Hochul Visits Long Island’s North Shore; First Place in State to Tout Budget Proposals Ahead of February Special Election 

 Gov. Kathy Hochul visited Long Island on Thursday as the first place in the state to tout her budget proposals.
 Gov. Kathy Hochul visited Long Island on Thursday as the first place in the state to tout her budget proposals.  File photo: Lev Radin, ShutterStock.com, licensed.

GLEN COVE, NY – Earlier this week, Governor Kathy Hochul presented her executive budget and, in a strategic move acknowledging its importance, chose Long Island as the point of commencement for her statewide tour. Her first stop was Suffolk County’s North Shore, where she elaborated on her plan and highlighted how the proposals would positively impact the suburban islands, a critical operational base for House control.

Hochul’s decision is notable, particularly given her State of the State address recently pitched towards moderate suburbanites. In that address, she focused on topics that echo within suburban confines, including public safety, representing a cautious retreat from elements of her previous year’s housing plan that received a lukewarm reception in suburban settings.

Hochul’s focus on Long Island is a savvy political move. It’s an area where Democrats have found it challenging to make headway, with Republicans clinching major victories consistently over the past three years. Positioned merely a county away from the Governor’s Thursday event, both parties are gearing up for a special election in February, which will provide preliminary insight about the political orientation of suburban voters before key battleground elections later in the year.

“I knew I wanted to come to Long Island first for my first rollout of the plan,” Hochul reflected, sharing her admiration for the region. The Governor stressed the unique importance of Long Island, stating, “Why are we focusing on Long Island so much? Well, because there’s nothing like Long Island. It is a microcosm of the entire state, what we do here, the investments we make here, we can also talk about transporting to other parts of the state.”

While advocating for her budget proposals, Governor Hochul underscored enhancements to Long Island made under her tenure. She referenced the $4 billion in novel school funding directed towards Long Island since she assumed office, her initiative addressing potholes that resulted in an upgrade of hundreds of miles of road networks on the Long Island Expressway, and a decrease in unemployment rates.

The Governor touted their collective effort in maintaining a positive momentum, “We’ve really accomplished a lot together, and sometimes you don’t know it until you really take a look at the numbers, and we truly are trending in the right direction,” said Hochul.

Nevertheless, memories of her defeat to Republican Lee Zeldin in the 2022 gubernatorial election within the two Long Island counties still persist. Also, her 2023 housing plan occupies a part in her somewhat low approval and favorability scores within this region.

With her recent tour, Hochul seems set on regaining the trust of Long Islanders and suburban New Yorkers ahead of the monumental House races in November. She assures them of her personal bond and comprehension of suburban life, being a figure who has represented and dwelled in suburban areas. “I’m the first governor ever from the suburbs, I’ve represented suburbs,” Hochul reemphasized, “So I understand what suburbs are all about.”

Governor Hochul’s budget proposal, support for public safety, and acknowledgment of the importance of suburban regions for House control signal her intent. It remains to be seen how these plans will unfurl and, most importantly, how they will be received by the constituents in Long Island and across the state.

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