Local officials react to Gov. Hochul’s State of the State

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) — After Governor Kathy Hochul concluded her State of the State address, local officials were quick to both applaud and condemn certain aspects of her proposals.

Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I – Big Flats) said the entire address was “vague”. Sen. O’Mara criticized the Governor’s goal of increasing the healthcare workforce.

“Frankly, I thought this was one of the weakest ones I’ve ever present at,” said Sen. O’Mara. “To grow the healthcare workforce by 20% in five years, I think is probably unrealistic. I think we should start by allowing all of the healthcare workers, that she drove out of the job with the vaccine mandate, to go back to work and help relieve some of that pressure that was self created.”

Senator O’Mara also criticized Governor Hochul’s take on law enforcement and bail reform.

“She seems to be going down the same path of coddling criminals, no mention of bail reform,” said Sen. O’Mara. “In New York State, based on what the Democratic legislature did over the past three years, creating all kinds of discord and problems in our criminal justice system. You know, rehabilitating inmates in prison is great. I’m all for that. There’s a better chance when they get out. But, part of our criminal justice system is punishment, as well as rehabilitation. Punishment is what’s lacking in criminal justice in New York state right now and there’s no disincentive to not go into crime. At this point, it’s just slap on the wrist.”

Governor Hochul also said she wants to “double down” on practical proven law enforcement strategies to combat gun violence. Chemung County Executive, Chris Moss, had mixed emotions towards her proposals.

“I mean look any illegal gun we can get off the street is great,” said Moss. “What I don’t want to see is her starting to enact rules and laws that hurt law abiding citizens. Normally, what it does is make it tougher for a person who pays their taxes, and goes to work every day, to get a pistol permit.”

However, criticism of Gov. Hochul’s speech was also joined by approval on other topics. The idea of limiting statewide elected officials to a two-term limit was embraced by Moss. Gov. Hochul said officials need to “pass the baton” to new leaders in order to have difference and fresh ideas and perspectives.

“I think it is a great idea,” said Moss. “I wish she would have extended it to the legislature, as well the Assembly, and the Senate.”

Jack Wheeler, Steuben County Manager, commented on Hochul’s push for better workforce development.

“Anything that can make it more streamlined to allow our workforce boards to connect with businesses,” said Wheeler. “To get them the training subsidized, that they need to either upskill their staff or train new people coming in is going to be crucial. So, I was personally very glad to hear that in the Governor’s remarks today.”

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