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New York Governor Kathy Hochul has the opportunity to appoint a Latina as her lieutenant governor. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
New York Governor Kathy Hochul has the opportunity to appoint a Latina as her lieutenant governor. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Latino Victory calls on NY Gov. Kathy Hochul to appoint a Latina lieutenant governor

Following the arrest and resignation of former lieutenant governor Brian Benjamin, there is an open spot in need of filling.

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Top Latino activists are calling on New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to appoint a Hispanic candidate as her second-in-command, following the resignation of Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin, who was hit with federal bribery charges this week.

Luis Miranda, the chairman of the Latino Victory Fund and father of playwright Lin Manuel Miranda, is leading the effort. 

“This is a historic opportunity for the governor to appoint a Latino,” Latino Victory Board Chair Luis Miranda told The Hill.

On Tuesday, April 12, Benjamin resigned after being arrested due to his ties with a corruption investigation about his efforts to obtain a $50,000 grant for a nonprofit controlled by a campaign donor. 

Benjamin pleaded not guilty in Manhattan federal court and vowed to defend his actions, an action that his attorneys called “laudable, not criminal.”

Hochul now has absolute power to appoint Benjamin’s replacement, and a long list of potential candidates has already been created. 

“The Latino community is a powerhouse demographic that contributes tremendously to New York State’s economic, cultural and political landscapes. It is long overdue that New York and our governor seize this opportunity to expand diversity and inclusion at this point in the history of our State,” Miranda told the New York Post

New York, a longtime magnet for migrants across the world, is a focal point of Latino culture, but not yet of political power. And despite Latinos making up about one-fifth of the state’s population, there has yet to be a Latino elected to statewide office. 

“When I go to Chicago and I go to Humboldt Park and I see on Humboldt two Puerto Rican flag sculptures at each end of the avenue, I always ask myself, ‘why haven’t we been able to do that in New York City?’ We’re in New York City — we’re 30% of the population when you put all the Latinos together,” Miranda told The Hill

While Latino Victory has not yet issued an endorsement for a specific candidate, Miranda told the New York Post that city Department of the Aging Commissioner Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez and Northern Manhattan Councilwoman Carmen de la Rosa would be good choices. 

Miranda also said that if Hochul chooses a Hispanic lieutenant governor it would help solidify her own legacy in New York politics. 

“She will be giving the Latino community – and as a result, diversity and equity – victory in the state of New York. And she will be known nationwide as someone who elevated a community that is 20% of the state to the highest level,” Miranda said. 

Former Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito agreed that Democrats should support Diana Reyna and Ana Maria Archila, the two Latinas running for Lieutenant Governor in the Democratic Party, if Hochul doesn’t nominate a Hispanic candidate of her own. 

“Two Latinas are now the only (D)s running for LG in the primary. Looks like we may finally see the representation/visibility that is waaaaaay overdue & that we deserve,” Viverito wrote in a tweet.

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