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Shelter Island Reporter editorial: Gov. Hochul on the job

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) wasn’t long into her first “State of the State” address when she made it clear that the tenure of former governor Andrew Cuomo was over and done with.

Ms. Hochul proclaimed a “new era” for the state and, in so many words, her own rejection of how New York was managed under Mr. Cuomo.

She said the days of “disregarding the rightful role of the Legislature” were finished, and she decried the “wasting of time in petty rivalries,” a reference to the strained relationship between Cuomo and now former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

She also hit Mr. Cuomo again when she proposed banning earned outside income for some state officials, including the governor — a reference to Mr. Cuomo’s $5 million dollar book deal promoting his response during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. In November, the state’s ethics panel rescinded its earlier approval of the deal.

On the pandemic, the governor acknowledged what no doubt every resident has been dealing with for nearly two years: sheer exhaustion from the continuing struggle to contain the virus in our homes, schools and businesses, and bring the pandemic to an end.

She singled out the State’s healthcare professionals for their dedication and perseverance against the serious difficulties they face to ensure the health of the people they serve. We can see that in the work of Island residents in the profession — shelterislandreporter.timesreview.com/2022/01/17/island-health-care-professionals-still-on-the-front-lines/.

As for those medical workers on the front lines, the governor had a welcome proposal: Increase the health care workforce by 20% over the next five years and invest $10 billion in that sector. She proposed spending $4 billion on wages and bonuses for health care workers and offering financial support for students training in the field.

These are all very welcome ideas the state Legislature should act on.

In her address, Gov. Hochul praised schools for avoiding shutdowns, as we saw in the early days of the pandemic, when buildings were shuttered and offered only remote learning to students. Such closures were very hard on students, teachers and families, and we hope everything will be done to keep classrooms open.

The Shelter Island School District was quick to get kids back in classrooms, and to revamp the building to do everything possible to keep the staff and students safe.

We salute the governor for her agenda to keep all New Yorkers safe.