by Adam Roberts
The Governor of New York has enormous sway over the practice of architecture in the state. As the state’s executive, they have major influence over public works, zoning, and the overall business environment. Former Gov. Cuomo used this power to push through a series of major infrastructure projects. Meanwhile, Gov. Hochul has attempted to reshape architecture by advocating for major inclusionary zoning changes in her initial budget proposal.
With New York’s budget finally passed, the press and political insiders will turn their attention to the upcoming gubernatorial race. The Democratic Primary, which generally determines the winner in heavily blue New York, is on June 28. Three major candidates are running for the party’s nomination: Gov. Hochul, NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and Rep. Tom Suozzi. Hochul has positioned herself in the middle, with Williams running to her left and Suozzi to her right.
There are signs, however, that this year’s general election may be more competitive than any in the last twenty years. Recently, Hochul’s handpicked Lt. Gov., Brian Benjamin, was indicted on corruption charges and resigned his post. However, state ballot laws prevent him from being able to remove his name from the ballot, meaning that if Hochul wins the primary, she will be forced to run in November with him or a Democratic Lt. Gov. nominee she did not choose. This, along with the state’s messy budget process, may provide a slim opening for likely Republican nominee Rep. Lee Zeldin. Even before the corruption and budget issues, a poll showed Zeldin catching up to Hochul.
Key architectural issues are likely to be impacted by the outcome of the gubernatorial race. Some of these include Hochul’s inclusionary zoning proposals, Hochul’s Penn Station development plan, the direction of federal infrastructure spending, a statewide fossil fuel ban, enactment of the CLCPA, and state funding to save NYCHA. Candidates have already made these policies focal points of their campaigns, particularly Hochul’s attempt to open the state’s zoning. AIANY will continue to keep its members updated on the state of the race, particularly how it will impact architecture.