After swearing in, Hochul assigns new Lt. Gov. Benjamin to work on vaccine outreach, housing

Brian Benjamin took the oath of workplace on Thursday morning to develop into New York’s lieutenant governor, and already he’s acquired so much on his plate.

The previous state senator from Harlem will work on COVID-19 vaccine outreach, rental aid and the New York Metropolis Housing Authority (NYCHA) for the Hochul administration.

The latter subject is one very acquainted to him, and the governor has requested him to guide a process drive that can determine methods to raised serve the authority’s residents, a lot of whom typically wait months for service points to be addressed of their houses.

New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin speaks after he was sworn in Sept. 9, 2021 in New York.

Darren McGee / Workplace of the New York Governor

New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin speaks after he was sworn in Sept. 9, 2021 in New York.

“I’ve probably the most NYCHA [residents] of any senator within the state, and so I do know very clearly the problems across the $40 billion-plus of capital wants which might be there and rising shortly,” he stated.

Benjamin’s placement continues the upstate-downstate steadiness within the administration, and Hochul stated his work with the NYCHA and COVID-19 vaccination push will assist construct belief within the authorities, one among her main objectives in taking up for Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“I can’t do it alone,” she stated. “I would like somebody at my facet. Somebody who additionally I depend on for his or her knowledge and their steerage and their native data of problems with what’s happening within the public housing within the metropolis. And the way we will do a lot better for the individuals who name these typically hellacious environments their dwelling.”

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Whereas a lot of the lieutenant governor’s purview will probably be Gotham-based, he’ll nonetheless criss-cross the state a lot as Hochul did underneath Cuomo. He additionally informed reporters he plans to run for the place in subsequent 12 months’s election and help Hochul as properly.

And simply as Hochul’s extra average politics have advanced considerably over the course of her profession – maybe most notably her approval now of New York’s Inexperienced Gentle Legislation, which permits the state to subject driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants – there’ll seemingly be a change in a few of Benjamin’s positioning in addition to he turns into a statewide determine.

That was evident in his remarks Thursday on the subject of hire aid. As many of the focus has been on offering help to renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Benjamin made the purpose to handle the truth that they’re not the one ones affected by this disaster.

“We now have small landlords who’re actually cashing life insurance coverage insurance policies, taking out second mortgages on their houses as a result of they don’t have the help,” he stated.

Benjamin’s biography states he’s the son of union employees who grew from his middle-class roots to develop into an Ivy League-educated businessman in his hometown. After a brief stint as an funding banker, he helped develop a minority enterprise enterprise targeted on housing developments.

Nonetheless, throughout an unsuccessful run for New York Metropolis’s comptroller earlier this 12 months, the New York Every day Information reported Benjamin was a compensated board member of an organization that was led by Andrew Neuberger, a monetary government who managed subprime loans for Morgan Stanley within the ramp-up to the Nice Recession.

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A spokesperson for Benjamin introduced he was stepping down from NextPoint Acquisition Corp. after information broke that it added Liberty Tax and LoanMe to its portfolio.

Liberty Tax settled with the federal authorities two years in the past after being investigated for not defending in opposition to folks submitting fraudulent tax claims. LoanMe, in the meantime, gives loans with extraordinarily high-interest charges.

On Thursday, he was additionally requested about a report from The Metropolis claiming that he continued to personal inventory in LoanMe even after leaving NextPoint. The return on his $4,100 funding was approaching 20-1, based on the Tuesday article.

Benjamin didn’t deny proudly owning the inventory however spoke out about preserving predatory lenders out of the state.

“My report truly speaks for itself on this,” he stated. ‘I help ensuring that we don’t have extraordinarily high-interest charges on loans for hardworking People.”

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