Governor Hochul: "We're going to continue on this road together, so all New Yorkers know that they have a team representing them, in our state legislature and every corner of the state, who truly, truly cares about them and we're going to have so much work to do, but we're going to do it together."
Lieutenant Governor Delgado: "Whether you're for me or against me. Whether you agree with me, or you don't. I'm here to listen to you, to hear you out, to serve you. To make your lives and your family's lives better. I know people are feeling pain. I know it... We have to right this ship and create more equity and access points to opportunity and care."
Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul delivered remarks at the swearing in ceremony of Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado.
AUDIO of the event is available here.
PHOTOS of the event will be available on the Governor's Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:
Governor Hochul: Good afternoon and thank you all for joining us.
This is a day of mixed emotions - very, very happy to be here, to see the culmination of the process that will lead me to having a new partner in state government. But before I get to that, I also have to recognize that 24 hours ago our hearts were broken again as a nation.
And I addressed this morning, as I convened a meeting of our State Police at our State Police Intelligence Center, as we had gathered people from all across the state to make sure that we're doing everything we humanly can to protect all New Yorkers, but focusing on children in schools, because of what we just witnessed in a small community in Texas.
And I want everyone in the State of New York to know that as Governor, and in partnership with my new Lieutenant Governor, we will leave no stone unturned. And our dogged pursuit of executive actions, directives from us, but also legislation that we believe is necessary to continue protecting the residents we are charged to represent.
I just want to make sure that we never get this sense of feeling immune to the pain, because the pain that we felt from Buffalo, feeling from Texas, that has to be used as a catalyst for change. That cannot be normalized. That cannot be, "Oh, every day our hearts and prayers are with the victims."
And once again, I have to order the flags at half-mast. They've been at half-mast for too long already. So, this is a call to action that we have heard long before, but to others who have not acted, we're going to call them out. And if it's shaming them into action or taking whatever we need to do, whatever steps are necessary to finally get sensible public safety, gun safety legislation across the nation because we are one state, and we will tighten up our laws, and I addressed a number of those today.
But as long as there's other states, nearby Pennsylvania, where they have lax laws and gun shows where people can acquire what ends up being an instrument of mass destruction, we cannot guarantee the safety of the people in our own state. And I will also say I'm sending a message to the Supreme Court of the United States, to the extent that they listened to a Governor of New York: Do not overturn a sensible public safety law that we want for our residents. Do not overturn our right to protect people by then requiring us to accept concealed carry. Supreme Court, please do not do that to the people of our state.
So, that is the issue that is top of mind for all of us, as parents, as human beings. It's real, it's painful. But we are motivated, emboldened, empowered now to continue acting and I look forward to a resolution that we'll be announcing shortly with the State Legislature on what we're going to do literally in a matter of days.
But now I have a partner once again, in this journey. Someone that as I thought about who I wanted at my side in a role that I know could be deeply challenging.
I've done this a long time. I know every corner of the state and as Lieutenant Governor, now Lieutenant Governor knows, having represented 11 counties, there are so many exquisite parts of our state that need to feel they matter. And that is why I wanted a partner who understood the entirety of the state.
That it is not simply the focus of attention in one part of it. It is an entire state that deserves to be felt like they matter and showing up whether you're the Lieutenant Governor or the Governor showing up proves that you're a community that matters, you have worth, you are worth fighting for. And that is something I know that Antonio Delgado knows in his bones.
We've shared our views of what it means to be a public public servant. And it means being a good listener, but not just listening to people's concerns passively, but translating those concerns into real action. That's when public service manifests itself and achieves its full potential. That's what drew both of us to this calling.
He has an extraordinary background and I thank the greatest influences on his younger life, his mother, Thelma and father, William, because you must've been doing something right. You must have been doing something right. And I honor you for that, because sometimes when children go astray, they blame the parents. So my position is as a parent, the parents get the credit when the kids turn out great. So to Thelma and William, I want to give you a round of applause for raising this incredible individual and to all his family members.
Lacey Schwartz Delgado, I cannot tell you how many people I've spoken to in the last few weeks, who will say, yeah, he's a good guy, but you have to know his wife. She is extraordinary. So Lacey, I look forward to deepening our friendship, between my husband, Bill and the two of you because we have so much in common.
But I know that you are an amazing equal partner in the journey of assisting in the world of your husband's profession, but you have also made many contributions on your own, and I honor that. And I thank you for also managing two wonderful young men, at a time when, I remember those years dearly. And they're wonderful kids, and I want to thank you for being such an amazing individual. And we are going to do great things together as well. So to the mother of Maxwell and Coltrane.
But this moment now belongs to you and your family. And I want to let you know, we have many roads to travel. And like me, you'll know every single pothole personally, before too long as you travel. But we also know that public service is truly the highest calling. There's certainly sacrifices, and time away from family is one of the greatest.
But at the end of the day, the end of all of our days, when we look back on our lives and say, "Did my life make a difference? Did I make life better for other people? Did I make their roads just a little less bumpy?" And if you can answer yes to that, I would say that is a life well lived. Antonio Delgado is living that life.
And we're going to continue on this road together, so all New Yorkers know that they have a team representing them, in our state legislature and every corner of the state, who truly, truly cares about them and we're going to have so much work to do, but we're going to do it together. So with that, I want to acknowledge the process that's going to go on here, the swearing in, so I will step aside and welcome up everyone who's involved. The judge, Judge Kevin Bryant, New York State Supreme Court from the Third Judicial District. The family.
Lieutenant Governor Delgado: Well ok, let me gather myself. Thank you. Thank you, Lacey. Thank you. You are everything, and you matter in so many ways that go unseen in this political world that we have faithfully tied ourselves to. But our vision, our vision remains clear, and I will figure it out. We will figure it out. We will figure out a way to see it through and to let it be seen. I love you, forever and ever, amen. And that also goes for our little guys, Maxwell and Coltrane, who you all got to know. They inspire me to no end and ground me in ways only the two of them can.
To Governor Hochul, thank you for your confidence in me and for giving me this opportunity to lead and be a voice at such a critical time for our state and our country. Together in partnership, I know we'll be able to steer the course true for the Empire State that we both love.
To Judge Bryant, thank you for swearing me in this morning. It means a lot to have you here, given that our bond initiated in NY-19. And to everyone in this room who has been at the foundation of who I am, you've anchored me in love and through love have made all things possible, even the seemingly impossible.
From my parents, my brothers, my sister, my aunts and uncles, my niece, my teachers, my church family, my basketball coach, cousins, my NY-19 family, our friends, all of you, every last one of you. Thank you. I'm here in this exact moment because of every single one of you.
We are grieving today. We're grieving a great loss, the loss of innocence, the loss of children - little boys and little girls with sweet smiles, silly laughs, playful minds and joyful hearts. We saw that. Their whole lives were in front of them. As a parent of two eight year olds, I can't imagine, I cant.
Lacey said that we went to school earlier this morning for a concert, and you look up there at those children and you see their love. You see how full of life and how precious they are and their bundles of love. And what is being done to protect them? What? At the national level, as a country, as a country - absolutely nothing.
The deadliest school shooting since the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook. For over 60 years, the leading cause of death for kids and teens was car accidents. Since 2000, the leading cause is guns. Weapons, weapons of war in our communities and in our schools. Too many parents like me and like Lacey are left to worry if their kids will come bounding down the school bus stairs or running out of the school room lobby at the end of each day. Year after year after year it gets worse, but the response as a country does not change.
Church, synagogue, a high school, elementary school, a grocery store, a concert, a festival - it doesn't matter. Time and time again, efforts to change gun policies at the national level have repeatedly failed. The most common-sense proposals, universal background checks for all firearm sales can't get done even when 80% of this entire country supports it. The gun lobby and gun manufacturers specifically have a stranglehold on our democracy.
Simply put, there are politicians out there who are bought and paid for by the NRA. We know stronger gun laws can work because they have. The assault weapon ban from '94 to 2004, which included a ban on large-capacity magazines, significantly reduced public mass shootings - the number of gun deaths and the number of gun injuries then the gun lobbies succeeded.
The law lapsed and the body count started to rise again. This wasn't inevitable. It does not have to be this way. People are dying every day. Kids are killing each other every day. Neighborhoods are flooded with illegal guns and ghost guns, tormenting families and law-abiding citizens every day.
It must stop. We need to act for our children. We must act, and we must act now. And we must act as my hero, Dr. King, once preached with a strong and demanding love. That force for which all of the great religions have seen as a supreme unifying principle of life. We cannot be overcome by evil. We can not let hate win. We must refuse the paralysis of fear and the apathy born of coping with anger. We must keep on pushing.
No matter the obstacles, we must move with a purpose. Growing up in Schenectady, that's how I was raised - to move with a purpose. My parents worked for GE when GE was really anchoring communities in upstate and enabling working-class families to reach up into the middle-class. They instilled in me a real work ethic, tied to a set of values anchored in faith, family, community, and education. Education was talked about nonstop. The great equalizer, the gateway to opportunity.
And my parents made sure to stay on top of me every day when it came to doing my homework. They knew it would be my ticket to success and they talked about that, but they also made sure to ground me in faith. I grew up in the church and I was there every Sunday, whether I liked it or not, I was there. For me, the work that I do as a public servant is not about left and right politics.
It's about right versus wrong. It's about being true to who I am. It's about actually caring about people that was and is our purpose. My path to politics was not meticulously plotted out. I was fortunate enough to earn a road scholarship while at Colgate and then received my law degree from Harvard where the best thing that ever happened in my life happened there.
I met Lacey who grew up just an hour away from me in Ulster. Much to my parents' surprise, I pursued a career as a hip-hop artist after law school. I heard some chuckles out there. I follow my heart like I'm doing now. I spent five years doing mobile music. I was broke. I was sleeping on air mattresses. I had odd jobs, but I was speaking truth to power through my music.
I then came back home to New York to start our family and became a litigator at a white-shoe law firm in Midtown, Manhattan. Two very, very different environments. Two very different careers. But it's that diversity of experience that led me to want to serve in a time where desperately we need people who know how to bridge divides.
People who know how to see beyond surface-level differences. We have enough politicians. We really do. What we need are more public servants. There are far too many so-called leaders making this all about a game. Not in it for the right reasons. And we cannot afford that anymore. Too many lives, lives literally lives, are on the line.
Our children's lives are on the line. The legitimacy of our very democracy and the very fabric of our nation is on the line. When Lacey and I decided back in 2018 to jump into the political arena together, we had no idea what we were getting into, but we didn't know that sitting on the sidelines wasn't going to get anything done.
We both knew that this was a moment that needed people to step up and into public service. We needed to take our truth, speak our truth and lead from that truth. The district I've represented in Congress is bigger than Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. Nearly 8,000 square miles. It's a district that is 90% White.
I was the first person elected in Upstate into politics. That's the work. And as the Governor talked about, it starts with listening. You have to meet people where they are. You have to. It's a must. And work hard, and find common ground, and be effective. That's my commitment to New Yorkers. Whether you're for me or against me. Whether you agree with me, or you don't. I'm here to listen to you, to hear you out, to serve you. To make your lives and your family's lives better. I know people are feeling pain. I know it. The middle-class is being hollowed out, the fastest growing class are the working poor, living paycheck to paycheck. Half the country couldn't survive a $500 medical emergency bill without going into debt. Childcare costs skyrocketing, healthcare costs skyrocketing, student loan debts on the rise. We have to right this ship and create more equity and access points to opportunity and care.
I also know people are scared. They're scared for their children, and the persistent threat of gun violence, and rising crime, and climate change. They're worried about an assault on truth, on facts, on our freedoms, on our rights. Whether it's the right to vote, the right to choose. Our freedoms are under assault. We need leaders who don't make it their business to fan the flames of hate, and peddle conspiracy theories.
We need leaders who are committed to doing the important work of elevating our collective consciousness so that we may see ourselves in each other, and realize that we are actually all one. People are feeling detached. Detached from their government, from their community, from one another. There is substance abuse and mental health crises. People are feeling more and more isolated, prone to the perils of social media platforms that shred all genuine forms of human interaction.
More and more people have less and less access to their own government. As money continues to overwhelm our political system and squeeze the vast majority of Americans out. It's putting a profound strain on our democracy. We must take this problem head on and we can. It just takes work. And it takes love. Love of democracy, love of country, love of neighbor, and love of New York. New York has long been at the forefront of progress in this country. A woman's right to vote, right to choose, gay marriage, gun reform, labor movement, environmental movement, all ahead of the national curve. New York has always been a leader in a time of trouble, always a beacon of hope and light in times of peril and darkness.
This is who New York is. We love New York because New York loves people. All people. It is the epicenter of multiculturalism, of what it means to be multi-religious and multiethnic, it is the epicenter of tolerance and acceptance. Of progress of our collective effort to perfect our union. In New York, every community counts. We are the Empire State and we will live up to our ideals. I am incredibly humbled, beyond words, and truly grateful to be a partner. With you, Governor Hochul, and with every New Yorker on this journey, I love you. And God bless.