Kathy Hochul

Accepting the Lieutenant Governor Nomination - May 22, 2014

Kathy Hochul
May 22, 2014
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Thank you very much, thank you. So it is true, democrats like to shout. Thank you guys. Thank you so much, I am so thrilled to be here. First of all, thank you to all the democrats in the room, the support is incredible. I want to thank Leader Pelosi for that announcement. It reminded me when I was listening to her words of something she’s said to me my first day as a member of Congress, representing upstate New York. She said Cathy, never forget your title is U.S. Representative. You represent your district. And I was so proud to represent the counties of Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Livingston, Ontario, Wyoming and Orleans County. Anyone from those counties here?

That was truly the highest honor of my life to represent this area in Washington. But now we have a new challenge. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the faith that Governor Cuomo has put in me to work with him as part of a team, to carry the message of hope, and optimism, across this great state. So thank you Governor Cuomo for inviting me to be your partner.

Thank you Madam Speaker for your kind words, I am so looking forward to working with you in New York City, and addressing the issues that are common to all New Yorkers, making sure our families and workers have a living wage, and that we take care of our children, we take care of healthcare, there is so much we’re going to do together, and thank you very much for your friendship.

What running mates I have. I have had the opportunity to spend so much time with our controller, Tom Venable, and our Attorney General, Eric Schneider, you may not know that, but they are household names in upstate New York. They are in every parade, the Dingus Day parades, the Memorial Day parade, they’re all over so I’m looking forward to campaigning with all of them. It’s great to be on Long Island. I want to tell you it was an honor to get to know your members of Congress, Tim Bishop, Steve Israel, and my big sister in Congress, who looked out for me from the very first day when I sat next to her on the floor, Caroline McCarthy, and we wish her all the love in the world.

I am going to thank right now my husband Bill Hochul, who’s not here today because his work does not allow him to be at events like this. But he assures me he will be there election night, my love of my life for 30 years, my husband, Bill Hochul. Down in the front row are my rocks, my dad Jack Courtney, stand up Dad, my son Will, formerly Billy, and my daughter Katy. I love you guys.

And Bob Duffy, when you first showed up in West New York, we were so excited to have someone who knew our community, who was passionate about the Buffalo Bills, who knew how to look out for all of us, and you have made such a big difference upstate. Your oversight over the economic development councils, I want to do what you did Bob, and start bringing hope back to those communities who felt neglected and abandoned for so many decades. So, you immersed yourself in our communities, you were there you were a fighter, you helped me fight for the Niagara Falls air base job. I remember the two of us chatting on the phone nonstop. So, Bob, on behalf of a grateful state, thank you for your service.

Governor Cuomo, you’ve given me this opportunity, which I seized with all the energy and purpose that the people of this state deserve. So therefore there is one order of business that I must attend to, that I today humbly accept with great pride and humility, the nomination for Lieutenant Governor of the State of New York.

Thank you very much, thank you. You’ve heard my story from many people so I’ll be brief. Three years ago this month actually, after my unexpected win to congress, a news publication did a story called “Legacy to Service,” and they chronicled where I came from. It wasn’t so much about me, but the family roots that gave me the values that I put forth in public service. It talked about my parents beginning married life very humbly, in a trailer in the shadow of the Bethlehem Steel Plant. We didn’t have a lot of money, but we didn’t know it. My sister was quoted in the article saying we bought our clothes at a used clothing store and we worked hard. But we had family, we had a lot of love. And the values I learned from my mom and dad were about service. My mother was an advocate for the disabled, for victims of domestic violence, and in fact, for her 70th birthday, instead of taking a trip and celebrating, my mother with my father at her side, started a home for victims of domestic violence so they’d have a place to go a shelter in the night, when things got so horrible at home.

So it was all about saving those kids. My mother’s favorite saying that she imparted to her six children and 18 grandchildren was, go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good. And that is what I try to do in my mom’s memory. Sadly, it was two months ago today that I lost my mom to a disease that stripped her of her dignity, and her pride. A beautiful woman, she had ALS. But that message that she left with us, while it may be enshrined on her headstone far away, it’s enshrined in our hearts. That message is resurrected today in me. Who’s been given this opportunity to live a legacy I learned from my mom and dad, on behalf of all New Yorkers, not just upstate, not just downstate, but one New York. And I’m so proud to do that of all of you, and for my mother’s name. Thank you very much.

You know I’m so excited to work with our Governor. Were both fighters. People know in upstate New York I was a fighter. As a member of the town council to protect our quality of life. As Erie County Clerk I fought to protect our tax payers, to find ways to streamline government, and make it more responsive to the people. As a member of congress I fought for the farmers who had seen tough times, the small business owners who didn’t think anybody was giving them a shake. The moms and dads who worried about their kids’ education, and whether they’re going to have a better life when they’re going to wake up the next day. Those are the people I fought for, those are the people Governor Cuomo cares about, and together we’re going to be a team and elevate this state to new heights that has never, ever been seen before.

Where I come from I saw my community struggle. There are always jokes about Buffalo, West New York. Times were tough. A lot of the steel mills that gave people the dignity of a job for decades, up and left. The steel mills turned to rust. But I saw friends and neighbors who never gave up. They never gave up. They kept that resilient spirit. They just wanted someone to care about them and look out for them. The reach of a helping hand. But we never lost hope. What Western New York found in Governor Cuomo when he embarked on this journey, from the stage like this four years ago, we had a partner. Someone who was willing to listen. Someone who cared. Someone who fulfilled promises that were always made but never fulfilled. Now we have a state government that knows how to work with business, work as a teammate, to help create jobs in Western New York.

So what we forge is a partnership, a partnership that we need to see in every community in upstate New York, and downstate. There’s so many projects that I’ve seen come to life. My husband and I like to ride our bikes around. We are riding in the City of Buffalo, and we were going past projects, areas that have been wasteland, industrial wasteland, brownfields, that are now filled with life. Families coming down to picnic on the waterfront, kayakers going by. Concerts, vendors, it’s a new energy that you cannot imagine. There’s a hope and optimism that we only dreamed about in Western New York.

The difference has been the commitment that Governor Cuomo has made to every one of us, when he made his acceptance four years ago. He’s renewed it every year with the state of state, and he is there so often people say, just get an apartment. He is always there, he shows up, the leader of our economic development council, Howard Zemsky, sees him more often than he probably sees his wife. It is fantastic to see that level of commitment.

But it’s not just talking, there are cranes in the air. And we’re not talking the flying kind, we’re talking real cranes, we’re talking about jobs, we’re talking about people getting a living wage. Workers are getting a living wage, building those projects which is rebuilding our hope in that community. The number of events that went on at that waterfront went from nothing to almost 800. 800 events that bring people downtown, but it’s not just the waterfront, it is canal side, it is the Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus, there have been so many investments made there that you can’t keep track of them. So Buffalo, West New York, Upstate New York, it’s on the move again. Just like all of New York State, we are on the move again.

We’re working, were rebuilding, we’re thriving. New York is on the move, there is optimism, there’s excitement. So you think everybody would be very excited about this? We’re all on the same page. Well, guess what? There are people, that just finished a convention not long ago, who somehow aren’t happy with progress. They don’t like the fact that the state is turning around. No, it doesn’t fit into their narrative of negativity. Someone, who I don’t think I’ll name right now, but I think you know who I mean, he basically said that there’s no more hope. Things are negative. He in my mind, as a Buffalonian, has declared war on Buffalo. And I’m telling you right now, you want to mess with Buffalo and Upstate New York, you’ve got to get through me, and you’ve got to get to the governor.

He said New York’s economy is weak, but guess what? The very next day the unemployment figures came out showing the biggest decline, the best numbers since 2008. Maybe he doesn’t read the papers, what do I know. That’s all under Governor Cuomo's leadership. Also, we experienced the second highest growth in private sector job growth, anywhere in the country. You hear that, number 2. I didn’t say number 25, I said we are number 2. But I don’t think the other side sees that, they’re not listening.

Now, you’ve all heard about the startup New York Program, right? This is awesome. It helps downstate and upstate, we’re getting jobs from all over the country coming here to New York State, and it’s great. Republican Candidate comes to my town, I’m not making this up, check the facts, and he comes out against his program, okay, you better tell that to the republican business owners, and the republicans all over my state who happen to like jobs coming to New York. They don’t have a problem with that.

The very next day after he criticized the startup program, count them, 7 new businesses announced that they we’re coming. That’s just the beginning folks. This program is taking off, and you can be as negative, you can be a naysayer, you can take us back to the negativities, but guess what, if you want to go there, you’re going there alone, because we’re not coming with you. We’re not taking this state down. We’re moving forward everybody.

Some of you may have heard of the Buffalo Billion, right? You’re going to get yours too, but Buffalo was the neediest part of the state. Buffalo had been neglected, you’ve heard that story. But guess what, guess who also had the nerve to criticize the Buffalo Billion? The Buffalo Billion is up there in the hearts of mine, and West New Yorkers, like the Sabers, the Bills, chicken wings, you don’t mess with this stuff, okay? Next is he going to call for the elimination of the chicken wing? I mean come on. Where are you going to come after us here? You can’t touch that. There are certain things that are now sacred to our community. We have seen, we are living the benefits of the Buffalo Billion program. And the republican candidate can talk about taking it down, and everyone in this state should know that if you get someone like that, he’s going to take you in the way back machine. Way back before the progress before everything in New York State. He wants to go backward because he doesn’t want you to believe in this state.

Wow, wow. I believe in this state. Governor Cuomo believes in this state. Every one of you believes in this state, and we are not going there. I am sick and tired of politician’s saying we are losing safe because we’re winning. I want to talk to you also about a transformation in government that I’ve seen. Years ago, we used to talk about dysfunctionality, they were talking about Albany, right? That’s ancient history now. The last 4 years there’s been an incredible partnership, and we’ve been the beneficiaries of this. Guess what? I just came out of congress, I know what dysfunctionality is. That’s gridlock on steroids if you want to ask me.

But I’ll tell you, I saw some good things when I was there. And I want you to know, everyone in this room, if you’re from an area affected by Sandy, Hurricane Sandy, You would be so proud to know how your members of congress downstate, reached out to upstate members of congress, and with the leadership of the governor and Bob Duffy coming and making sure we fought to get the money for that relief. Because Republican weren’t going to free it up. Those were the final hours of my days in congress, and they were saying no money for Sandy Relief. I’m so proud that changed. So every once in a while you get a little glimmer of things working, but unfortunately that was the exception. So I’ve seen how bad things can be. I’ve seen how good things are in Albany, and again, we’re not going backwards, we are just not going to do it.

So once again, you’ve seen the progress under Governor Cuomo, we are all New Yorkers, and you’ve got to tell that we’ve got our swagger back now. It’s good, it’s all good. I’ve got to tell you, the way I’m looking right now, I’m ready to go. I’m ready to get out there. I know Governor Cuomo’s ready to get out there. My only question to you, is are you ready to get out there. Are you going out there with us? Well let’s bring it home everybody, let’s bring it home. Let’s bring it home. Thank you very much.

Speech from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7VkQ4XXWF8.