Gov. Kathy Hochul announced today that state Senator Brian Benjamin, a Democrat from Harlem, will be the lieutenant governor of New York, the second-highest position in the state.
Hochul, a Democrat, was sworn in as the first female governor on Tuesday, following former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation after his involvement in a sexual harassment scandal.
According to the governor’s official website, Hochul and Benjamin have worked together in the past on issues such as fighting the opioid epidemic, improving addiction recovery programs, helping minority and women-owned business enterprises, and giving easier voting access to New Yorkers.
“I believe that governing is about working together. Teamwork is the essence of effective leadership, and it is more important than ever as we confront the urgent problems facing the state,” Hochul said.
“My administration is going to attract the best and the brightest—people who share my values of working hard for the people of this state and who will get the job done—and that includes the newest member Senator Brian Benjamin who has agreed to serve as my Lieutenant Governor. There is so much work to do, and I am grateful to have him by my side as we implement our vision for a safer, healthier and fairer New York,” she added.
Benjamin, 44, was born in Harlem Hospital and is a son of Caribbean immigrants. He is a graduate of Brown University and Harvard University and previously served as New York State Senator for District 30, which incorporates Harlem, East Harlem, and the Upper West Side.
He is involved heavily with Harlem’s community and has, in the past, worked to develop over 1,000 units of affordable housing in his district, which are said to be environmentally sustainable.
“I want to thank Governor Hochul for trusting me with the incredible honor of serving alongside her as Lieutenant Governor,” Benjamin said after it was officially announced that he would become lieutenant governor.
“Governor Hochul is a collaborator who makes sure everyone has a seat at the table, and, like me, is laser focused on listening to the needs of New Yorkers and empowering local leaders. We have a strong history of collaboration that will help us to hit the ground running immediately as we help guide New York through this challenging moment in history.”
Benjamin is also a member of Harlem’s First Corinthian Baptist Church. His influence in the city could help bolster support for the new governor, as more than a third of the state’s 13.4 million registered voters live in New York City.
Benjamin ran for New York City comptroller this year but didn’t succeed. He is currently serving as senior assistant majority leader in the Senate and is also chair of the budget and revenue committee.