Watch Debate For Governor of New York, Kathy Hochul vs Lee Zeldin – New York’s Governor Kathy Hochul and Representative Lee Zeldin squared off in a debate just before the midterm election 2022. They argued about various issues, including abortion, crime, and economic growth.
Governor Kathy Hochul highlighted Representative Lee Zeldin’s views on abortion and his relationship with Donald Trump, while Lee expressed outrage over crime and the economy.
Watch Debate For Governor of New York: Kathy Hochul vs Lee Zeldin
There was some back-and-forth between the candidates, but no major gaffes or breakthrough moments that could change the course of the race, which is now, according to polls, got too close.
Nonetheless, they have taken radically different stances on important issues like crime, vaccine mandates, and the migrant crisis in the run-up to the general election on November 8.
Mr. Zeldin went on the offensive from the beginning, frequently raising his voice and channeling a sense of outrage, particularly around crime.
In contrast, Ms. Hochul, a Democrat from the Buffalo area running for her first full term, adopted a more measured strategy, consistent with her repeated claims that New York needs a steady hand at the helm.
Watch Debate For Governor of New York: Kathy Hochul vs. Lee Zeldin: Summary
New York Governor Kathy Hochul and her opponent, Representative Lee Zeldin, sparred fiercely in the debate, accusing each other of corruption and extremism while arguing over contentious issues like rising crime and abortion access.
Here is a synopsis of important topics they talked about –
Crime in New York
In his opening remarks, Lee Zeldin claimed that Democrats had made New York less safe and too expensive, and Kathy Hochul defended her campaign with a promise to install surveillance cameras in the subway system.
For the past several months, Mr. Zeldin has made combating crime a central plank of his campaign for governor, and the debate was no exception. He was critical of Ms. Hochul from the beginning, saying that she isn’t doing enough to stop the rise of violent crime across the state and, in particular, in New York City and that her policies are to blame for people being afraid.
He largely maintained the hard-line stance on crime, called for reforms in the juvenile justice and the parole system in the state, and harshly criticized Ms. Hochul for her opposition to further revisions to the state’s bail law.
Kathy Hochul shifted the conversation to the issue of gun violence, and she questioned Lee Zeldin as to why he didn’t back a bill in Congress to raise the age at which a person can purchase a semiautomatic rifle from 18 to 21 as New York did this year. Ms. Hochul hoped to shift focus away from her work to reduce the availability of illegal firearms claiming that those initiatives had already borne fruit.
Mr. Zeldin, however, claimed that the governor’s attention was misplaced because she was too preoccupied with gun violence and not paying enough attention to other crimes that New Yorkers were worried about, such as the increase in subway violence.
Ms. Hochul kept her cool throughout the hour-long debate, but she seemed irritated by Mr. Zeldin’s insistence on talking about crime even when the moderators asked about something else.
Discussion on Abortion – Watch Debate For Governor of New York, Kathy Hochul vs Lee Zeldin
Kathy attacked her opponent, Lee Zeldin, for supporting anti-abortion even though Mr. Zeldin had promised earlier he would avoid weakening the state’s protections for women seeking abortions.
Ms. Hochul spent the entire debate attacking Mr. Zeldin for his anti-abortion stance, arguing that he couldn’t hide from his history of voting against abortion funding and access in Congress and reached out to her supporters in a room, expressing concern that Mr. Zeldin might appoint a health commissioner who is against abortion.
In response, Mr. Zeldin reiterated his promise, stating that he would not attempt to change the state’s existing, stringent abortion protections without the people’s approval. However, he added that several pro-life supporters had voiced their displeasure about the government using their tax dollars to pay for abortions in other states, so there is a possibility of restricting funding for abortions for women coming to New York from states where abortions are illegal if he wins the election.
Relation with Trump – Watch Debate For Governor of New York
Ms. Hochul has been campaigning against Mr. Zeldin for months, focusing on his close relationship with former President Donald J. Trump and his vote to nullify the results of the 2020 election just hours after the riot on January 6 at the U.S. Capitol.
When asked if he hoped Mr. Trump would run for president again in 2024, he dismissed the question as unimportant, and when Ms. Hochul asked if he thought Mr. Trump was a great president, he again dodged the question.
Funding for Elections – Watch Debate For Governor of New York
Mr. Zeldin wasted no time casting doubt on Ms. Hochul’s fundraising efforts, accusing her of coordinating pay-to-play schemes due to the large sums she has raised from people who have businesses before the state.
Mr. Zeldin specifically mentioned a $637 million contract that the state awarded to a New Jersey firm called Digital Gadgets for $52 million in coronavirus tests that can be performed in the comfort of one’s home without the company going through a competitive bidding process.
He also mentioned that more than $290,000 had been donated by company founder Charlie Tebele and his family to Ms. Hochul’s campaign, and the Rebels have also hosted fundraisers for the governor.
However, Ms. Hochul denied any connection between the campaign donations and the contract. She declared that there is no pay-to-play corruption and no policy shift or decision has ever been made in exchange for money, as has been alleged.
Economy and Migration Crisis – Watch Debate For Governor of New York, Kathy Hochul vs Lee Zeldin
The economy and rising living costs received less attention than expected during the debate, despite public polls showing that inflation is a top-of-mind concern for voters.
If elected, Mr. Zeldin said, New York will be back open for business, and middle-class New Yorkers shouldn’t have to bear the financial burden of congestion pricing plans.
As New York has been losing residents recently, Mr. Zeldin questioned what Governor Hochul has done to stop the trend.
Ms. Hochul responded by returning to a phrase she used multiple times during the debate that Mr. Zeldin was more concerned with sound bites than sound policy and instead pressed Zeldin to specify which welfare programs would be cut if he succeeded in reducing the state’s high corporate and individual income tax rates.
She also bragged about her successful business investments and spoke of the middle-class tax cuts she had enacted and the recent deal to convince Micron to construct a semiconductor facility in the Syracuse area, which would create many jobs.
About Kathy Hochul
Kathy Hochul is a democratic politician and attorney from New York who, on August 24, 2021, became New York’s first female governor.
Democrat Kathy Hochul won New York’s 26th congressional district in May 2011, making her the first woman to hold that seat in 40 years. However, she lost to Chris Collins in 2012 and resigned from office in 2013.
After that, Hochul joined M&T Bank in Buffalo as a specialist in government relations and was Chris Cuomo‘s running mate in the 2014 election for governor of New York. They ended up winning the election, and she was sworn in as New York’s lieutenant governor soon after. Both Hochul and Cuomo were re-elected to their respective offices in 2018.
About Lee Zeldin
Lee Michael Zeldin is a Congressman and U.S. Army Reserve officer. He has been the Republican representative for New York’s 1st congressional district in Congress since 2015.
Lee served in the United States Army from 2003 until 2007 and spent most of his time in the Military Intelligence Corps. Later joined the 82nd Airborne Division’s ranked paratrooper battalion in the summer of 2006 and served in Tikrit, Iraq, supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In the 2018 Republican primary, Lee faced no competition, and in November’s general election, he ran against Perry Gershon, the Democratic nominee, and was victorious over Gershon with 51.5% to 47.4% of the vote. During the general election held on November 3, 2020, he bested Nancy Goroff, a Democrat.
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