Activist Check-in: Will Hochul Bring Change or More of the Same?

by | Aug 23, 2021

Dear Activist,

Effective August 24, Kathy Hochul will make history as our state’s first woman governor. Hochul is in a prime position to set a new precedent for gender equity and inclusion as she joins Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and state Attorney General Letitia James as New York’s most powerful women in government — and the first women to hold these titles. Incoming Governor Hochul said she will remove unethical staff, but given her proximity to the Cuomo administration as Lieutenant Governor for the past 8 years, it remains to be seen exactly what’s going to be done differently to restore public trust. As activists, we’re far too familiar with empty promises and understand that we must keep the pressure on to see real change in our communities.

As our Co-Executive Director Jess Wisenski said in response to Cuomo’s resignation, “New York is at a crossroads. We must choose to recognize the inherent human dignity of every person.” [Read the full statement here]. We also teamed up with our partners at Community Voices Heard to release an op-ed to speak to the historic importance of this transition of power from Cuomo to Hochul. Given that she’s inheriting a growing housing and homeless crisis, we’re asking what her plan is to address it. We’re wondering where she stands on progressive issues like Good Cause eviction, which is catching steam statewide as localities introduce their own bills, and fixing the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance program. Below is an excerpt from the op-ed, which you can read in full here.

“Yet this is Kathy Hochul’s chance to use her influence and authority to resolve the people’s needs and we are standing by, waiting to work with her as we seek the proper implementation of the statewide Emergency Rent Relief Assistance Program which has been a disaster under the outgoing Governor… It is essential for us to understand your perspectives on the overall conditions of the state and what your priorities will be in your first 100 days.”

Around the State

Seal the Deal National Day of Action

On Thursday, August 19, Citizen Action members join thousands of climate activists, frontline communities and allies in government nationwide for the Seal the Deal National Day of Action. The actions were organized by NY Renews and the Green New Deal Network to call on Congress to pass a strong infrastructure plan that invests in climate action, jobs, the care economy and justice.

With Congress working to finalize the big infrastructure plan, the rallies were a major push to ensure Congress takes advantage of this historic opportunity to tackle the most pressing challenges our communities face by passing a robust $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill. Activists in the Hudson Valley rallied outside the office of Congress member Antonio Delgado’s Kingston office to ensure he fights for NO CUTS to the plan. Click here to watch video coverage of the rally. “He has to speak out at every opportunity to make sure there are strong climate provisions in the reconciliation package,” said Bob Cohen, our policy director. The action in Kingston was one of 8 statewide and 68 across the nation.

Ways to Take Action Now

We can’t wait any longer to address the climate crisis. This month, Congress has the opportunity to go big and bold on investing in climate solutions — and they need to hear from us how important it is that they act NOW. Take action:

Upcoming Events

Central NY
Meet & Greet with Endorsed Candidates!
Saturday, August 21 at 1 – 4 p.m.

With the uptick in Covid, we’ve had to change this event. Join the Working Families Party for a meet and greet with endorsed candidates Katie Aiello, Sparkle Anthony, Celeste Friend and Delvin Moody! Click here for more information.

Breaking the Cycle Workshop
Saturday, August 21 & Sunday, August 22 at 10 a.m. – 12 p.m

In this workshop, we explore the motivations and drivers of the criminal legal system, including policing and mass incarceration. We pay special attention to the institutional racism at the heart of the system that has been oppressing Black and Brown people for centuries. With that understanding, we can begin to redefine safety in our lives and communities. Click here for more information.

Capital Region

Climate & Housing Committee: August 25 at 6 – 8 p.m.

The Citizen Action – Capital District Chapter’s Climate and Housing Committee is a group of passionate, dedicated, and all around lovely people who get together once every two weeks to strategize around the issue of climate change and housing. Next year, we are going to “Make Polluters Pay” by passing the Climate and Community Investment Act, protect the rest of New Yorkers with a statewide Good Cause bill, and much more! Click here for more information.

Western NY

Join our Buffalo chapter for a full day of Black August events on Thursday, August 26 starting at 10 a.m. with a Call for Good Cause Eviction and ending with a Membership Barbecue at 6 – 8 p.m. Click here to view the chapter’s full list of events. A couple are listed below.

A Call For Action: Good Cause Eviction: Thursday, August 26 at 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Join our Buffalo chapter’s Housing Committee to take action in support of Good Cause Eviction legislation and protect the renters and homeowners of Buffalo! Click here for more information.

Demand Justice: August 26 at 11:30 a.m – 12:30 p.m.

Join our chapter’s Demand Justice Committee to demand justice for people integrating back into the community!

Join the Movement

Citizen Action of New York is building power in communities across the state. Our members are the reason we’re able to do effective grassroots organizing and achieve justice for our communities. Our members give what they can when they can and each contribution is directly invested in local leadership development. Click here to support.

There are many ways to get involved right now. Click here to contact a Citizen Action chapter in your area and ask how you can get involved locally.

Stay Connected

Tweet us! For live updates, follow our statewide Twitter page. And if you’re looking for cool articles, memes and a little conversation, like us on Facebook here.

Closing message:

“We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.” – Ella Baker (1903-1986)


In solidarity,