Kathy Hochul chooses state senator as next lieutenant governor

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has chosen Brian A. Benjamin, a New York City-based state senator, as her lieutenant governor, two sources familiar with the decision tell CBS News.

A formal announcement is expected on Thursday, said the sources, both of whom were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Hochul took office on Tuesday after the resignation of former Governor Andrew Cuomo and has the constitutional authority to appoint her lieutenant. She is the first woman to serve as governor of the Empire State and the first person from the western part of the state to hold the job in more than 100 years. 

During her two-week transition, Hochul said she would appoint someone from the nation’s largest city to be her lieutenant to provide geographic balance. Benjamin is African American, providing racial balance to the team as well.

Benjamin, 44, chairs the New York Senate’s revenue and budget committee and is an assistant majority leader in the upper chamber. He represents parts of Harlem and the Upper East and West Sides of the city. He ran unsuccessfully earlier this year in a crowded Democratic primary for New York City comptroller.

New York State Senator Brian Benjamin speaks during the
New York state Senator Brian Benjamin speaks during a rally on October 17, 2020. Ron Adar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Hochul’s anticipated announcement comes amid a wave of sweeping changes she is implementing this week, including tougher workplace rules across state government. 

Detailing those plans on “CBS This Morning” on Wednesday, Hochul said, ” I want everyone to know that my administration is going to be open, transparent and environment where people can just do their jobs without fear of harassment. Anyone who crosses the line, they’re going to have to deal with me. There’s no tolerance for anyone who abuses their positions. And that’s the message I’m sending. But I’m not just going to talk to talk. I’m going to make sure we walk the walk. So, at the end of my terms that people understand there’s been a huge change in culture and it’s starting day one.”