Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks at the dedication of the...

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks at the dedication of the new Long Island Welcome Center on the eastbound Long Island Expressway in 2016.  Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Daily Point

Buffalo checks

Two weeks before Attorney General Tish James emerged with the report on sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul was sitting in the Broadway Diner in Hicksville, having breakfast with State Sen. Todd Kaminsky.

Neither could have known that the governor was less than a month away from announcing his resignation. But Hochul initiated the meeting, Kaminsky said, to talk about Long Island issues, from the Long Island Rail Road to roads.

"She’s really a Long Islander, just from western New York," Kaminsky told The Point. "She’s moderate, she’s from a suburb and she’s been spending a lot of time here because she understands the importance of the region. I think she will give us the attention, the time and the resources we need to grow and move forward."

Hochul is a former member of the Hamburg town board just outside of Buffalo and former Erie County clerk. But her familiarity with Long Island dates back to her brief stint in Congress, when she worked closely with former Rep. Pete King on the Homeland Security committee. She is, King said, "totally different" from Cuomo and someone who may now be considered "a stabilizing force" in Albany.

Hochul’s interest in the Island took on even more significance when she became Cuomo’s lieutenant governor seven years ago. Shortly after she was elected to the #2 job in 2014, then-Long Island Association president Kevin Law brought her to the Island for a day of visiting businesses and vineyards, and meeting with key players. Since then, in her role as official chair of the Regional Economic Development Council, she’s been to the Island frequently, participating in key development announcements and other events.

"She really does know Long Island better than most Long Islanders do," Law said.

The REDC experience, in particular, has made Hochul the "face" of the governor’s office when it came to economic development and downtown revitalization, according to Kyle Strober, of the Association for a Better Long Island. Most recently, she presided over an announcement about Baldwin’s downtown revitalization projects, held at the Baldwin train station in May.

"She’s not starting from scratch," Long Island Builders Institute chief executive Mitch Pally told The Point. "That’s going to be very important for the people on Long Island, as they have somebody there who understands their needs."

Hochul also seems to know and understand the advocates and other voices key to Long Island’s economic future, even asking for a meeting with new Long Island Association president Matthew Cohen shortly after his promotion earlier this year. They spent an hour in Cohen’s office, as Hochul asked Cohen to outline his priorities, from housing to small business.

"She wanted to discuss my vision and what we could do to partner together to achieve that vision," Cohen recalled. "I think she’s kind, she’s personable, she’s straightforward, she works hard and she cares."

All of the support coming from the region made Rep. Lee Zeldin’s comments about Hochul Tuesday seem particularly tone deaf, though they clearly were made with the politics of 2022 in mind.

"Unfortunately, for New Yorkers, we’re left with Cuomo’s Lieutenant who empowered this disgusting behavior while Andrew Cuomo cultivated this toxic culture, leaving a trail of victims in its wake," said Zeldin, who is running for governor. "Kathy Hochul has been silent scandal after scandal…"

Zeldin called for ridding the state of the "Cuomo-Hochul administration and its disgraceful legacy."

But on Long Island, it seems Hochul already may be building her own legacy — one that no one else is calling disgraceful.

— Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Talking Point

Departure date

If Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s resignation does indeed take effect in 14 days, as he said it would in Tuesday’s speech, it would take its place alongside a raft of era-ending and sometimes downright cataclysmic events that have occurred through the years on Aug. 24.

That’s the day in 2011 that cancer-stricken Steve Jobs resigned from Apple (he died less than two months later), the day in 2006 that Pluto was demoted as a planet, and the day in 1989 that Pete Rose was banned from baseball for life for gambling.

On Aug. 24, 1814, British troops captured Washington, D.C., and burned down the White House, the Capitol and other public buildings in the War of 1812. In 410, Alaric I led the Visigoths into Rome and sacked it, which is seen as the fall of the Western Roman Empire. For centuries, Aug. 24 was also believed to be the day Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D., destroying Pompeii.

Long Islanders will remember Aug. 24, 1995, as the day that Sunrise Fire began in Westhampton, filling the sky with dark smoke and eventually burning as much as 7,000 acres of pine barrens.

But perhaps the eeriest historical connection is Aug. 24, 1992, when a Category 5 storm packing winds of more than 150 mph hit South Florida, killing 44 people and causing $25 billion in damages. The storm ... Hurricane Andrew.

— Michael Dobie @mwdobie

Pencil Point

Infectious fun

Credit: PoliticalCartoons.com/Dave Granlund

For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/nationalcartoons

Puzzle Point

In the news (the answers edition)

Here are the answers to Monday’s news quiz. Reading the first letters of each answer in order yields SIMONE BILES, the answer to the clue: the name of an American athlete who also has been in the news lately, though perhaps not in a way that was expected.

SHARKS — Several of these have been sighted near South Shore beaches recently, forcing temporary closures to swimming.

INFRASTRUCTURE — After years of ridicule about whether one week or another would finally be the week to get this done, Democratic and Republican senators made a $1.2 trillion deal on this that is now moving through the Senate.

MULLET — Much-maligned hairstyle of the 1980s and early '90s (think Billy Ray Cyrus, John Stamos and Randy Johnson) that is making a comeback on Long Island and elsewhere.

OREGON — The massive Bootleg Fire in this Western state has burned more than 410,000 acres and might not be contained until October, firefighters said last week.

NCAA — The college sports organization that contributes to gender inequity by prioritizing its men’s basketball tournament over its tourney for women, according to a report last week by investigators hired by the organization itself.

EVICTION — Millions of Americans avoided this last week when the CDC extended an expiring federal moratorium dealing with tenants and the back rent they owed.

BASS — The instrument played by ZZ Top member Dusty Hill, who died recently.

IRAN — Middle East nation that last week swore in a new hard-line president expected to take a defiant stance toward the U.S.

LEVY — Former Suffolk County Executive Steve who has been in court fighting to keep sealed an agreement with former District Attorney Tom Spota.

EUROPE — The continent that has passed the United States in COVID-19 vaccinations.

SOUTHAMPTON — East End village whose police chief is about to retire with a $774,000 payout for unused sick and vacation time.

— Michael Dobie @mwdobie

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