Jacobs steps up for the governor
With New York City public advocate Jumaane Williams making moves toward a gubernatorial run, state Democratic Party chair Jay Jacobs is issuing something of a shot across the bow to other hopefuls looking to take on Gov. Kathy Hochul.
In an interview with The Point, Jacobs said that what he’s "advising people right now" is that "we have a new governor, and it's incumbent upon all of us who want the Democratic Party to succeed to give that new governor an opportunity to make her mark."
If someone feels they would do better or govern differently, "then certainly they have every right to make that case" in a primary, Jacobs said. That could be true for Williams, he suggested.
"Where he might distinguish himself is that he is running from the far left. And there he could make the case that Kathy Hochul, who is a moderate progressive, isn’t as progressive as he would like," Jacobs said. "But I'm saying to everybody who is fairly close to the incumbent governor in terms of their philosophy: Hold your powder. Now is not the time."
Asked if that meant the Tom Suozzis and Steve Bellones of the world, Jacobs responded, "That’s right." He also extended his message of caution to potentially "formidable" candidate Attorney General Tish James.
"I’m saying to all of these people: Hold your powder, let’s see where things shake out."
He says he’s also "calling people who are major donors to ask them where they stand, what they think, what they would like."
It’s not entirely surprising that Jacobs would be playing a little defense for the current governor. He more or less serves at her pleasure.
"Historically and traditionally, the state party tends to support incumbents," Jacobs said, noting that it’s also his role to ensure a fair convention process for any would-be challengers.
But he warns against a too-damaging nomination contest that helps the GOP.
"While I am not coming out publicly in favor of any candidate at the moment," he said, "I will in the future."
— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
Vax protests get personal for Dowling
Northwell Health chief executive Michael Dowling is accustomed to seeing a few demonstrators outside his hospitals from time to time.
But he wasn’t prepared for the scene that greeted him Sunday, when he attended an event sponsored by the Huntington Hibernians that marked the halfway point to St. Patrick's Day, and celebrated Dowling as the 2022 parade's grand marshal.
Dowling was met with hundreds of protesters, blocking the entrance to the American Legion hall where the event was held, screaming and waving photos of Dowling with horns coming out of his head.
"My body, my choice!" they yelled, objecting to the coming state vaccine mandate for health care workers, which takes effect this week.
After requesting a police presence to help him get home, Dowling discovered protesters there, too.
Now, he has 24/7 security outside his Northport home. And an even larger crowd of demonstrators is expected there this weekend. Anti-vax advocates have gone as far as posting his home address to Facebook in announcing plans for a "freedom protest."
"I've been around a long time and I've seen this before, but not as direct as this," Dowling said, noting that he's never had to have security at his home before, even after nearly two decades as Northwell's CEO.
— Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall
Keeping up with COVID rules
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A gig for Kings
Former Rep. Pete King has kept busy with a number of gigs since leaving office in January, including Northwell Health consultant, WABC "roving co-host and commentator," Newsmax contributor and columnist for The Hill.
Now add another: special counsel for Eckert Seamans in the firm’s government affairs practice.
King told The Point that his route to the legal outfit was prompted by both his daughter, Erin King Sweeney — who had previously been associated with Eckert Seamans and is now rejoining them — and his former colleague Bill Delahunt, Democrat of Massachusetts.
King said he was "friends" with Delahunt and enjoyed his stories from his years in a district attorney office and Massachusetts Democratic politics, which was "like a world unto itself."
King and Delahunt are the government affairs unit’s only former members of Congress, and Eckert Seamans CEO Timothy Q. Hudak said in a statement that King would be "bringing added firepower to help our clients solve their legislative, administrative, and regulatory challenges."
"As of now I don’t intend to lobby," King says, pointing to the one-year "cooling-off period" for former House members.
King says he plans "mainly just to consult and give advice."
— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano