One of Ms. Hochul’s major priorities for the region involves addressing the racial and economic inequalities that were exacerbated by a stretch of highway that was built through the East Side. Ms. Hochul is spearheading a plan to reconnect neighborhoods that were divided by the Kensington Expressway over 60 years ago, saying last month that there was $1 billion available in federal and state funds for a project to potentially cover the expressway, or part of it.
“She’s from the suburbs, but in no way, shape or form a stranger to that part of the city,” said State Senator Sean Ryan, a Democrat who represents parts of the city’s West Side. “She’s a known commodity in terms of boots on the ground in neighborhood centers.”
The mass shooting came as New York’s gubernatorial primary, scheduled for June 28, looms large.
Ms. Hochul has amassed a gargantuan $20 million war chest and a huge polling advantage, but her campaign has faltered in recent weeks, battered by the arrest of her lieutenant governor, Brian Benjamin, on corruption charges, and criticism of a deal she secured to subsidize the construction of a new football stadium for the Buffalo Bills with taxpayer money.
Mirroring many Democrats nationwide, Ms. Hochul had recently pivoted her attention to the likelihood that the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade, radically redrawing the national landscape for women’s health care. Ms. Hochul has begun speaking more extensively about making New York a refuge for reproductive rights, vowing to enshrine abortion rights into state law and using her executive authority to create a $35 million fund to support abortion providers.
Her campaign released a television ad this week that highlighted her commitment on the issue, even as the shooting’s aftermath overtook most of her public schedule.
And on Monday, Ms. Hochul took the stage with Mr. Biden at a community center, seeking to draw parallels between Buffalo and the president’s hometown, Scranton, Pa. She said both leaders were used to their native cities failing to get the “respect” they deserved.
“I’m a daughter of Buffalo, and I’m so proud to be governor,” she said ahead of the president’s remarks. “But right now I’m a daughter of Buffalo.”