BUFFALO, N.Y. — Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin toured the Northland Workforce Training Center on Buffalo's east side Friday, joined by state Sen. Tim Kennedy and Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples Stokes.
Benjamin said he was impressed by the center, which focuses on teaching trades to young people from underserved communities.
"We are going to talk very importantly about what are some of the key things that are happening here that we want to apply in other parts of the state," he said.
Benjamin has been on the job for roughly three weeks. He plans to run on a ticket with Gov. Kathy Hochul next year and said he wants their work to speak for itself.
"We have to make sure that the people of New York get what they need and the rest will take care of itself," Benjamin said.
This week, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said he is considering challenging Hochul. Benjamin said Williams is doing a good job in his current role and he should stay there.
"Whatever he wants to do or whatever anyone else wants to do, that's not our focus. Our focus is on making sure that New York state is growing," he said.
Another potential challenger to Hochul, Attorney General Tish James, has dodged questions about her future plans but did criticize the former governor this week for not holding himself accountable for his actions. Benjamin said he and the governor are looking forward, not back.
"To get involved in that conversation is not something we want to focus on. We want to focus on the people of New York who need government to work. They need us to get COVID under control. We have to focus on the main topics and we'll leave it to the former governor and the attorney general to have that conversation, but Gov. Hochul and myself, let's get this state moving," he said.
On the COVID-19 pandemic, he said the administration is focused on getting people vaccinated and stands by the requirement for healthcare workers that went into effect this week.
"Quite frankly, mandates work and we need everyone to get vaccinated," Benjamin said. "We are doing the best we can."