(The Center Square) – A congressman from the Albany area will be New York’s next lieutenant governor.
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday morning that U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado will be her pick to replace Brian Benjamin, who resigned last month after federal authorities arrested him on bribery charges connected to previous political campaigns.
By Steve Bittendbender | The Center Square contributor
About Antonio Delgado
“We share a belief in working together to get things done for New Yorkers, and Representative Delgado has an incredible record of doing just that in Congress,” she said in a statement on Twitter.
Delgado, a 45-year-old Democrat from Rhinebeck, was first elected to Congress in 2018, becoming the first Black person to represent upstate New York. He was born in Schenectady to parents with African and Latino roots, played college basketball at Colgate and became a Rhodes Scholar.
After leaving Oxford, he graduated from Harvard Law School.
In a statement, Delgado said New Yorkers deserve someone who will work around the clock for them.
“Upstate, downstate, doesn’t matter,” he said. “We all want the same things, security, family, and opportunity. The key is to listen to New Yorkers from all walks of life and then be their voice to get the job done.”
It’s expected that Delgado will also replace Benjamin on the ballot for lieutenant governor. If so, in the June 28 primary he would face two Latino women: progressive activist Ana Maria Archila and former New York City Councilwoman Diana Reyes.
The news came one day after the New York Legislature passed a bill Hochul requested to remove Benjamin’s name from the Democratic primary ballot in June. That bill was filed Friday evening.
It was a contentious vote, with several Democrats joining Republicans in voting against the bill. In the state Senate, where Democrats hold 43 of 63 seats, the bill passed by just a 33-29 vote.
“Every legislator who supported this pathetic deal should be embarrassed,” Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, said after the vote.
Earlier in the afternoon, Benjamin posted a video statement saying the charges against him were unfounded and that he expected to be exonerated. Despite that, the former state senator from Harlem said he would sign a statement to remove himself from the ballot.
“Until I have the opportunity to clear my name, I will not be able to serve,” he said. “Therefore, making it unfair to the voters of this great state for me to remain on the ballot.”
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