New York has a new lieutenant governor.
Antonio Delgado took the oath of office Wednesday for his the new role as Gov. Kathy Hochul’s second in command, becoming the state’s third lieutenant governor in less than a year.
The former Democratic congressman replaces former Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin, who resigned in April following his indictment on bribery and fraud charges. Delgado was selected by Hochul to succeed Benjamin earlier this month.
“We have enough politicians. We really do. What we need are more public servants," Delgado said, adding that the work he's done in Congress "is work of unity."
Delgado will have to play politics if he wants to keep the job with a three-way primary on June 28th just around the corner. He will have his work cut out for him as he tries to purge the stain of corruption and set a new course for the office, something he says is attainable.
“I’ll say what I am focusing on, as I did when I first was elected in Congress is connecting with folks on the ground,” Delgado says. “All across this state. Building relationships. Listening to the needs of the community. And I think as I spoke to in my remarks, I have no problem working very hard to do that day and night, and I intend to do that.”
Delgado is up against activist Ana Maria Archila and New York City Council member Diana Reyna. Hochul must also fend off primary challenges from New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Long Island Rep. Tom Suozzi. In New York, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run separately in primary elections, which will be June 28.
During his swearing-in speech at the governor’s office in Manhattan, Delgado spoke at length about the Texas school shooting. In his impassioned remarks he accused the federal government of failing to act to protect young people.
“And what is being done to protect it. What? At the national level. As a country. Absolutely nothing,” Delgado said.
But Delgado himself is leaving federal office to join Hochul in Albany, vacating a competitive House seat in a midterm year Democrats are desperately trying to hold onto their majorities in Washington.
“We passed universal background checks through the House. Quite a while ago. It sits in the Senate. That’s where it sits, and that is where it currently languishes,” Delgado said.
Delgado was born in Schenectady where his dad worked at General Electric. He attended Colgate University and became a Rhodes Scholar and eventually graduated from Harvard Law School. Delgado's family attended the Macedonia Baptist Church in Albany. He's a member of the Upstate Basketball Hall of Fame. He most recently served in the U.S. House of Representatives in New York’s 19th Congressional District since 2019.
"I am incredibly humbled, beyond words, and truly grateful to be your partner to you, Governor Hochul, and every New Yorker around this journey," Delgado said.
Delgado's congressional seat representing the current 19th District will be filled in a special election on Aug. 23, the same day as the state's U.S. House and state Senate primaries, moved from June after a state court rejected the lawmaker drawn-maps for those chambers as unconstitutional.
Asked whether he is concerned about getting such a late start, @DelgadoforNY says he is going to work very hard to meet people and campaign over the next month— Zack Fink (@ZackFinkNews) May 25, 2022
Primary is June 28. pic.twitter.com/ao3SavIx9p