After taking the oath, Hochul assigns new Lieutenant Governor Benjamin to work on immunization, housing

Brian Benjamin was sworn in Thursday morning to become lieutenant governor of New York, and he already has a lot to do.

The former Harlem state senator will work on COVID-19 vaccine awareness, rent relief and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) for the Hochul administration.

The latter issue is very familiar to him, and the governor has asked him to lead a task force that will identify ways to better serve the residents of the authority, many of whom often wait months for service issues to be resolved in their homes.

New York Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin speaks after being sworn in on September 9, 2021 in New York City.

Darren McGee / New York Governor’s Office

New York Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin speaks after being sworn in on September 9, 2021 in New York City.

“I have the most of NYCHA [residents] from any senator in the state, so I know very clearly the problems with the capital requirements of over $ 40 billion that exist and are growing rapidly, ”he said.

Benjamin’s placement maintains the balance between the top and the bottom of the state in administration, and Hochul said his work with the NYCHA and COVID-19 vaccination campaign will help build confidence in the government, l one of his main goals in taking over from Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“I can’t do it alone,” she said. “I need someone by my side. Someone I also rely on for their wisdom and advice and local knowledge of the issues of what is going on in social housing in the city. And how we can do much better for the people who call these sometimes hellish environments their home. “

While much of the Lieutenant Governor’s jurisdiction is based in Gotham, he will still roam the state as Hochul did under Cuomo. He also told reporters that he plans to run for election next year and also support Hochul.

And just as Hochul’s more moderate policy has evolved somewhat over the course of his career – perhaps most notably his now endorsement of New York’s Green Light Law, which allows the state to issue driver’s licenses to immigrants. undocumented – there will likely be a shift in some of Benjamin’s positioning as he becomes a statewide figure.

This was evident in his remarks Thursday on the subject of rent relief. As most of the focus has been on assisting tenants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Benjamin was keen to stress the fact that they are not the only ones affected by this crisis.

“We have small homeowners who literally cash in on life insurance policies, take out second mortgages on their homes because they don’t have the backing,” he said.

Benjamin’s biography indicates that he is the son of unionized workers who grew up from his middle-class roots to become an Ivy League-trained businessman in his hometown. After a short stint as an investment banker, he helped grow a minority business focused on housing development.

However, in an unsuccessful race for the comptroller of New York City earlier this year, the New York Daily News reported that Benjamin was a paid member of the board of directors of a company run by Andrew Neuberger, a financial executive who handled subprime loans for Morgan Stanley in the ramp. -until the Great Recession.

A spokesperson for Benjamin announced he was leaving NextPoint Acquisition Corp. after announcing the addition of Liberty Tax and LoanMe to its portfolio.

Liberty Tax was settled with the federal government two years ago after being investigated for failure to protect against people filing fraudulent tax claims. LoanMe, on the other hand, offers loans with extremely high interest rates.

On Thursday, he was also asked about a report from The City claiming he continued to own shares in LoanMe even after he left NextPoint. The return on his $ 4,100 investment was approaching 20-1, according to Tuesday’s article.

Benjamin did not deny that he owns the shares, but has spoken of keeping predatory lenders out of the state.

“My record speaks for itself on this subject,” he said. “I support making sure we don’t have extremely high interest rates on loans for hard-working Americans.”

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Key words: States, News, Kathy Hochul, New York, Vaccination, Housing

Original author: Steve Bittenbender, The central square

Original location: After taking the oath, Hochul assigns new Lieutenant Governor Benjamin to work on immunization, housing

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