Oct 26, 2022

Hochul and Zeldin spar in debate for New York governor Transcript

Hochul and Zeldin spar in debate for New York governor Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsGovernorHochul and Zeldin spar in debate for New York governor Transcript

Sparring over crime, abortion and the deadly U.S. Capitol insurrection took center stage as New York Gov. Kathy Hochul faced her Republican challenger, U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin. Read the transcript here.

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Errol Louis (00:20):

Good evening. Welcome to Spectrum News Debate in the race for governor. I am political anchor Errol Louis from New York One News.

Susan Arbetter (00:27):

And I’m Spectrum News One anchor Susan Arbetter. We’re coming to you live from the Schimmel Theater at Pace University in lower Manhattan, seen all across our station statewide from the five boroughs up to Buffalo, and we’re streaming on the Spectrum News app and New York One dot com, ny1.com, without a paywall. It’s also being broadcast on WNYC radio in New York City and WAMC radio in the Albany area.

Errol Louis (00:52):

In just four days early voting will begin across the state, with election day itself falling in exactly two weeks on November 8th. At the top of every ticket is the race for governor. Over the next hour, you’ll hear from the candidates who are running for the most powerful elected position in New York.

Susan Arbetter (01:08):

Joining us tonight is Kathy Hochul, who became governor in August of last year after Andrew Cuomo resigned, and Lee Zeldin, who has represented parts of Eastern Long Island in Congress since 2015 and is seeking to be the first Republican to win statewide election since 2002. Here are the rules for tonight’s one hour long debate. Each candidate will have 60 seconds to respond to questions, and will also be given the opportunity to respond if he or she is directly addressed by his or her opponent. We will also have what we call a cross examination, where each candidate will be able to ask his or her opponent a question. And there will be a lightning round, where the answers have to be yes or no or very short response.

Errol Louis (01:51):

You can see this full debate on the Spectrum News app at any time, along with a personalized voting guide, and that’s where you can also find our live blog of tonight’s debate with full analysis from our political team. And following the debate, we’ll bring you a special half hour program of analysis. For those of you at home, please join the conversation online using the hashtag #nydebates. We begin now with short opening statements. The order was determined by a random drawing this morning on live television. Lee Zeldin will go first. Good evening.

Lee Zeldin (02:22):

I’m here for one reason: to save our state and deliver a safer, freer, better future for you and your family. New York is in crisis. We’ve experienced on so many levels attacks on our wallets, our safety, our freedom, your children’s education. You’re poorer and less safe because of Kathy Hochul and extreme policies. This is your opportunity to save New York. Over the course of this next hour, you’ll get to hear a clear contrast between the two of us as far as our vision for this state. If you’re tired of soaring crime, DAs that led violent criminals out on the street to roam free, crushing taxes, and skyrocketing costs, New Yorkers struggling to feed their families and heat their homes; the reality is, for you, you deserve better.

Errol Louis (03:15):

Thank you. Next is Kathy Hochul.

Kathy Hochul (03:19):

Well, nice to see you too as well, Lee, looking forward to this conversation. And thank you to Spectrum and Pace University for hosting this debate, this conversation. But it’s all about the people tuning in here tonight. I’ve been your governor, it’s the highest honor of my life, the last 14 months. Every single day I wake up, think about how I can fight harder for you and your families; to invest in education for your kids, give you more childcare opportunities so you can get back to your jobs, also keeping more money in your pockets with middle class tax cuts and property tax rebates, but very much focused on public safety and getting more and more illegal guns off the streets.

But that’s not the only thing I have to protect, your safety, but also your fundamental rights. Your fundamental rights to be safe, but also to choose what you want done with your body. Particularly this message is for women. You will see a great contrast here tonight between myself and my record and someone who has been called one of Donald Trump’s strongest and most loyal supporters. He helped him on January 6th by supporting the overturning of an election. He sent text messages trying to orchestrate the big lie, and he opposes sensible gun safety laws, as well as opposing a woman’s right to choose. That’s what’s on the line here tonight.

Susan Arbetter (04:32):

Thank you.

Kathy Hochul (04:32):

I’m looking forward to the conversation.

Errol Louis (04:36):

Okay. Thank you, candidates. Our first question is going to go to you, Mr. Zeldin, since you won our drawing this morning. Crime and public safety are one of the top issues in this race. You’ve promised if elected to invoke a state of emergency on crime and suspend several laws, including bail reform measures, in order to improve public safety. But our state’s division of criminal justice services, which tracks statistics, says that it’s too early to draw conclusions, pointing out that in 2019 prior to bail reform, the rate of re-arrests of people out on bail in New York City was roughly 19% and remains statistically the same at around 20% in 2021 after bail reform. DCJS, this division, of course maintains the DNA database, administers the sex offender registry, and the missing persons clearinghouse. My question is, if you become governor, would you make policy despite the agency’s findings?

Lee Zeldin (05:29):

Well, listen. You ask the will of the people. They want to see reform. Even Mayor Adams says that judges should have discretion and weigh dangerousness. I don’t think that if you’re two Mexican cartel drug smugglers busted with $1.2 million worth of crystal meth that you should just be instantly released on cashless bail. Now, Kathy Hochul supports cashless bail. As soon as it got implemented, she was out there bragging about it. She chose the champion of the defund the police movement and the architect of cashless bail, Brian Benjamin; yeah, that guy who got arrested and had to resign; that was her first big decision to make him the lieutenant governor.

We need to repeal cashless bail. We need to repeal the HALT Act. Amend raise the age and less is more. We need to make our streets safe again. I’m running to take back our streets and to support unapologetically our men and women in law enforcement. This is about all of us together, Republicans, Democrats, independents, as New Yorkers, to make sure our streets are safe again, to make sure our subways are safe again. This is our opportunity. Two weeks from tonight, we can continue with the status quo where they believe they haven’t passed enough pro-criminal laws or we can take control of our destiny and make sure law abiding New Yorkers are in charge of our streets again.

Errol Louis (06:38):

Okay. I’ll give you a chance to respond, Mrs. Hochul.

Kathy Hochul (06:41):

Oh, I’d be happy to. First of all, you can either work on keeping people scared or you can focus on keeping them safe. I have worked hard to have real policies that are making a difference. And as you mentioned, that data is still being collected, but I did focus on bail reform in our budget. That’s why the budget was nine days late, because I insisted on common sense changes. But there is no crime fighting plan if it doesn’t include guns, illegal guns, and you refuse to talk about how we can do so much more. You didn’t even show up for votes in Washington when a bipartisan group of enlightened legislators voted for an assault weapon ban. I mean, we lost another child and a teacher yesterday in St. Louis because people will not support what I was able to get done here in New York, and that is a ban on assault weapons for teenagers. You can’t even do that. It’s quite extraordinary. But it’s about getting the guns off the streets. That’s the first start. We have more to do, but I’m the one to do it.

Errol Louis (07:36):

Did you want to respond?

Lee Zeldin (07:37):

Yes. Yeah, of course. And unfortunately Kathy Hochul believes that the only crimes that are being committed are these crimes with guns, and you got people who are afraid of being pushed in front of oncoming subway cars. They’re being stabbed, beaten to death on the street with hammers. Go talk to the Asian American community and how it’s impacted them with the loss of lives. Jewish people targeted with raw, violent antisemitism on our streets. It just happened yet again. We need to be talking about all of these other crimes, but instead, Kathy Hochul’s too busy patting herself on the back, job well done. No, actually right now there should be a special session. The state legislature should come back and they should overhaul cashless bail and these other criminal laws with zero tolerance. But they’re saying, “Elect me.” She says, “Elect me, and then you’ll find out where maybe I’ll stand on this issue in January.”

Errol Louis (08:24):

I want to follow up with you, Mr. Zeldin. You have vowed to remove the district attorney of the county where we’re in right now, Alvin Bragg of Manhattan, on day one if elected as governor. Of course, he is an elected official and the state constitution specifies that removing a DA is not simple and is not automatic. Removal requires specific charges of wrongdoing, not just the difference of opinion, and the official in question must have a chance to defend themselves formally. What specific conduct are you alleging the district attorney has engaged in?

Lee Zeldin (08:55):

Absolutely. The first thing I’ll do right after I’m sworn into office is turning to Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg to let him know that he’s being removed. And it’s from day one that he was a district attorney he said he was not going to enforce all different kinds of laws across the board, others he treats as lesser offenses.

Look what happened to Jose Alba. He gets attacked, he’s defending himself. Alvin Bragg sends him to Rikers Island, slaps him with a murder charge. He had an open stab wound. Alvin Bragg asked for hundreds of thousands of dollars in bail in this case, but doesn’t go after the person who stabbed Jose Alba. We reached the point where Jose Alba said that he needed to go back to the Dominican Republic because he didn’t feel safe here. Alvin Bragg is not doing his job. The message will absolutely be sent that if you’re the DA, it stands for district attorney, not defense attorney. Alvin Bragg can go be a defense attorney, but if he’s not going to do his job, I’m going to do my job and I’m going to remove him as soon as I can.

Errol Louis (09:51):

Did you want to respond?

Kathy Hochul (09:52):

I’d be happy to. I’m not surprised, because in Lee Zeldin’s world, you overturn elections you don’t agree with. You can’t throw out someone who is duly elected. Yes, I’ve worked with all of our district attorneys and given them more power to do their jobs, but for someone who voted to overturn a presidential election, I’m not surprised he just thinks whenever he wants to do something, he can just undo the will of the people. That’s not the democracy we live in, but it’s the world that Lee Zeldin does.

Lee Zeldin (10:21):

Now, listen, you’re a New York voter out there, you’re worried about security on our streets and our subways, a question gets posed about a Manhattan DA who refuses to enforce the law, and all that my opponent can come up with is talking about the last election? Think about that. Now, we don’t have recall elections in this state, but when they crafted the New York State Constitution, they gave the governor the authority to remove a district attorney when they refused to enforce the law, and I’m going to do what is not just my constitutional authority but my constitutional duty to keep the people of this city, of this state safe.

Errol Louis (10:51):


Kathy Hochul (10:52):

I’ve got to say, he’s wrong about that, because there’s many facets. It’s not about governing by sound bites. I’m governing by sound policy. Yes, we have more illegal guns off our streets because I brought together people from nine states to work together hitting the gun traffickers. We also made sure that we did make those changes to our bail laws so we can have repeat offenders and people with gun offenses treated as they were under the previous law. That got done because I made it get done. But also, we have to talk about getting guns out of the hands of young people, background checks, and people who are severely mentally ill. What I have proposed to work with Mayor Adams was more cops, we’ll support them with our state resources; cameras in the subways; as well as care for the people who are severely, severely mentally ill and can have an episode that can cause harm. We’re taking care of this. Setting aside an election is something you want to do. I’m all about getting results, real results, not just more sound bites.

Errol Louis (11:47):

Let me follow up with you, Mrs. Hochul. Overall crime in the subway is up by over 57% this year. There have been eight homicides in the subway so far in 2022, while in prior years going all the way back to 2008 there were never more than three murders in any given year in the subways. And as you mentioned, a few days ago you and Mayor Eric Adams announced a plan for an expanded police presence in the subways, along with more security cameras, 50 new treatment beds for the mentally ill. But given the mentions of the problem, what is your message to New Yorkers who are frightened for their safety and believe the latest initiative is too little, too late?

Kathy Hochul (12:23):

No, I understand the fear. I walk the streets of New York City every day. I’ve taken the subways. This fear is real. There’s facts to talk about, statistics, which make a different case, but I’m also dealing with real human beings who are anxious about their kids getting on a subway or going to work. I understand that.

But that was not my first time teaming up with Mayor Adams. We were together literally January 6th, not that January 6th, but January 6th the following year, when Eric Adams was brand new as mayor. I said, “Let’s go to the subway together. Let’s work together.” You never heard that before, a governor and a mayor working in concert to support law enforcement. I tripled the amount of money to go to law enforcement, and Lee Zeldin when he was a member of Congress didn’t even bother to show up for a vote to fund our police officers. He didn’t show up to vote for sensible gun safety legislation. He walked off his job years ago to run for this one, and I feel for his constituents who’ve been not represented at all over the last year and a half.

Lee Zeldin (13:21):

It’s amazing that we’re going to be able to go through the entire crime conversation of this debate and we’re still waiting for Kathy Hochul to talk about actually locking up criminals. I mean, people are at home waiting for action, to make sure that the handcuffs are going on criminals instead of law abiding New Yorkers, so that people can go walk the streets of Manhattan instead of having to call an Uber just to go two blocks because they’re afraid. People who have changed their behavior, they’re not riding the subway at the same hours. Maybe they’re Jewish, they take their yarmulka off because they’re afraid of being attacked. Maybe there is a woman, they tell me these stories of having to hug a pole or grab a guardrail because they’re afraid of being pushed in front of an oncoming subway car. There are criminals out there who need to pay the consequences for their action instead of the catch release policies that Kathy Hochul champions.

Kathy Hochul (14:06):

It is a joke to talk about a crime policy that doesn’t include doing something about illegal guns. When you had the chance as a member of Congress to stand with other Republicans who finally said, “Enough is enough. No more school massacres by teenagers. Let’s have background checks. Let’s have safety checks. Let’s do it smart,” you were nowhere to be found, Lee. I mean, people need to know. You can’t talk about… All you have is rhetoric. I have a record of getting things done, and that’s what I’m happy to talk about. It doesn’t come down to you firing one person and you changing one law in bail. It’s a much more complicated situation.

Susan Arbetter (14:40):

We’re going to move on.

Kathy Hochul (14:41):

We have a backlog of two years of no jury trials.

Susan Arbetter (14:44):


Kathy Hochul (14:45):

That has had an effect on our system as well.

Susan Arbetter (14:46):

We’re going to move on to the economy, and we’re going to start with Mr. Zeldin. The economy has been shaky since the pandemic. It’s also one of New Yorkers’ top concerns according to multiple polls. Inflation has increased rapidly, reaching record highs, not only in the US but across the world. While the governor doesn’t control the levers of the worldwide economy, could you talk about specifically how you plan to provide relief to New York families?

Lee Zeldin (15:15):

Sure. Well, we have to bring spending in this state under control. We’ve seen all these bailouts coming from the federal government and the state just decides that they’re just going to increase spending and that becomes a new baseline for the next year. Well, what we have to do is have a state spending cap. We need to bring down taxes across the board. We should reverse the state’s ban on the safe extraction of natural gas and pursue other opportunities to create more jobs and generate more revenue and revitalize communities. We should all be able to proudly say that we are living in the greatest state in the greatest country in the history of the world. It’s more difficult though when your state is leading the entire nation in population loss. So whether it’s industry, whether it… Like for example, the people in the southern tier desperate for being able to reverse the state’s ban on the safe extraction of natural gas, approving new pipeline applications and more. Generate revenue, bring spending under control in this state, bring down taxes. New York is going to be back open for business, baby, January 1st.

Susan Arbetter (16:14):

Thank you. Same question to Governor Hochul.

Kathy Hochul (16:16):

It’s an interesting response. Let me talk about what I’ve done, but also respond to what we just heard. If you’re really serious about helping people, you cut their taxes in middle class families. I did that this year with the legislature. We gave people property tax rebates this year. We suspended the state tax on gasoline to help get more money back in their pockets. But the most expensive thing for our families is their mortgage or their rent payments. I have a plan heading into the next session which is thoughtful. We’re going to be able to create up to a million new homes so we can help drive down the affordability issues for families. I’m focused on this. But it’s so disingenuous to say you want to create jobs when you as a member of Congress vote against everything that would create jobs. You voted against the infrastructure bill, and that was bipartisan. You-

Kathy Hochul (17:00):

… Infrastructure Bill. That was bipartisan. You voted against the Inflation Reduction Act that would have brought more money to help protect our environment. I know you’re an election denier, but also a climate change denier. It’s absurd that you live on Long Island, and we’re talking about the 10th anniversary of Superstorm Sandy. That federal money can be used in our state to build up resiliency, so we don’t lose people’s lives again. We have to have smart economic policies. I know how to create jobs. Ask Micron why they came to New York was 50,000 jobs, because we know how to do that, and I’m going to continue focusing on building our economy back.

Susan Arbetter (17:38):

Okay, [inaudible 00:17:38]. Mr. Zeldin?

Lee Zeldin (17:39):

Sure. Obviously what the governor’s not pointing out, is that she’s hitting all the commuters now with a congestion pricing tax. She’s not talking about hitting the farmers with a reduction of the overtime threshold from 60 hours to 40 hours a week. As a member of Congress, I actually helped get the Fast Act passed in 2015, when I first got there. And for all those people in the Long Island Expressway, who were tired of hitting all those potholes, all the damage done to vehicles, it wasn’t until just now, just before an election, that they were spending the money that we got allocated in December 2015. Dragging their feet from one industry to the next, regardless of whether we’re talking about the east end of Long Island, the southern tier, or anywhere else, those farmers in the north country and beyond, Kathy Hochul has been failing every step of the way. But that’s the rest of the story she won’t tell you.

Kathy Hochul (18:29):

Thank you. I will be happy to tell you a response to that. First of all, those infrastructure dollars are supported by votes in Congress. You didn’t even bother to vote to help me fill $86 million worth of potholes. People love the LIE now, it’s just out there. Southern state, people are so happy to see this done, and I’ve got it done because I know how to take care of bringing money to the state and spending it wildly on things that people…

Now, you mentioned the farmers. I think you might have overlooked our information on how we are absorbing the cost of the overtime for our farmers. They don’t have to pay any more. They’re going to be the individuals who work with them paid more. The state has made a commitment because part of our national security and our economic security is to have family-owned farms here in the state of New York. I used to represent the most rural part of our state. I had more farms and cows than communities, and so I understand their needs. And so let’s talk about a real record versus the rhetoric of what you would do when you had a chance to vote your district bank, going against it.

Susan Arbetter (19:30):

We need to move on to another-

Lee Zeldin (19:32):

Very briefly, Susan. Real quick.

Susan Arbetter (19:33):


Lee Zeldin (19:33):

Okay. First off, the tax credits for the farmers, it’s just one year. So the farmers are really upset because they don’t have any long term reliability. The funding projects for the pavement, Long Island Expressway was paid for by the 2015 Fast Act. And right now, you have people here in this state who are looking to Albany for leadership. But when billions of dollars come to the state for a bailout, instead of doing the responsible thing and paying off the principal, the unemployment insurance federal loan, instead what you do is have the Department of Labor send all businesses a notice in the middle of the summer that the beginning of September the burden is going to get kicked to them because Kathy Hochul and her allies in Albany won’t do the right thing in Albany. And then, listen, they’re desperate for leadership and they’re not getting it. January 1st, they’ll have it.

Errol Louis (20:17):

I want to move on. Mr. Zeldin, New York City in particular is seeing record high rents. New Yorkers upstate are getting priced out of starter homes. According to the New York State Unified court system, there have been more than 150,000 eviction filings this year alone. A lot of that, of course, is the result of the pandemic. What is your plan to ensure that families can access stable, affordable housing? And what do you believe the state’s financial commitment toward affordable housing should be?

Lee Zeldin (20:45):

Well, while we need to be building more affordable housing, and there are individuals and companies that want to invest here, but because it takes so long for them to be able to get approvals, the process is so drawn out that they’re looking to other states and they’re sending their money elsewhere. I just spoke to someone who’s moving operations down to North Carolina instead of investing that money right here. We have people at the state level, bureaucrats drawing it out. You can abuse the litigation process to draw this process out.

And honestly, the last conversation that we were just having, the last question about improving the economy, creating more good paying jobs, that’s going to be important for us to be able to have individuals who can afford to have that dream of home ownership. But in Kathy Hochul’s New York, you can either have your first kid here in the basement of mom and dad’s house, or you can move to some other state and buy your own home and carry North Carolina. First time home buyer credits is going to be a very important thing for us to ramp up in this state. Keeping the American dream alive as a New York dream is right now under attack. It gets reversed January 1st.

Kathy Hochul (21:47):

I don’t think I heard an answer in that, but let me talk about what we’ve done already before I respond. 25 billion dollars in the last budget to build 100,000 more units of affordable housing. I go to more ribbon cuttings and groundbreakings, from the Bronx to Brooklyn, to Rochester, to Buffalo, and we’re building this, but in the meantime, we have to continue helping those who were subjected to having a loss of income during the pandemic. They couldn’t make their rent payments. Landlords were hurt. They were hurt. I’m the one who opened up billions of dollars my first week on the job to make sure we could help them be stabilized.

But going forward, I have a plan that’s going to help us with office space conversions in places like New York City. Also, do the more building, but also break down some of the barriers they’re there. There’s a lot of zoning. Transit oriented development makes sense. We’ve seen the success that all over Long Island and in the lower mid Hudson area. And so there’s policies that we can talk about, not just it’s going to be better on January 1. Just wait. Just wait. You have to have real policies behind this.

Susan Arbetter (22:50):

We’re going to move on to abortion. Mrs. Hochul, you say that you support a woman’s right to choose and make her own reproductive choices in regards to abortion and contraception. Is there any restrictions around abortion that you would approve of?

Kathy Hochul (23:05):

What we have in New York State is simply a codification of Roe v. Wade. So what has been out there since the Supreme Court, before the Supreme Court undid 50 years of progress for women, so women like myself and my daughter would have a right. My granddaughter does not have the same right that I had to make a determination in concert with myself or my doctor, if it’s after this six month. So we have the same restrictions and anyone who says otherwise is just incorrect.

But what is so appalling is the sort of general campaign conversion that we’re trying to hear from Lee Zeldin who will say, “Oh no, I really won’t change any. Nothing changed the day after the Dobbs decision.” You know why nothing changed the day after the Dobbs decision? It’s because I’m the governor of the state of New York and he’s not. So we can talk about policies all you want, but let’s look at the record. There is very few people in Congress who have a more pro-life record. Someone who said he’d bring on a pro-life health commissioner. You know how much power that person has over decisions on regulations? They could literally use their power to shut down clinics. So that is a frightening spectacle. Women need to know that that’s on the ballot this November as well.

Susan Arbetter (24:14):

I want to ask Mr. Zeldin. So polls do show that by large majorities, New Yorkers support the right to have an abortion, something that you do not support. You’ve said that you won’t change the state law, but what if a Republican legislature did change the abortion laws? Would you sign a bill into law?

Lee Zeldin (24:32):

Well, first off, there’s not going to be a Republican legislature in January, and there’s a less than 0% chance that Carl Heastie, the Speaker of the Assembly, is going to send me a bill that’s rolling back the law in 2019. Fundamentally disingenuous answer just now from my opponent. First off, you asked this specific question whether or not my opponent supports any restriction at all on abortion. Of course, she doesn’t answer it. That’s not a coincidence. And she didn’t forget.

Now, what I have stated was that the day after the Dobbs decision, the law in New York was exactly the same as it was the day before. It doesn’t matter who the governor was the day of the Dobbs decision because it was already passing the law a few years ago. Here’s the reality. A few years back, New York codified far more than Roe. When we woke up the day after the Dobbs decision, the law in New York was exactly the same as it was the day before, and I’m not going to change that.

And also, as far as appointments for all state agencies, my litmus test is that they’re going to do an exceptional job. I want the best talented person for all agencies. I don’t want the State Liquor Authority extorting people or DC extorting people who are trying to apply for follow ups or they’re not wearing a mask when they’re answering the door at their restaurant. My litmus test for all state agencies is that they’re the best qualified person, period.

Susan Arbetter (25:48):

Mr. Zeldin, you have not committed to maintaining state funding for Planned Parenthood. Why not when for many women in our state Planned Parenthood is a trusted service for healthcare?

Lee Zeldin (25:59):

Well, what I said was that I’d be working with the legislature and I’m sure Carl Heastie will come to the table wanting a funding level for whatever his priorities might be across the board on all sorts of different issues. I’ve heard from New Yorkers who say that they don’t want their tax dollars, for example, funding abortions for people who live 1500 miles away from here. What’s important is the will of the people, and we have to listen to what New Yorkers want. And I’ve actually heard from a number of people who consider themselves to be pro-choice, who are not happy hearing that their tax dollars are being used to fund abortions many, many, many states away. And listen, that’s the priority of my opponent. I get it. But the will of the people that I’ve heard from, they’re not happy about it.

Kathy Hochul (26:45):

Lee, you can’t run from your record, and you’re the only person standing on this stage whose name right now, not years past, but right now is on a bill called Life Begins At Conception. You did that now. So I don’t know how you think that people aren’t going to notice your past record and the fact that your name was on the [inaudible 00:27:05] free in support of Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The day after it happened, you applauded it and said, “What a great victory for life.” That wasn’t that long ago, Lee. People are paying attention. You can’t say, “Oh, it won’t happen under me.” A governor has a lot of power. You even said how on the first day, you’re willing to suspend laws. How do we know you won’t do it then? I don’t trust this. Women don’t trust this.

Errol Louis (27:26):

Okay. Candidates-

Lee Zeldin (27:27):

Can I respond to that?

Errol Louis (27:29):

Real briefly, please.

Lee Zeldin (27:30):

Yeah. Listen, I stated that the first day that I’m in office, I’m going to declare a crime emergency and suspend cashless bail in these other criminal laws because there is a crime emergency. My opponent thinks that right now there’s a polio emergency going on, but there’s not a crime emergency. Different priorities that I’m hearing from people right now. They’re not being represented from this governor who still to this moment, well, we’re halfway through the debate, she still hasn’t talked about locking up anyone committing any crimes.

Errol Louis (27:58):


Kathy Hochul (27:58):

Anyone who commits a crime under our laws, especially with the change we made to bail, has consequences. I don’t know why that’s so important to you. All I know is that we could do more.

Lee Zeldin (28:08):

Well, when I say that-

Kathy Hochul (28:09):

We could do more move. Excuse me, I’m speaking.

Lee Zeldin (28:10):

Sure, go ahead.

Kathy Hochul (28:11):

We could do so much more if there was a nationwide ban, but certainly a state ban, on teenagers be able to get guns, assault weapons. That’s what happened in Buffalo. A teenager walked into a shop and was able to buy an assault weapon. The kind you use on military battlefields. It happened just yesterday in St. Louis. When are we going to start talking about the crimes that are the most frightening? And that’s murders and shootings, which across this country are down about 2%. New York state, because he worked so hard on this since I became governor, they’re down 14%, down 18% on Long Island.

Susan Arbetter (28:44):

Thank you, Mrs Hochul.

Lee Zeldin (28:45):

I don’t know why it’s just so hard to articulate what needs to get done. When you have a district attorney refusing to enforce the law, stand up. When you were asked about the Jose Alba case, I was in front of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office that day. You had a press conference. You were asked, you said it was a local decision. You’re not going to get involved in it. I said, “Alvin Bragg should be removed.” You said, “He just got there. Come some slack. He’s doing his job.” I say that we should overhaul cashless bail. You’re saying that there’s no data to support it. You have to elect me to find out what my position on it-

Susan Arbetter (29:12):

Thank you Mr. Zeldin.

Lee Zeldin (29:13):


Errol Louis (29:14):

Okay. It is time now for the cross examination round. That’s when each candidate will have a chance to ask a question of their arrival. The order was selected at random. We begin with you, Mr. Zeldin.

Lee Zeldin (29:24):

Well, one of the other reasons why my opponent has lost the trust of so many New Yorkers is they see all these stories with regards to the pay to play corruption. Someone hosts a fundraiser for her and then just days later she suspends unilaterally New York’s competitive bidding laws, digital gadgets. That company makes a pitch to provide Covid tests they don’t even make for a contract. That was no bid, that would’ve been worth over $600 million, paying far more, twice the price of what California paid. No record that she went to the company to negotiate a better price for the company that actually manufactured the test. This is just one of many examples. So what New Yorkers want to know-

Errol Louis (30:02):


Lee Zeldin (30:02):

-is what specific measures are you pledging to deal with the pay to play corruption that is plaguing you and your administration?

Kathy Hochul (30:14):

I don’t accept the premise. There is no pay to play corruption. A year ago, just over a year ago, we had a crisis where my responsibility to protect children and get them back in schools when Omicron hit. Remember how terrified we were of Omicron? Schools have been shut down a long time. I told my team, “You go out and find every single test kit you can find.” This was early on. We were hit harder than other states like California that didn’t deal with it until later. I did everything I could in my power to get the test kits. I’m glad I did because we got the children back in school in New York and they didn’t go back in many other places. There has never been a quid pro quo, a policy change or decision made because of a contribution.

Now, what worries me though is the fact that you have one billionaire donor who’s given you over 10 million dollars, one person.

Susan Arbetter (31:06):

Is this your question, Mrs. Hochul?

Kathy Hochul (31:07):

I’m answering his. I already answered his question. There’s no pay to play corruption and the policies are, we don’t do it anyhow, so why would I change? We’re going to make sure we have internal controls. We have them now. They’ve been in place. But I just want to, if you’re going to talk about unseemly circumstances, how does one person get away with giving you 10.5 million dollars in your election? That’s not my question. My question is this.

Lee Zeldin (31:30):

Oh, it’s not your question?

Kathy Hochul (31:30):

If this is my question time-

Susan Arbetter (31:32):


Kathy Hochul (31:32):

I got a real civil one. This is a yes or no. We’ll move right on. Is Donald Trump a great president?

Lee Zeldin (31:38):

I worked closely with him on a-

Kathy Hochul (31:40):

Yes or no. Yes or no.

Lee Zeldin (31:41):

-important policies.

Susan Arbetter (31:42):

He’s allowed to have a minute, like you.

Lee Zeldin (31:44):

And I believe that from our work to combat MS-13 on Long Island, our work to secure a 2 billion electron ion collider for Brookhaven National Lab, and all of the many decades of jobs, not just for the construction, but the research will be humanity-changing research, whether it’s our work to secure the southern border, strengthening the US Israel relationship, moving the embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, getting the Abraham Cords a push, maybe the effort to go after the Iran nuclear deal, which was fatally flawed, and fortunately he stopped it. When it was the pandemic that hit. And I was calling, picking up the phone, and I got PPE here, and we’re getting the approvals for the semi-automated testing, the public lab testing, the private lab testing, bringing the USNS Comfort up to New York.

Susan Arbetter (32:27):

Thank you.

Lee Zeldin (32:28):

Bringing the Javits Center online. All that work is our job.

Susan Arbetter (32:31):

Thank you, Mr. Zeldin.

Kathy Hochul (32:31):

I’ll take that as I would take that as a resounding yes, and the voters of New York do not agree with you.

Susan Arbetter (32:36):

Thank you. It is time now for our lightning round, where each candidate will answer our questions with a real brief yes or no or short response. And we’re going to begin with Kathy Hochul. This is a question we’ve asked in our past debates. Do you want to see Joe Biden run for reelection?

Kathy Hochul (32:53):

Yes, I do. He has delivered for the people of this country in ways that we still don’t know the benefits, the Inflation Reduction Act, the infrastructure dollars that Lee Zeldin voted against. Thank god they showed up here. So yes.

Susan Arbetter (33:05):

Okay. Do you want to see Donald Trump run for president in 2024, Lee Zeldin?

Lee Zeldin (33:10):

Not even thinking about it. I’m focused on 14 days from today, defeating Kathy Hochul in saving New York State.

Errol Louis (33:15):

Mr. Zeldin, should the Cap One charter schools in New York City be lifted?

Susan Arbetter (33:20):

Absolutely. We should lift the cap on charter schools.

Errol Louis (33:22):

Mrs. Hochul?

Kathy Hochul (33:23):


Errol Louis (33:24):

Mrs. Hochul, there is a bill on your desk that puts a moratorium on proof of work cryptocurrency mining in New York, which is the kind of cryptocurrency mining that is energy intensive. Will you sign it?

Kathy Hochul (33:38):

My Department of Energy communicate environment conservation already stopped a company that was utilizing so much power, even more so than the previously shut down business. I’m looking at that bill closely. This has nothing to do with whether or not we embrace the cryptocurrency industry in our city.

Errol Louis (33:58):

This is a specific kind of cryptocurrency, energy intensive.

Kathy Hochul (34:01):

Yeah and we focus on making sure that they’re-

Susan Arbetter (34:00):

… cryptocurrency, energy intense.

Kathy Hochul (34:01):

Yeah. And we’re focusing on making sure that they have green facilities, that they’re not using that kind of utilities.

Susan Arbetter (34:07):

If you were governor, would you sign a cryptocurrency narrow moratorium like this one?

Lee Zeldin (34:13):

No, I wouldn’t, and we shouldn’t be picking winners and losers in business. You see it right now getting played out as far as they’re raising, donating money for my opponent, trying to curry favor. Listen, the reality is on the merit, we should level the playing field. Stop picking winners and losers-

Susan Arbetter (34:29):

Thank you.

Lee Zeldin (34:29):

… based on political connections.

Errol Louis (34:30):

Okay. Mr. Zeldin, with recreational marijuana now legal, does New York have sufficient protections in place to protect the health of young people?

Lee Zeldin (34:39):

Absolutely not. As a matter of fact, when I was coming here from my office, I rode the two train up and I had a lot of members of the media with me, and we were smelling some marijuana along the way. And if you want to come to New York and have your little kids… My daughters are 16, even though they’re 16, they’re in 11th grade, I’d rather not have to walk down the street with a family, exposing my kids to what they can get exposed to right now. And what you see on the other side is, move for more legal injection sites-

Susan Arbetter (35:09):

[inaudible 00:35:10] answer.

Lee Zeldin (35:10):

It’s not the right answer.

Errol Louis (35:11):

Mrs. Hochul.

Kathy Hochul (35:13):

You just made the case that yes, it’s already out there, but why don’t we legalize it, tax it properly? Have distributors who are actually people who have been marginalized and suffered the effects of mass incarceration when marijuana was illegal, and giving them the chance to help build a business and be part of a whole new economy? I’m creating jobs.

Susan Arbetter (35:34):

All right [inaudible 00:35:35].

Kathy Hochul (35:34):

I’m creating jobs in communities that have been overlooked for a long time, and this is a great opportunity [inaudible 00:35:39].

Susan Arbetter (35:38):

One more question. One more question that’s related. Mrs. Hochul, there are two overdose prevention centers operating in New York City where individuals use their drugs safely and where no one has died from a drug overdose. Do you support the operation of these centers?

Kathy Hochul (35:54):

This is something I confer with my commissioner of health on, and she is supportive of this, but I want to see the more data. And there’s always an effect on a neighborhood, you have to be sensitive to where a neighborhood… These are placed in neighborhoods-

Susan Arbetter (36:04):

Thank you.

Kathy Hochul (36:05):

… but I’m laser focused. I lost a nephew to an opioid addiction that started from a prescription he received from a doctor. I have worked for the last eight years as lieutenant governor-

Susan Arbetter (36:15):

Thank you, Mrs. Hochul.

Kathy Hochul (36:15):

… focusing on this issue.

Susan Arbetter (36:17):

And you, Mr. Zeldin?

Lee Zeldin (36:18):

Heck no.

Susan Arbetter (36:20):

Thank you. We’re going to move on now. We’re going to move on to threats to democracy and ethics, and we’re going to start with Mr. Zeldin. You voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election in Arizona and Pennsylvania, and since then, dozens of courts across the country have found that there is virtually no systemic fraud in the 2020 election, and certainly no widespread systemic fraud. If you could do it again, knowing what you know now, would you vote to certify the results of the 2020 election?

Lee Zeldin (36:53):

Well, the vote was on two states, Pennsylvania and Arizona. The issue still remains today. You are going to have more health emergencies and natural disasters. The United States Constitution says that state legislature set the administration of election law, and that was the question I articulated then, it’s the question I’ll articulate now, and it’s about looking forwards, not backwards. Election integrity should always matter. I believe that we should have voter ID in our state. I believe that we should have voter ID in all 50 states. I oppose ballot harvesting.

I believe that we have a principle of one person, one vote, and that is a principle that belongs to a United States citizen. There was a move in New York City to allow non-citizens to vote, hundreds of thousands of non-citizens. I opposed that, I was outspoken of it, a lot of crickets coming from my opponent, and I’m glad that the courts ruled that that was not okay. So what’s important looking forward, is making sure that whether it’s 2022, ’24, 2032, we should always care, whether your candidate comes in first or second, about election integrity.

Susan Arbetter (37:56):

If you lose this election, do you promise to abide by the results?

Lee Zeldin (38:01):

Well, first off, losing is not an option. Secondly, playing along with your hypothetical question, of course.

Susan Arbetter (38:09):

Thank you. Mrs. Hochul, your campaign fundraising practices have come under public scrutiny. You have received considerable donations from those with business before the state. How can the public trust that your decision making isn’t influenced by these contributions?

Kathy Hochul (38:26):

I just have to respond to something I heard. You basically heard Lee Zeldin say he would vote once again to overturn a presidential election. I think that’s something everybody should know. And the fact that he sent text messages to the chief of staff of the White House, to lay out the strategy on how to subvert public opinion and try to carve it into this idea that there’s a big lie out there. I think that’s deeply troubling. I understand the concern you just raised. I have always, for 30 years as an elected official, played by all the rules. There has never been a situation where there is a return from someone giving a campaign contribution to me under the laws that are set up, and in policy. But also I supported campaign finance reform since I was a young staffer for Senator Moynihan, I worked hard to make sure that people have trust in the system.

Susan Arbetter (39:13):

Thank you Mrs. Hochul. I want… Yeah, Lee Zeldin, please respond.

Lee Zeldin (39:17):

Well, it’s no coincidence that you ask a question about crime and my opponent wants to talk about the former president. You ask a question about pay-to-play corruption plaguing her campaign, she wants to talk about the former president, but okay. So if anyone out there wanted to go back and look at the text that was sent to the White House chief of staff, it was at the very beginning of November before the race was even called for Joe Biden. And what my concern was that I expressed, was that you should only be putting out confirmed, verified, actual irregularities. Because the problem was, everything was getting mixed together.

Susan Arbetter (39:52):

Thank you.

Lee Zeldin (39:53):

But that was the very beginning of November before the race was even called.

Susan Arbetter (39:56):

Mrs. Hochul-

Kathy Hochul (39:57):

Can I just say, if you had the ability to be text messaging the White House, I would’ve much rather you text message said, “Hey Mr. President, while you’re heading out the door, can you at least undo the damage you did to New Yorkers when you eliminated the state local tax deduction, which resulted in a high tax rate for our citizens?”

Lee Zeldin (40:12):

Question about pay-to-play corruption-

Kathy Hochul (40:12):

And there’s so many things-

Lee Zeldin (40:13):

She wants to talk-

Kathy Hochul (40:13):

There’s so many things you can-

Lee Zeldin (40:16):

… about Trump’s tax bill.

Kathy Hochul (40:16):

I’m talking about your record.

Susan Arbetter (40:19):

Mrs. Hochul, will you sign legislation that has passed restoring the controller’s oversight powers for all state contracts, including the SUNY Research Foundation?

Kathy Hochul (40:29):

I’m in conversations with the controller as we speak about the levels. Obviously there’s certain parameters that are in place, we think we can negotiate a position that recognizes that inflation is out there so something that may be worth 50,000, 10 or 12 years ago has a different price point. So we are actually having conversations to make sure that people do feel comfortable, that we restore the oversight system. And I believe in this. I mean, I believe in accountability-

Susan Arbetter (40:50):

Thank you.

Kathy Hochul (40:51):

… and transparency, and that’s how I’ll continue to conduct myself as the governor of the State of New York for the next four years.

Susan Arbetter (40:56):

Thank you.

Errol Louis (40:57):

Okay, we are going to move on. Mrs. Hochul, to date, more than 21,400 people seeking asylum have been sent to New York, mostly from Texas and Florida. And while all of New York is a sanctuary state, the bulk of the current crisis is falling here in New York City, which has been seeking help from the state, and currently estimates the cost of housing these new arrivals at more than $1 billion. My question for you is, have you spoken to your fellow governors from Texas and Florida who have sent these migrants to New York, and apparently intend to send more? And if not, why not?

Kathy Hochul (41:31):

I’m talking to the president of the United States about this because I talked to Joe Biden and his chief of staff on multiple occasions, once with Eric Adams in the room, and he understood our frustration that this really is a federal problem. That these people shouldn’t be used as political pawns by these governors, that’s disgraceful, number one. But secondly, why can’t we do the processing and start them on the path to asylum at the border, instead of sending them all over the state where they have no connections?

So we’re working on this. I’ve supported Eric Adams’ efforts on logistics, the Port Authority Gateway, MTA buses. But that billion dollar number, I believe is going to be significantly less because after our conversations, President Biden started making changes so people are more likely to have an incentive to stay in their own country. We’re talking most about Venezuela, those individuals. So we’ve already seen a stemming of the tide of people. I don’t know that that’ll change it, right now it’s in a different direction but we’re there to be of assistance to the mayor.

Errol Louis (42:33):

I mean, not to say it would necessarily be effective, but why not call the governor of Texas and say, “Hey, what are you doing?”

Kathy Hochul (42:33):

If you think it’d be useful, I could call him, but I don’t think that that’s going to change his tune. I know the mayor did outreach. I mean, when someone’s so intent on politicizing an environment, something we’re rather familiar with, with all this conversation all the time about trying to scare people and demagoguery, I don’t feel that I can really get through in a rational way to the Governor of Texas. But if all of you think I should make the call, I will. But where I’m working is with the president, working with President Biden, working with Mayor Adams to help these people.

Errol Louis (42:59):

Okay. Mr. Zeldin.

Lee Zeldin (43:00):

I mean, listen, the fact is that when people were flying into Westchester Airport, Stewart Airport, Montgomery, my opponent, she has nothing to say. People of New York are demanding transparency, they want to know who’s coming, where are they coming from, who they are, where they’re going? But nothing until she found her boogeyman. As soon as the buses start arriving, then she’s making believe like this is the entire problem. Now you want to provide the transparency to New Yorkers because you owe it to them, and then you pick up the phone and you call Joe Biden, you say, “Mr. President, you have to secure this southern border. Finish construction of the border will end catch and release, enforce the Remain in Mexico policy.”

Instead of attacking, support our customs and border patrol agents. Stop incentivizing and rewarding illegal entry to people who are being flown up. Not only are they getting a flight with this Biden travel agency, they get a phone to boot. You have a lot of New Yorkers who are law abiding New Yorkers, they’ve been here a long time, and they’re saying, “Well, what about me? What about me? Why is this governor not providing the transparency that we demand? And why is she not talking about it until she finds her boogeyman? And when picking up the phone and calling the president, why is she not laying out the specific call to action that New Yorkers are begging for?”

Kathy Hochul (44:09):

I have called for federal immigration reform. When I was a staffer for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan back in 87, that’s the last time we had a bipartisan… And you wouldn’t believe the statesmanship, real leaders in the Democratic and Republican side standing up and saying, “We can do more on the borders, but also how we handle the situation going forward.” Since then, Republicans, your colleagues, refuse to come to the table and have a thoughtful position on this. Now, if there’s a new day and people are willing to roll up their sleeves like I’m always used to doing, I work with everybody, but we seem to be able to be incapable of having Republicans work with Democrats on this issue. Until then, there’s going to continue to be a problem.

Errol Louis (44:48):

Mr. Zeldin, if you’re sworn in, in January, what would you do about this migrant crisis?

Lee Zeldin (44:53):

Well, what I just stated, for one. Listen, part of it is calling on the federal government to help because they own it as far as aid. But I’m well aware that whether, even if you had all the Blue State and Red State Governors and Blue City and Red City Mayors, everyone was a hundred percent on the same page and they solved it today, it gets worse tomorrow. Because actually, unlike what was just stated by my opponent, the surge is still continuing. And it’s not just about people coming, it’s also about things like illicit drugs that are coming, the sex trafficking, the labor trafficking. This is about working with the Department of Justice, having the state police…

I grew up in a trooper household. The state police are exceptional. Maybe they should be working with the federal government more to be able to tackle the illicit drugs that are coming in. But we need to stop it at the border, that means the federal government working with the DEA, and some of these international entities that we have. Meanwhile, we get a huge opium settlement sent to the state, a task force is created and instead of my opponent allowing the task force, the subject matter experts, even people who lost their own loved ones to decide how the money’s getting spent, they’re unable to have their meetings-

Susan Arbetter (46:04):

Thank you.

Lee Zeldin (46:05):

… because my opponent wants her own little kitty because she’s running for reelection.

Susan Arbetter (46:09):

Thank you. Mrs. Hochul.

Kathy Hochul (46:11):

I don’t know how to respond to that but let’s talk about the role of policing in all these issues. In January when I realized we had a problem with illegal guns coming through our borders in unprecedented numbers, I convened the first ever in the nation, task force of nine states. So our law enforcement state police are working with NYPD and the police departments from nine states as a result of that effort, knowing that illegal guns are killing our young people in our streets every single day, we have 8,000 guns off the streets. That’s real progress. That’s how you deploy people to stop getting the-

Susan Arbetter (46:44):

Thank you.

Kathy Hochul (46:45):

… guns at the border, getting the drugs at the border when they come into New York State. And that’s how I redeploy the resources-

Susan Arbetter (46:50):

Thank you.

Kathy Hochul (46:51):

… of our state police department.

Susan Arbetter (46:52):

I want to move on to economic development. The state, Mrs. Hochul, will pay $600 million toward the construction of a new $1.4 billion stadium for the Buffalo Bills. Most studies show that stadium subsidies don’t provide economic benefits to justify their costs. What evidence is there that this $600 million will deliver public benefits exceeding the state’s investment?

Kathy Hochul (47:20):

I’m happy to answer this question. You think about the identity of a community, like Broadway is to New York City, the Buffalo Bills are to Western New York. And our legislators, this is one of their top priorities in Albany. Every region has its own priorities, they have their own regional projects. This was important to make sure that the Buffalo Bills stayed in New York State. And they were looking elsewhere so we structured a plan. And if you look at just the salaries of the players, they do very well. The tax proceeds that we’ll receive from just the players alone after 20 years will more than pay for that investment.

But I found an offset to that investment in making sure that the Senecas who owed money to the state of New York that was never collected, and was generated from three casinos in west [inaudible 00:48:02], that that was actually used as an offset, so that helped us with over $450 million of that total cost. When you put the whole picture together, that’s a deal to keep the Buffalo Bills in this state for 30 more years.

Susan Arbetter (48:14):

A couple of follow ups. Wasn’t there a way to keep the Bills in New York state without having to spend more public money than almost any other state, on this project? And as far as I know, the Bills never said that they were going to move anywhere?

Kathy Hochul (48:31):

I think if you checked Buffalo News reports, you’d find a different accounting of that. Those are from their own representatives, they said they were looking elsewhere. I actually heard from people in other states who said they’ve been contacted, so this was real. It’s easy to say now, armchair quarterback afterward, but it was real and I was not going to be the governor… In fact, Governor Pataki said to me, I saw him at an event, he says, “You’re smart. You could not be the governor that lost the Buffalo Bills, the team that plays in New York. We love the Giants and Jets as well.” Let me just answer this.

Susan Arbetter (48:59):


Kathy Hochul (49:01):

You have to understand the Buffalo Bills market, it’s small. It’s not Las Vegas, it’s not Miami. You can’t have the same price of tickets, so you need more assistance, so you can’t really compare. And this is what the analysts have said, for a small market [inaudible 00:49:14] to still being in Buffalo in the first place is quite extraordinary. We’re proud to have them, it’s part of who we are.

Susan Arbetter (49:19):

Thank you.

Kathy Hochul (49:19):

But you have to give incentives to make it worthwhile.

Susan Arbetter (49:21):

Thank you, Mrs. Hochul. Now, Mr. Zeldin, if you become governor, will you renegotiate the Bills’ deal?

Lee Zeldin (49:27):

Oh, we can absolutely have a better deal. The Forbes list just came out, the owner of the Buffalo Bills, the-

Susan Arbetter (49:32):

Even if it means the Bills might leave?

Lee Zeldin (49:33):

They’re not leaving. And listen, Bills Stadium, they need… I was just at a Bills game recently, it’s a great place to watch a game. But giving a multibillion dollar owner of a football team, all of this tax dollars, which isn’t yours as the governor, you’re actually supposed to be a steward of the money. See, the governor has referred to New Yorkers as her apostles, she’s referred to herself as the mother of New York’s 62 counties. I believe that public service is about serving the public, she thinks it’s about the public serving her. Seneca Nation is made up of people who are Bills fans too, and you put the squeeze on them, hundreds of millions of dollars-

Susan Arbetter (50:10):

Thank you.

Lee Zeldin (50:11):

… and it was wrong the way that that happened. As far as the way this process went, it wasn’t that the governor was sitting down with legislative leaders and saying-

Susan Arbetter (50:18):

Thank you, Mr. Zeldin.

Lee Zeldin (50:20):

Oh, it’s not yet red. It’s not like she sat down with the legislative leaders and was saying, “Hey, this is coming, we’re finalizing a deal right now.” No, at the 11th hour of a budget deal, she slams it in. She screws over Seneca Nation and she puts the squeeze on legislators. No vetting, no debate, it was irresponsible on process and substance.

Susan Arbetter (50:40):

Thank you. You can respond, Mrs. Hochul.

Kathy Hochul (50:43):

Lee Zeldin hates job creating projects. This is going to create over 10,000 construction jobs, just like you opposed the federal legislation, the CHIPS Act that would bring jobs from Asia and China back to the United States, and I had an additional incentive to bring them to New York. We won, beating out every other state and including Texas…

Kathy Hochul (51:00):

We won, beating out every other state, including Texas. We now have 50,000 jobs coming through Micron. It’s the largest investment in New York State history, because I know how to get the deal done for our residents. They’re looking for these jobs. The supply chain opportunities from Long Island up to the north country, people are excited.

Susan Arbetter (51:20):

Thank you.

Kathy Hochul (51:20):

I have one more call to make to [inaudible 00:51:22] someone else now wants to follow that. We’re creating an economy. I know how to create jobs. You don’t even get the support.

Susan Arbetter (51:27):

Thank you.

Kathy Hochul (51:28):

One single vote in Washington, you couldn’t even do that.

Susan Arbetter (51:29):

That you, Ms. Hochul.

Lee Zeldin (51:29):

Mind if I respond to that?

Susan Arbetter (51:31):

Mr. Zeldin, other than Hydrofracking, what is your economic development plan for upstate New York?

Lee Zeldin (51:36):

Well, listen, I don’t think that the government should be in charge of setting those parameters. We need to boost upstate manufacturing. We shouldn’t be lowering the overtime threshold. We need to invest in broadband. We need to approve new pipeline applications, and do a better job delivering energy across the entire state. Part of this has to do with, instead of the governor, I have got a problem with job creating projects. I have a problem with corruption creating governors.

When she has these pots of money that she creates for herself so that she can spend her campaign, this rose garden strategy, how’s that working out? Going around every single day, and doing press conferences, handing out your money. Now, I think if you get your money back, as taxpayers, you shouldn’t be, and that’s a very rare thing that happens when you get money back. This governor actually put on the property tax check that it was courtesy of her, as if you owe her a thank you.

What we need to do is bring down taxes across the board, bring spending under control, have pro business people in charge of these state agencies. When Amazon wants to bring 25,000 good paying jobs to Queens, we should be making sure that we’re finding a way to be able to make that happen. But what we shouldn’t do is just put our finger on the scales and then, based off of political connections-

Susan Arbetter (52:43):

Thank you.

Lee Zeldin (52:43):

And relationships, we pick who the winner is and the loser.

Susan Arbetter (52:45):

Thank you.

Kathy Hochul (52:45):

That is so inconsistent. The Amazon deal was funded on the same economic development strategy that Micron is. So, Amazon’s okay? What have you got against 50,000 jobs in upstate New York? I grew up in upstate New York. I knew what it was like when the major industries left town. Those communities were decimated. All my siblings left Buffalo cause they couldn’t get a job years ago.

Now the unemployment rate is down at historic lows, 5%, less than 4% in Buffalo. Things are turning around. Lee Zeldin once said that New York is dying. I don’t think the people of the state want to have the grim reaper as their leader. They want someone who sees a vision, a path forward, who’s lived the experience-

Susan Arbetter (53:25):

Thank you.

Kathy Hochul (53:26):

And struggled, and I’m that governor.

Errol Louis (53:27):

Real brief.

Lee Zeldin (53:29):

The reality is, and I’ve been asking for months, and my opponent still can’t finish this sentence. You can’t expect her to ever fix it. But, New York leads the entire nation in population loss because. She actually got asked this question by the media a few weeks ago when she was at Binghamton Airport. She probably would love to have a redo because she messed it up that time. For me, you ask me why does New York lead the entire nation population loss? Because their wallets, their safety, their freedom, and their quality of their kids’ education are under attack.

They’re hitting their breaking point. They’re looking at other states like the Carolinas, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, and elsewhere. They feel like their money will go further, they’ll feel safer, and they’ll live life freer. The state is at a crossroads. We were at a crossroads in 1994 when New York elected George Pataki, and we’re at a crossroads right now. But as far as what happens with Kathy Hochul, and one-party rule for four more years, outsized power of self-described socialists, we need balance and common sense restored to Albany.

Errol Louis (54:21):

We’re coming down the home stretch with just a few [inaudible 00:54:24].

Kathy Hochul (54:23):

Just like I said. soundbites not sound policy. That’s absurd, Lee.

Errol Louis (54:26):

We’re coming down the home stretch with only a few minutes, I’ll ask you to be very brief with this. I want to ask about a downstate economic question. Mr. Zeldin, in normal times, New York collects more gaming revenue than any other state, about $3.7 billion. Two-thirds of that is generated by scratch offs and other lottery games. But right now, the state is moving toward approving up to three new casino licenses in the New York City area. Of course, in the year since legalizing multiple forms of gambling, we’ve seen upstate casinos underperforming. We’ve seen warnings from the state controller, that the hidden costs of gambling addiction are not being addressed. In light of all you know, should New York alter or pause plans to allow for casino gambling in New York City?

Lee Zeldin (55:08):

Well, the big question is citing. The answer is, possibly. New York is continuing to add casinos around the state. You’re seeing the impacts. For example, you want to talk fairness to Seneca Nation. The local share that gets taken out was based off of outdated times. They’ve now had all new casinos that have come in line. Citing is important. Local control is important. There is a process that is underway, and it shouldn’t be jammed into areas that do not want it. We have to respect the will of the people.

Errol Louis (55:40):

Mrs. Hochul.

Kathy Hochul (55:42):

I’m not sure I heard the answer in there. No, we’re not going to stop the process. This is an opportunity to recharge downstate communities, and there is a citing process. That’s the one part I agree with. It’s underway because I got it moving. We have opportunity to create thousands of jobs. A lot of New York City workers who were in the hospitality field, and worked in entertainment, and places where they still haven’t come back yet because of the pandemic, we can give them jobs working in these places, as well as generating more revenues for our children to be able to get a good education under a plan to cut taxes, which is all you talk about, cut tax. I have to ask, where are you going to get the funding for education, investments in childcare, and paid family leave? So I think you got to have a real solid plan, and not just all this rhetoric we’re hearing.

Susan Arbetter (56:25):

Thank you. We’re going to move on to COVID. Earlier today, President Biden received his updated COVID booster ahead of a possible winter surge. The CDC is urging people to wear masks now in 10 upstate counties where COVID community levels are considered high. Yet, Mrs. Hochul, you have lifted COVID regulations from masking to vaccine requirements. Can you explain why you made that decision, and will you follow the CDCs recommendation to add COVID vaccines to children’s vaccine schedules?

Kathy Hochul (56:57):

One year ago, when I became governor, we were still experiencing the effects of the Delta variant, and it was scary. Children weren’t able to get back to school unless we directed them to make sure that they had the opportunity to wear a mask. A mask was able to get kids back into schools. That is important to me, to keep children in schools. But, at this point now, we have so many vaccines available. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago when they’re in short supply, lines around the block, there was nothing at the pharmacy.

There was a real panic around this. Now, because we have plentiful vaccine supply, everybody should get their booster. I had my booster. I’m getting my flu shot tomorrow. We have this triple threat. We have seen what’s happening in other states, and I’ll be addressing it tomorrow. The respiratory illnesses for children, more COVID cases, as well as the flu. It’s all coming together. That’s when you-

Susan Arbetter (57:45):

So would you mandate a COVID vaccine for children, or no?

Kathy Hochul (57:48):

Not at this time. I’m going to talk about parental control over this. But I’d also say, it’s something that comes down the legislature anyhow. The legislature makes the determination and consultation with health experts for next year’s school year. You’re talking about this year. We’re not talking about mandating a vaccine for children in school at this time. But I’m encouraging it, highly, highly encouraging.

Susan Arbetter (58:07):

Mr. Zeldin, public school students are required to be vaccinated for everything, from chickenpox to measles. But you’ve said you will not require COVID vaccines for students, but the CDC is recommending it. Can you explain your thinking?

Lee Zeldin (58:20):

Sure. Where my opponent just said she will not mandate COVID vaccines at this time, let me be clear to all of the parents who are out there. I will not mandate COVID vaccines for your kids ever. I don’t believe that there should be COVID vaccine mandates right now for our kids at SUNY and CUNY, in community colleges, and elsewhere. Where just over a year ago, a whole bunch of heroes were turning into zeros, tens of thousands of people, because of my opponent’s healthcare worker COVID vaccine [inaudible 00:58:50] put out of a job.

Susan Arbetter (58:50):

What about polio vaccine? Would you-

Lee Zeldin (58:51):

Can I just finish the point? I believe that mandate was wrong, and that everyone who has been fired to be offered their jobs back with back pay. There shouldn’t be any special celebrity COVID vaccine mandates, like what we saw for people who play for the Mets, or the Yankees, or the Nets. If you want to have a special celebrity exemption, how about the NYPD officers? FDNY, teachers, healthcare workers? I do not support COVID vaccine mandates in any way, shape, or form. You want to deal with the healthcare worker shortage upstate in hospitals, having services impacted? Well, then offer the people their jobs back. By the way, do it with back pay.

Susan Arbetter (59:26):

Mr. Zeldin, would you mandate a polio vaccine?

Lee Zeldin (59:31):

Right now, the position of this state is that there’s a polio emergency, and there’s not. I’m not proposing any new changes. Right now, there are vaccine mandates that are out there all across the board, on all different fronts. What I’d specifically say, is that the COVID vaccine mandate is different than the polio vaccine mandate.

The COVID vaccine changed the definition of a vaccine. You could just call it a COVID shot. It’s a form of treatment, but it doesn’t prevent you from getting it. The state hasn’t recognized natural immunity. Why not? It should. We could talk about all these other vaccines. But we’re talking about other vaccines? Actually, when you took it, people were not actually getting polio.

Kathy Hochul (01:00:12):

I’m not sure I understand that one either. But, you’ve been an election denier, a climate change denier. You and Donald Trump were the masterful COVID deniers. We are dealing with a real crisis, and the more people that get vaccinated, get those shots in arms. I would do it all over again, what I did last year, that mandate for healthcare workers. Because no one, after what we went through in this state, and the loss of life, and how people didn’t survive being in a nursing home, I said, our healthcare workers, when you walk into a doctor’s office, a hospital, or nursing home, you shouldn’t contract COVID from the person charged with taking care of you. It was a tough decision. We limited to healthcare workers. But, that is something I believe saved lives.

Lee Zeldin (01:00:53):

Listen, first off, what everyone out there just heard is that she would do it again, so take notes at home. On top of that, talking about what happened in nursing homes? Where was my opponent with the deadly nursing home order and cover-up? Why is it that the numbers are still on the Department of Health website that are outdated? What about the meeting with the COVID families who lost their loved ones, who were promised the long overdue COVID investigation, and never got it? Why didn’t you speak up with regards to the deadly nursing home order and cover-up?

Why aren’t you looking into the transparency and accountability that these families of thousands of deceased New York families have? Why didn’t you stick up for the people weren’t able to see their loved ones in their final hours, and being denied? You had, time after time, after time, opportunities to stand up for these families. But you are silent, or complicit, or out to lunch every time. I don’t know what your excuse is, but these families are demanding justice, and they will not rest until they get it. On day one, I will finish what you refuse to start and end.

Errol Louis (01:01:50):

Did you want to respond really briefly?

Kathy Hochul (01:01:52):

Nursing homes has been investigated by at least three or four different entities, the legislature, different law enforcement entities. I have called for a comprehensive overhaul, and a look at what went right, what went wrong. So I can handle, when I hand off to a future governor many years from now, the blueprint for how you handle this crisis based on this, that is underway. We’re looking forward to doing a deep dive into many areas, decisions on schools being shut down, which I think was a problem. We are suffering the effects of it.

Cutting taxes and reducing money to go to education is going to really hurt the children who need to come back. That’s what’s so tragic about your whole plan, and how you’re going to save New York. Cut taxes. Cut taxes. Tell me what programs you’re willing to cut in order to accomplish that, because someone is going to be hurt. Parents, teachers, money for childcare, there’s so many areas where you can’t just be so irresponsible, and just cut taxes across the board without saying you have a genuine plan for servicing the people of the state at the level they’ve expected.

Errol Louis (01:02:56):

Okay. Candidates, the producer says we can go over, literally just a minute or two, since we’re past our hour.

Lee Zeldin (01:03:03):

I can go another hour, if you want.

Errol Louis (01:03:03):

Oh, me too. I’ll talk about economic development. There are some limits to this. Let me just ask you about gun regulation. Earlier this year, a month after 10 people were murdered at that supermarket in Buffalo, the Supreme Court struck down New York’s concealed carry law, ruling that the number of restrictions on gun owners were so great as to effectively cancel the constitutional right to bear arms. Real simple question, do you agree with the court? What changes to New York law do you think should be made as a result of the ruling? We could start with you Mr. Zeldin. Very brief.

Lee Zeldin (01:03:35):

Yeah, New York did have an unconstitutional concealed carry law. But listen, just a couple of Sundays ago, I had a gang-related drive-by shooting at my own house, while my 16 year old daughters were sitting inside. I don’t know who the shooters were, what the gun was that they used, what their motive was. But I guarantee you, unlike my opponent who put out a tweet a few weeks ago and said that she is calling on American Express, and MasterCard, and Visa to flag every attempted purchase of a firearm as a suspicious purchase. I guarantee, the person who opened up his or her gun on my front yard didn’t start with a swipe of an American Express card.

Instead of going after illegal firearms committed by criminals, and they’re still out on the streets committing additional crimes. What my opponent, who used to be, by the way, when it was politically convenient, an A-rated NRA endorsed member of Congress, she goes after the law abiding New Yorkers. So she went so far the next week to pass a new law that was even more unconstitutional than the last law, infringing on First Amendment rights, to infringe all over Second Amendment rights. So what’s going to happen? Drum roll, it’s going to get overturned by the courts, of course, because it’s unconstitutional.

Errol Louis (01:04:40):

Ms. Hochul.

Lee Zeldin (01:04:41):

I will say this, Lee. I want your daughters to be safe as well. I want every child to be safe in this state. Having a proliferation of guns everywhere, which is the results of this decision, which was on the books for 108 years. What changed in 108 years? Nothing other than the Donald Trump appointees to the United States Supreme Court. The same ones that overturned your right to have an abortion. They took away my right, as Governor, to protect the citizens on our subways, synagogues, or sitting in a classroom, from having a concealed carry weapon.

They’ve opened up the floodgates. But what did I do? I called the legislature back immediately. I said, “We have to address this.” We identified it, and the Supreme Court gave us authority to do this. Identify the sensitive areas where more people congregate, where you really can’t protect them, where you’d have an expectation of being safe. That’s exactly what we did. Are there court challenges? Sure there are.

Susan Arbetter (01:05:37):

Thank you.

Lee Zeldin (01:05:37):

There’s challenges to every single thing that’s dealt with a gun. Even the Safe Act, which you said you’d overturn.

Susan Arbetter (01:05:43):

Thank you.

Lee Zeldin (01:05:43):

Keeping guns out of the hands of mentally ill people is something you would overturn, so people need to know where you really stand on protecting our people.

Errol Louis (01:05:50):

That brings us to the end of our time. That’s going to do it for this debate. I’d like to thank both candidates for joining us tonight. If you missed any part of it, you can watch the debate in its entirety on the Spectrum News App. Be sure to join us this upcoming Sunday, October 30th, for our debate in the Race for US Senate between Chuck Schumer and Joe Pinion. That’s happening at 7:00 PM. We’re also hoping to bring you a debate in the race for State Attorney General.

Susan Arbetter (01:06:13):

Please remember, early voting starts this Saturday, and Election Day is November 8th. On behalf of Spectrum News one in New York, one. Thank you for watching, and have a good night.

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