5 lawmakers endorse Hochul as 2022 race heats up

Massarah Mikati/Columbia-Greene Media Chants echo throughout the state Capitol and boom off the steps and walls of the Million Dollar Staircase as activists made sure state legislators heard their demands for affordable housing and an end to homelessness in January 2020. Pictured, center, is NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

HUDSON — After public advocate Jumaane Williams announced his run for governor Tuesday, Hudson Mayor Kamal Johnson and Common Council Majority Leader Tiffany Garriga declared their endorsement Friday.

Williams advocated for the passage of Hudson’s “good cause” eviction law alongside Johnson and Garriga in August. Williams said affordable housing, public safety and gun violence, access to health care, access to a working economy are key pieces of his platform.

“Every step of the way, politically, is going about trying to find the best ways I can use my skill set to help the people I’m representing,” Williams said.

Williams has been public advocate — the second-highest ranking elected office in New York City — since 2019. Before that he served more than nine years on the New York City Council.

Williams formed an exploratory committee and traveled the state to weigh his candidacy.

“I said during the exploratory committee, I had to really explore the possibility of getting a position that actually has many of the levers that I’m advocating for other people to use,” Williams said. “We decided that we should jump in and push a real vision of equity and justice and a progressive vision that makes sense at a time where I see people, particularly in the party I belong to, see that we’re pulling away from having a vision and really concentrating our vision on who we’re against.”

Johnson said in a statement that he looks forward to Williams’ candidacy.

“I’m excited to endorse Jumaane Williams for governor — a public servant who knows that leadership comes from listening to the people we serve, elevating their voices, and creating change,” Johnson said in a statement. “Jumaane understands the need to invest in people, communities and opportunities across our state, whether by creating affordable housing to keep people in their homes, or developing and growing a transformative, equitable economy.”

Garriga, also a 2nd Ward alderwoman, said in a statement that Williams has an understanding of both local and state issues.

“I’m proud to support Jumaane Williams and the movement he’s been a part of for years,” Garriga said. “I know Jumaane can unite progressive energy from all across New York and bring it to the governor’s mansion. It’s clear to me, and to my constituents when they meet him, that Jumaane understands the challenges we’re facing in Hudson and communities around the state. I look forward to helping him share his vision for meeting those challenges and shifting the status quo that didn’t work for most people.”

Williams joined the crowd in Hudson in August and said the housing issues in the city of Hudson are similar to those within New York City.

“Someone’s home is connected to everything they do — it is hard to get well coming home from the hospital if you’re sick, if you don’t have a place to live,” Williams said. “It is harder for people to study coming home from school if they don’t have a place to live. Being able to rip that away from someone at a moment’s notice at the whims of anyone simply is not right.”

Williams said he is pleased to have the local support.

“I’m really excited to have that support and really excited to have people supporting me who are on the ground level and seeing these things every day and knowing exactly what’s needed,” Williams said.

He also said that although regional differences in the state can create a feeling of separation, Williams has found that the issues are often the same.

“I think these endorsements really say a lot for the type of campaign we’re trying to push forward. There’s this notion of an upstate-downstate kind of divide that is understandable on regional discussions, but I think the people that push it, they benefit from it more than it actually exists,” he said.

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