Questions for Kathy Hochul and Lee Zeldin

New York’s race for governor started as a prospective blowout. It should come to an in depth on Tuesday in a dead heat in contrast to something this safely Democratic state has seen in twenty years.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, the Democratic incumbent from Buffalo, stays the front-runner, given her social gathering’s big benefit in registered voters. However Consultant Lee Zeldin, a staunch conservative from Lengthy Island allied with Donald J. Trump, has been making significant inroads amongst unbiased and suburban voters, placing him inside only a few factors of Ms. Hochul in current polls.

At a time when New York is grappling with a turbulent financial system, elevated crime and a rising local weather disaster, the variations between the 2 candidates are unusually stark.

Mr. Zeldin has voted constantly to restrict abortion rights; Ms. Hochul has made herself their defender. He desires to broaden the extraction of climate-warming pure fuel; she opposes it and is pushing a congestion pricing plan to assist scale back emissions in New York Metropolis. He’s pushing to reverse legal justice reforms that he says are spurring extra crime; she principally stands by the spirit of these legal guidelines. And although they’ve each vowed to make New York extra reasonably priced, their proposals have little overlap.

Whoever wins on Tuesday will face huge challenges over the following 4 years. Listed here are the candidates’ views on six necessary points.


Like different states, New York has skilled an uptick in crime because the begin of the coronavirus pandemic. However a string of high-profile incidents, together with mass shootings on the subway and in a grocery retailer in Buffalo, has intensified fears amongst New Yorkers that public security is deteriorating quickly.

Mr. Zeldin, who grew up in two law-enforcement households, has made crime the centerpiece of his marketing campaign and blames makes an attempt by progressive Democrats to overtake the legal justice system. “Vote like your life depends upon it,” he says in his closing marketing campaign message. “As a result of it does.”

His platform notably calls for firing Alvin L. Bragg, who was elected the primary Black Manhattan district lawyer final 12 months.

Mr. Zeldin has additionally stated he’ll declare a state of emergency on his first day as governor to droop authorized modifications handed by way of the Democratic-led Legislature in recent times, together with a 2019 legislation that barred prosecutors from looking for money bail for sure crimes. The motion would face a stiff authorized problem, however Mr. Zeldin has framed it as a method to drive the Legislature to the negotiating desk.

As governor and as a candidate, Ms. Hochul has argued that the strategy championed by Mr. Zeldin and different Republicans is simplistic and locations an excessive amount of emphasis on bail legal guidelines.

She has labored with Mayor Eric Adams to broaden providers that assist unhoused folks with psychological well being points, introduced a plan to install cameras in every subway car and extra lately sent a flood of police officers into the subways, the place crime will increase have been pronounced.

Beneath stress from Mr. Adams and over the objections of liberal Democrats, the governor did push by way of changes to the bail law as part of the state’s annual funds, making it simpler for judges to set bail in some instances. However Republicans like Mr. Zeldin argue they left an excessive amount of of the legislation in place.

Ms. Hochul, who was endorsed by the Nationwide Rifle Affiliation a decade in the past, has additionally careworn the necessity to confiscate unlawful weapons, signed laws strengthening the state’s so-called red flag laws and tried to restrict the place New Yorkers can carry a hid firearm. Mr. Zeldin, a gun-rights advocate, opposes limiting entry to weapons.


Polls within the governor’s race present that inflation is a high concern for New Yorkers, and each candidates have highlighted their plans to enhance the state’s lagging financial restoration.

Mr. Zeldin has argued that the state funds is way too large at $220 billion and that the excessive price of residing is a major reason people are leaving the state.

He desires to introduce a state spending cap and to approve the “largest tax cut” in state history. He has not supplied full particulars about how exactly he would cut programs and taxes, however has stated he wish to eradicate the state’s inheritance tax and, if he might, earnings taxes. On the identical time, Mr. Zeldin has referred to as for increasing fracking to spice up financial exercise within the rural Southern Tier.

“New York goes to be again open for enterprise, child — Jan. 1,” Mr. Zeldin said at a recent debate.

Ms. Hochul has argued that she supplied regular management because the state recovered from the pandemic, and he or she lately celebrated a deal with Micron, an American pc chip maker, to spend as a lot as $100 billion to construct a manufacturing unit complicated in upstate New York. The state incentive package deal is $5.5 billion, one of many largest ever by any state.

“I stated I’d jump-start the financial system and make sure that New York State was probably the most business-friendly and probably the most worker-friendly state within the nation,” Ms. Hochul stated on the Micron announcement.

In response to excessive fuel costs, Ms. Hochul labored with state lawmakers to temporarily suspend some state taxes on gas — about 16 cents per gallon — by way of the tip of the 12 months, and he or she has despatched election-year tax rebates to owners. However the governor largely helps the state’s present tax charges.

She has additionally criticized Mr. Zeldin for voting towards the federal infrastructure invoice and the Inflation Reduction Act, which is able to decrease prescription drug costs for folks on Medicare and ship massive federal investments to the state for local weather associated initiatives. He referred to as the invoice bloated and misguided.


New York has prided itself for generations on being a protected harbor for abortion rights. However the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to finish federal protections for the process that have been assured by Roe v. Wade has as soon as once more thrust the issue to the forefront of public debate.

Ms. Hochul’s document on the problem is evident. As Republicans rushed this summer season to place in place strict abortion bans from Missouri to Texas, she moved to allocate $35 million in state funding to expand abortion access in New York and take the first steps to permanently enshrine reproductive rights within the state structure.

“That is repulsive at each degree,” Ms. Hochul said in the immediate aftermath of the court docket’s determination, insisting that New York would stay a “protected harbor” so long as she stays in workplace. At her course, the state even took out ads reminding New Yorkers of their reproductive well being choices whereas inviting different People to hunt refuge in New York.

Mr. Zeldin’s said place has turn into murkier, significantly as he has campaigned this fall in a state the place near two-thirds of adults consider abortion must be authorized in virtually all instances.

As a member of Congress, he repeatedly voted for federal laws limiting abortion rights and defunding Deliberate Parenthood. He cheered on the Supreme Court docket’s determination as “a victory for all times, for household, for the Structure and for federalism.”

And as a candidate within the Republican main, he went so far as to inform New York Proper to Life, an anti-abortion group, that he supported overturning the 2019 state law guaranteeing abortion entry.

However within the race’s closing weeks, he has insisted in tv advertisements and statements that he wouldn’t truly attempt to reverse the legislation as governor. He additionally argues that the Democratic State Meeting would by no means approve such modifications even when he pushed for them.

“I’d not and couldn’t change New York’s abortion legal guidelines,” he wrote in a marketing campaign textual content message focusing on New Yorkers.

Nonetheless, there are steps he might take to make it tougher to get an abortion in New York, and he has already indicated that he would possibly look to chop the funds Ms. Hochul allotted this 12 months.

“I’ve heard from New Yorkers who say that they don’t need their tax {dollars}, for instance, funding abortions for individuals who dwell, you understand, 1,500 miles away from right here,” he stated in late October throughout his solely debate with the governor, on NY1.


The governor controls the New York City subway, not the mayor — a undeniable fact that has vexed many mayors, who really feel powerless to repair a vital piece of the town’s infrastructure.

The following governor might have nice sway over the way forward for the transit system. One main concern is congestion pricing, a plan to toll drivers entering the core of Manhattan.

Ms. Hochul helps the plan and says it’s obligatory to lift cash for the subway and to ease congestion; Mr. Zeldin opposes the plan and argues that New Yorkers can’t afford tolls as excessive as $23.

As New York marks the 10th anniversary of the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, the state is at a local weather crossroads. Democrats in Albany adopted one of many nation’s most bold plans to cut back greenhouse fuel emissions within the nation. However the subsequent governor will play a major function in how the legislation truly will get carried out within the coming years.

In only a 12 months as governor, Ms. Hochul has advanced many of the environmental priorities put in motion by fellow Democrats. She moved to require all new passenger vehicles and vehicles bought in New York be zero-emission by 2035. She elevated the scale of a $4.2 billion environmental bond act going earlier than voters this fall, and he or she has promoted massive investments in wind and solar energy and blocked upgrades to gas-fueled power plants.

On the identical time, although, the governor has held out help for some extra bold actions championed by environmental activists, like a invoice that might push the New York Energy Authority to part out fossil fuels.

Mr. Zeldin has stated he helps a cleaner surroundings, however he opposes most of the steps the state has taken to get there.

Mr. Zeldin’s personal vitality insurance policies are largely centered on driving down prices, whatever the environmental impression. He opposes the state’s ban on fracking and has made the extraction of pure fuel in New York’s Southern Tier one of many high financial pledges of his marketing campaign. Communities there are “determined for having the ability to reverse the state’s ban,” Mr. Zeldin stated within the debate, including that he would additionally approve new pipeline purposes.

He has additionally been a constant critic of the congestion pricing plan, which is designed to cut back vehicle site visitors and assist fund greener public transportation, however will likely be expensive for commuters. He opposes Ms. Hochul’s transfer to ban gas-powered vehicles and helps suspending the state’s fuel tax.

The League of Conservation Voters has constantly given him among the lowest environmental records within the state; earlier this 12 months he voted towards Congress’s landmark legislation designed to slash carbon emissions.


Three years in the past, New York Metropolis reached its most share of constitution colleges beneath a regulation that limits that sector’s progress statewide. Ms. Hochul and Mr. Zeldin have each expressed support for raising the cap on the variety of charters allowed within the metropolis, setting the stage for a contentious debate in subsequent 12 months’s legislative session. The town’s academics’ union and plenty of Democratic lawmakers are against increasing charters, that are publicly funded however privately run.

Mayoral management of metropolis colleges will even come up for the following governor, when Mr. Adams’s authority expires in 2024. Each candidates have stated they help extending mayoral management.

The candidates are divided on different flashpoint points in training, nevertheless. Mr. Zeldin has voiced support for arming teachers and college security brokers to stop faculty shootings, for instance, an idea that Ms. Hochul opposes and has argued would make youngsters much less protected.

Mr. Zeldin has argued against what he calls the instructing of “divisive and damaging ideas” in colleges, like vital race concept, a time period that describes a framework used on the college degree to review racism. However restrictions on how colleges deal with race and different cultural points are unlikely to win help amongst Democrats within the State Legislature, and Mr. Zeldin has turn into much less vocal on the problem in current months.

Lastly, the following governor could face questions in regards to the oversight of Hasidic Jewish non-public colleges. Ms. Hochul has resisted taking a firm position since a New York Occasions investigation discovered that scores of yeshivas are systematically denying children a basic secular education, whereas Mr. Zeldin has vowed to protect the schools from governmental interference as he seeks to win over Orthodox Jewish teams.


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