Kathy Hochul says her opponent and the GOP are being “dishonest” about crime
New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul indicted Republican challenger on Friday Rep. Lee Zeldin that he used concerns about crime to cynically attack her, but also acknowledged that the issue was rooted in genuine concerns among the voters who would decide her political fate next week.
“Here we deal with people’s feelings. I understand that too. I am a mother. You are forced to take care of your children and the safety of your family. So voters need to know that we have a plan. We’re working on this,” Hochul said in an interview on “CNN This Morning,” as he again called the GOP’s plans to crack down on crime while loosening gun laws “irrational.”
In recent weeks, Hochul has redoubled her more visible efforts to fight crime, particularly in New York, where she — like every New York Democrat — needs to win big to secure a statewide victory. Governor and New York City Mayor Eric Adams she recently announced an increase in police, from city and state transit authorities, on subways and voiced her support for law enforcement on the campaign trail. The Democrat’s new emphasis comes amid a series of uncomfortably close polls in the governor’s race. No Republican has won statewide office in New York since 2002.
While acknowledging that crime is a prevalent — and real — issue for voters, Hochul blasted Zeldin for fear mongering and dismissed his promise to crack down on him as disingenuous, citing Republican support for loosening gun laws.
Asked why Zeldin’s lines of attack seem to have been politically fruitful, Hochul was blunt.
“Because they’re dishonest about it. They’re not talking about real solutions,” Hochul said, before talking about Zeldin’s vote in Congress against bipartisan gun legislation.
Hochul also sought, like many local Democrats, to put a broader frame on the issue, pointing to the rise in crime across the country. There is a mixed bag of data in New York, with some offenses – including violent crime – falling while others.
“It’s not going to give anybody any comfort,” Hochul said. “He’s saying we still have a problem, I understand that, but let’s talk about real answers and not just give everybody all this platitude.”
During the interview, Hochul accused Republicans of being rhetorically “tough on crime but soft on guns.”
“It doesn’t add up,” she said, “and I want voters to know that.”
A Democrat, who afterwards went up to the governor’s mansion Andrew Cuomo has resigned in August 2021 amid the sexual harassment scandal, also called Zeldin’s promise to repeal the state’s controversial bail reform law by executive order a sign of his “naivety,” noting that there was no clear data linking the criminal justice reform legislation, which was designed to reduce the number of suspects held in pretrial detention, with increasing crime.
The law has been scaled back twice since it was passed and signed into law by Cuomo. But there have been further calls to go further, or to take it off the books altogether. That is unlikely, however, given that Democrats control the state legislature.
Adams, who opposed the bill — giving ammunition to his GOP opponents — asked for a special legislative session this year to address it, but was rebuffed by leaders in Albany.
Hochul said she supports multiple tweaks, in addition to some she’s already helped push through, but largely supports her goals.
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