By Richard Lee
While Kathy Hochul and Lee Zeldin trade barbs on the campaign trail, the two gubernatorial candidates are making good use of the elected positions they already hold.
As governor, Hochul is effectively employing a Rose Garden strategy, using her office to announce grants, new programs and other positive developments.
In just the past seven days, she has:
- Signed a bill enhancing airport safety;
- Dedicated portions of a state roadway to veterans and first responders;
- Announced completion of an affordable housing development and started on another;
- Launched a $30 million cybersecurity program;
- Let New Yorkers know that $30 million in federal funds is available for child care programs;
- Provided new support and resources for victims of human trafficking;
- Broke ground on Ralph Wilson Park on Buffalo’s waterfront, and
- Started a hotline for issues of workplace sexual harassment.
All are items with little or no controversy. She uses her office to deliver good news.
As a congressman, Zeldin does not have the same opportunity to use his office to reach voters all over the state, but he is making the most of his congressional webpage. Some of the content in the page’s news release section mirrors the anti-crime message of his campaign.
For example, Zeldin recently used his congressional page to react to a decision to drop a murder charge in New York City and condemn an anti-Semitic attack in Brooklyn.
It is worth noting that neither of these incidents occurred in Zeldin’s congressional district, which consists of the eastern portion of Suffolk County
Interestingly, Zeldin has accused Hochul of using tax dollars to fly by helicopter to campaign events (a charge that she denies). The cost involved with having a staffer write a press release pales in comparison to a trip on a state-funded helicopter. Nevertheless, one can’t help but wonder how the folks who live in Zeldin’s district feel about their congressman devoting staff time and resources to events occurring elsewhere.
Richard Lee, executive director of the Jandoli Institute, covered politics and government as a reporter and later served as Deputy Director of Communication for two New Jersey governors. To read more of Lee’s ‘”On the Road to Albany” columns, follow the Jandoli Institute on Twitter and Facebook.