During an appearance on “Inside City Hall” Thursday evening, Attorney General and candidate for governor Letitia James called for a statewide mask mandate to prevent the spread of COVID, something Gov. Kathy Hochul has been reluctant to do. 

“We can do better in the state of New York. We should issue a mask mandate. We should roll out census workers to go door to door. Individuals who are living in public transportation deserts, we should have mobile vans,” James told NY1 political anchor Errol Louis.

James was also asked about her bombshell sexual harassment report this summer, which led to the resignation of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Critics say the report looks politically motivated, since James is now herself running for governor. 

What You Need To Know

  • In her bid for governor of the state of New York, Letitia James calls for a statewide mask mandate

  • James received the endorsement of Westchester County Executive George Latimer

  • Westchester will be a key well of Democratic voters in the statewide primary next June
  • James declined to say whether Latimer will be her running mate

“So the report, again, was done by two independent attorneys outside of my office,” James said. “The report was validated and corroborated by the New York State Assembly. And we’ve released the transcripts, we released the evidence most recently because the former governor himself said release the transcripts. And we did.”

Earlier in the day, at her first major campaign event since announcing that she was running for governor last month, James said New Yorkers are ready for a change in leadership. 

“And that is why I am running for governor. I am running for governor because I believe in change, because the status quo will not do,” James said.

James was endorsed by Westchester County Executive George Latimer, and a dozen local legislators.

With Tom Suozzi now in the race and drawing support from his backyard on Long Island, winning the suburban county of Westchester could prove critical in a statewide race. Gov. Hochul and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams are also running on the Democratic side and would love Westchester votes.

“Outside of New York City, the single biggest story that was the opposite of the red tide was our success here in Westchester County in pushing back against a false narrative and having success as Democrats in this suburban county,” Latimer explained.

We asked James if Latimer was on her short list as a running mate for lieutenant governor. 

“At this point in time, we are vetting a number of candidates, but it’s really critically important that we have someone who shares the same values, and someone who believes in getting things done,” James said.

And on the same day James announced her Westchester endorsements, Hochul announced her own Westchester endorsements from state legislators — nine in total, from both Rockland and Westchester Counties.