Caribbean American sworn in as New York Lieutenant Governor
MANHATTAN, NY – Caribbean American Brian Benjamin was sworn in as the next Lieutenant Governor of New York on Thursday.
The Harlem Democrat filled the post left open by his new boss and predecessor, Governor Kathy Hochul following the abrupt resignation of former governor Andrew Cuomo last month.
“New York State, I will do everything I can to make sure that those who are living at the margins, those who are struggling, those who are overlooked will have a seat at the table, and we will make sure that there’s fairness, accountability and good practical decision-making that governs our activities,” Benjamin said.
The 44-year-old, the son of a Guyanese mother and Jamaican father, had previously served as the New York State Senator for District 30 that encompasses Harlem, East Harlem, and the Upper West Side in Manhattan.
“I’ve found a person who knows what it’s like to struggle, to work hard, to make something of his life, and to now return his service to the community,” Hochul said during the swearing-in ceremony that was officiated by United States district judge, Analisa Torres.
“That is, my friends, the American dream, how someone who started out with little rose to where he is today, but now turns back and doesn’t think about himself. He thinks about how he can serve not just his Senatorial district, but now he’ll be helping me serve 20 million New Yorkers.
“It’s an extraordinary responsibility. I wouldn’t have asked you if I didn’t think you’re up for the task. And I know you are.”
Benjamin thanked the 62-year-old governor for putting her trust in him.
“And thank you so much, Governor Hochul for this opportunity to serve,” he said. “I will not let you down. New York State, I will not let you down, either.
“You know, whether it’s fighting for safer streets, advancing nation-leading gun reform, combatting the opioid epidemic and enhancing addiction treatment services or advocating for affordable and supportive housing, Governor Hochul wants to make sure that we all have a seat at the table, and I think that you asking me to join the administration has made it abundantly clear that you want up-state and down-state, every ethnicity, every culture to feel included.”
Benjamin said people for too long have not felt included and not had a seat at the table where their issues would be brought to the forefront.
Benjamin and Hochul previously worked together on several key issues, including fighting the opioid epidemic and boosting addiction recovery programs, supporting Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises and making it easier for New Yorkers to vote.