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NY Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thomas Suozzi, Jumaane Williams debate

Gov. Kathy Hochul committed to at least two debates in the Democratic gubernatorial primary Friday after being called out by her challengers, Rep. Thomas Suozzi and New York State Attorney Jumaane Williams.

“I always argue. I always take the opportunity,” she told reporters Friday after performing in Queens alongside Rep. Grace Meng and other Asian-American community leaders.

Suozzi and Williams have previously jointly called for at least six televised debates statewide beginning in early March, noting Hochul’s lack of participation in virtual candidate forums in recent months.

“Democracy is a contest of ideas,” Suozzi and Williams wrote Thursday in a letter to TV stations included in a press release. “Given the many challenges New York faces, we believe news organizations have an essential role to play in facilitating thorough discussion of the issues that voters have come to expect from those intended to serve the public.”

The exact timing and location of future debates has yet to be determined, Hochul said, but Suozzi and Williams have already committed to two debates. WCBS is hosting the first on June 7th, while a second is planned for June 16th, hosted by multiple media organizations.

Attorney Jumaane Williams of New York
The city’s public attorney, Jumaane Williams, speaks at a rally in support of homeless New Yorkers at City Hall on April 1, 2022.
William Farington
New York State Democratic nominee for governor Tom Suozzi
Rep. Thomas Suozzi criticized Gov. Kathy Hochul for not proposing aggressive action on New York City’s crime problems.
AP Photo/POOL – Robert Mecea – News Day

While Hochul doesn’t engage in as much debate as her rivals demand, she will face her main rivals head-on at least twice as often as her predecessor, the ex-gov. Andrew Cuomo, who only committed to a debate against his main nemesis Cynthia Nixon in 2018.

Depending on the specific criteria of the media organizations, other candidates could also be included in the future. “We believe that every candidate who is running for governor and has secured his position in the ballot will be given the opportunity to participate,” Suozzi and Williams said in the letter.

Past election cycles have seen debates that have also involved candidates like James McMillan III, who ran for the Democratic nomination in 2010 under a slogan that proclaimed that “rent is too damn high.”

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks at the Democratic gubernatorial primary as his challenger Cynthia Nixon listens at Hofstra University on Wednesday, August 29, 2018 in Hempstead, NY
Then, on August 29, 2018, Governor Andrew Cuomo debated main challenger Cynthia Nixon at Ofstra University in Hempstead, New York.
J. Conrad Williams Jr./Newsday via AP, Pool)

Former state legislator Paul Nichols hopes future debates could also help him build credibility in his underdog campaign for the Democratic nomination — provided he can overcome the challenges of the signatures he submitted to get on to participate in the vote.

“I would love to attend,” Nichols said in an email. “This would be a great opportunity for New Yorkers that we have been in touch with over the past few months to see an alternative to the constant music chairs we have been playing in this condition that has produced horrific results for ordinary people.”

https://nypost.com/2022/04/22/ny-gov-kathy-hochul-to-debate-thomas-suozzi-jumaane-williams/ NY Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thomas Suozzi, Jumaane Williams debate

JACLYN DIAZ

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