New York Capital Brief:

U.S. Rep Tom Suozzi Joins the Race for Governor

On Monday, U.S. Rep Tom Suozzi, a Long Island and Queens Democrat, has officially announced his run for Governor.  Suozzi joins the crowded Democratic primary race as a self proclaimed centrist, hoping to attract the moderate Democrat vote.
Governor Hochul, who is the current frontrunner, continues to compete with AG Letitia James and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams for key endorsements from the Democratic party and other allied industries.


Omicron Variant Detected in NYC

During a press conference on Thursday, Governor Hochul urged calmness and signaled for a measured State response after a case of the omicron coronavirus variant was detected in a Minnesota resident who recently traveled to New York City.

The Governor cautioned against rash responses and ensured that school closures and business shutdowns, characteristic of early 2021, are not necessary at this time. Instead, she continues to encourage the public to get booster vaccines, wear masks indoors, and continue to socially distance to mitigate further spread.

“I’m not prepared to shut down schools or the economy at this time,” the governor said. “That is not a necessary response. That would be considered an overreaction.”

Governor Hochul has pledged to take steps that are necessary to reduce the recent rise in COVID cases as well as prevent the spread of the omicron variant, but promised that they would not be precipitous.


Bassett Takes Over as NYS Health Commissioner

This Thursday marked Dr. Mary Bassett’s first day as the State’s Commissioner of Health.  Bassett, a former NYC Health Commissioner, has replaced Dr. Howard Zucker, who stepped down from his position after receiving significant criticism for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and working relationship with former Governor Cuomo.

In a joint announcement with Governor Hochul on Thursday, Bassett addressed New Yorkers and pledged her dedication to transparency and her intent to foster healthy, strong relationships with local health departments as part of her coronavirus response strategy.