Crime will remain Governor Kathy Hochul’s “number one priority” as the new year approaches, as the newly elected governor shows no indication she will change her approach to the thorny political issue that has been a sore point of the deadly campaign season.
“I don’t need to change my stance on crime at all,” Hochul told reporters Tuesday after visiting a food bank outside Albany.
Hochul was elected to a full term earlier this month after a campaign season in which Republican opponent Lee Zeldin and his allies launched vocal attacks on the issue of public safety, linking concerns to changes recently approved Criminal Justice Act by the state.
Supporters of further reforms to the system, including changes to the sentencing law and the closing of many criminal records, are also stepping up their efforts ahead of the next January legislative session.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams, meanwhile, has pushed for broader changes to New York law that have largely ended cash bail for criminal charges.
This is an indication that the push and pull of public safety and how to treat people fairly in the criminal justice system will continue into 2023, and Hochul will be in the middle of it in Albany.
Last year, the governor won amendments to the bail law that added charges when bail would be required, including those involving a firearm. Some Democratic lawmakers have suggested other changes are needed, such as adding domestic violence-related charges.
Hochul did not say whether she would like to address the contentious bail issue again in the new year.
She also highlighted efforts to expand the ranks of state police, increase police presence in New York’s subways, and address the prevalence of illegal firearms pouring in from out of state. .
“We have been focused on crime; public safety has been and will continue to be my number one priority,” she said. “This focus is not new, but it has been consistent.”