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Mixed reaction to Governor Hochul’s State of the State address

New York Governor Kathy Hochul (file)
Pat Bradley
New York Governor Kathy Hochul (file)

Governor Kathy Hochul’s State of the State address focused on three parts of her “Our New York, Our Future” agenda this afternoon. Reaction to her proposals from officials upstate is mixed.

The Democrat focused on crime, affordability and housing. Hochul told legislators that the state has a unique opportunity to be a leader in AI technology development.

North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas welcomes several elements of the governor’s 2024 agenda, particularly her recognition of the state’s population loss.

“That’s been a message of upstate chambers for some time," Douglas said. "It was important to have the governor acknowledge that. We now are talking about maybe by the time of the next national census New York losing maybe three or four additional Congressional seats. I mean it has real practical impacts. It is an overarching issue. One of the things that we’re certainly all pleased about here in the business community is that the state is facing a significant deficit but she is not pursuing the notion of closing that deficit in any way by increasing taxes. Increasing taxes would not be the way to keep capital and people in the state of New York.”

Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay is a Republican from the 120th district.

“I don’t know how she’s going to solve for instance the out-migration," said Barclay. "We’ve lost 100,000 people in the last year. Now housing. She mentioned housing. Great. We do need to build more housing in New York. But I think she wants more government intrusion into that housing market and just you know subsidizing housing where we would be more less regulations, private developers to do that.”

Senator Dan Stec, a Republican from the 45th district, found positives and negatives in the governor’s speech. He’s glad that criminal justice issues will be revisited. But with the housing crisis he says Hochul is treating the symptoms and not the cause.

“The speech was pretty tame. Not a lot of big ideas. Not a lot of controversial ideas," Stec felt. "There were pieces of it that I completely agree with like addressing mental health issues in schools, starting with more of a focus on pediatric mental health. That’s something that myself and I know my Republican colleagues have long felt was needed. So I think that there’ll be bipartisan support for that initiative. But on the crime front, on the illegal immigration front and on the just sheer high cost and expense of living and operating in New York I think that those were areas that from my opinion her speech fell short on and was an opportunity lost for her.”

Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh, a Republican representing the 112th District, issued a video expressing disappointment with the proposals, characterizing them as too timid.

“It’s not the kind of bold leadership that New York needs right now," stated Walsh. "You know, we’re leading the nation in out-migration for the last three years. We’ve got some significant, serious problems that need to be addressed thoughtfully and boldly and the governor is proposing that we build more swimming pools and have more swim lessons for kids. I mean that’s, that might be a bill I’d support but that should not be the cornerstone of a recipe for trying to save our state.”

Republican Clinton County Legislature Chair Mark Henry released a statement praising Hochul’s commitment to once again fund the FAST-NY program and support for agriculture. “However, some highlighted initiatives pose challenges as they manifest as unfunded mandates to local governments.”

The governor’s 204 initiatives are fully outlined online.