Nov. 7, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
Governor Kathy Hochul held a campaign rally in Sunnyside Saturday and was accompanied by a large contingent of Queens elected officials.
Hochul, who faces off against Republican Lee Zeldin in tomorrow’s gubernatorial election, spoke to a crowd at the Sunnyside Greenmarket on Skillman Avenue and urged residents to get out and vote for her.
The governor was accompanied by a who’s who of Queens elected officials. Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, State Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas and Councilmembers Julie Won, Shekar Krishnan and Tiffany Cabán were all present, as were Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney and Nydia Velázquez.
State legislature candidates Kristen Gonzalez, Juan Ardila and Steven Raga were also in attendance.
Hochul said there is a clear contrast between her and Zeldin.
“It is so extreme,” Hochul said. “Everything is on the line… this is for everything we fought for, for so many years. LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, the right to have an abortion which has been in place even before Roe v Wade in this state.”
Zeldin, however, has said that he won’t attempt to change the abortion laws—despite having a pro-life stance.
Hochul also took aim at Zeldin’s tough-on-crime campaign message and for not supporting the assault weapons ban legislation while serving in Congress.
Zeldin has promised a zero-tolerance approach to crime that includes repealing cashless bail, removing district attorneys who don’t enforce the law, and hiring more police throughout the state.
“Why can’t Lee Zeldin support any of our commonsense gun safety laws?” Hochul said.
“You [Zeldin] say you’re so tough on crime, but you can’t be tough on crime but be soft on guns. The guns are what’s killing people, so we try to get the guns off the streets.”
She also promised to give bonuses to front-line workers for their efforts fighting the pandemic. She also said that Zeldin is a climate change denier and an election denier.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards spoke at the rally and urged the crowd to vote for Hochul.
“Kathy Hochul has shown up for this borough time and time again,” Richards said. “When Ida hit, Kathy was here—she wrote a check. When excluded workers needed a check, Kathy wrote a check. When we needed jobs at the airport, 6,000 union jobs.”
“So, make sure we get out there… and take nothing for granted.”
However, the Sunnyside crowd was not unanimous in its support of Hochul and her speech was interrupted by at least two hecklers.
“Get the criminals off the streets too,” one man could be heard saying when the Hochul began talking about crime.
Another protester, a woman, took issue with Hochul’s support of bail reform laws—and attributed the reforms to the death of Keaira Bennefield — a 30-year-old mother of three who was fatally shot by her estranged husband in Buffalo on Oct. 5. The shooting came the day after he was released from custody on no bail after beating Bennefield up.
The protester held a sign reading “Say her name Kathy, Keaira Bennefield,” and shouted, “this woman is dead because of your no-cash bail.”
If Hochul were to win she would become the first woman to be elected as Governor of New York. She assumed the governorship in Aug. 2021 after former Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned in the midst of sexual harassment allegations.