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CNY assemblymember wants less talk, more action from Hochul in state of the state address

A circular chamber with floor and balcony chair sitting remains empty.
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New York State Assembly Chamber remains empty while not in session.

Syracuse-area Assembylmember John Lemondes said he is looking for action from Gov. Kathy Hochul rather than promises she's expected to lay out in her upcoming State of the State address Tuesday.

As part of a series examining the 2023 priorities of local and state elected officials, Lemondes told WAER he was focused on Hochul's moves to reduce crime.

"I don't want to hear anything; I want to see results," Lemondes said. "I want to see meaningful public safety reform. I want to see judges have their discretionary powers returned to them. I want to see bail, and I want to see people held accountable for the crimes they commit."

Lemondes blames bail reform pushed through by Democrats three years ago for incentivizing crime.

"Hopefully, the majority party will understand where they've gone wrong, and how many people have been hurt, killed, raped, stolen from, property destroyed, businesses destroyed, and that they'll see 'Oh my God, what did we do here with this 'reform' we enacted?'" Lemondes said.

Bail reform eliminated bail for most misdemeanors and non-violent felonies. Still, political fallout and a spike in crime resulted in the rollback of some of the changes. But studies from the Brennan Center for Justice and the John Jay College for Criminal Justice question the link between bail reform and increases in crime.

A Brennan Center report from March 2022 went so far as to say no direct evidence has emerged connecting bail reform to rising crime. The report noted that crime jumped across the country in 2020 and 2021, making it "unwise to look for explanations that are confined to New York."

Regardless, Lemondes insists public safety is one of the main reasons New York has one of the highest outmigration rates in the country.

“These aren’t good demographics," Lemondes said. "Until the majority party recognizes that their liberal policies are driving New York into the ground, this won’t be turned around.”

Lemondes said businesses are also fleeing New York, taking tens of thousands of jobs with them. While Lemondes blames Democrats for everything from high crime to the lagging economy, he said he’s ready to work together to return New York to prosperity.

WAER will provide live coverage of Hochul's State of the State speech Tuesday starting at 1 p.m.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at