much intact.
“We cannot take the risk of trying to return to the old ways in this moment. We need to build a new normal, and a new kind of Democrat to guide us there. Our goal at this event should be to uplift Democratic candidates, Democratic voters and democratic values. Instead, the leadership of the party has worked incessantly to shield the current power structures, status quo and power brokers from any dissenting voices.
“In spite of that, I’m proud that our campaign received double the amount of support at this year’s convention than we did four years ago, when we ultimately came within seven percent of victory, “ Williams said.
But an enthusiastic Hochul told the convention: “I see Democrats of every race, creed, ethnicity, gender, who are with me in that arena – ready to fight for the very soul of our party and our state”.