FREDONIA – Kathleen C. Hochul, who has been concentrating her campaign for lieutenant governor in the downstate area, was back in Western New York on Friday, appearing at the Fredonia Farm Festival.
Fredonia Mayor Steve Keefe and Dunkirk Mayor A.J. Dolce were on hand to greet Hochul, who faces a Democratic primary race against Tim Wu, a Columbia University Law professor, despite the fact that she has the support of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the party establishment.
“The governor and I did not expect a primary,” Hochul said. She said that the strategy has been for her to spend time in areas where she was not as well known as she is in Western New York.
The former congresswoman and Erie County clerk said she felt she was very familiar with Chautauqua County and feels she is well known by voters in the area.
Hochul asked SUNY Fredonia President Virginia Horvath about progress with the college’s initiatives under the StartUp New York program. Horvath said that the plan is in its final stages and that she expects to see new businesses initiate programs.
Hochul said she was aware of the tremendous job losses in Fredonia due to ConAgra closing its Carriage House facilities.
“I understand people will be getting layoff letters soon,” she said. She said that she spoke to the governor about the losses and that he has been forming a team of people to help the laid-off workers find new employment through retraining.
When asked if there were any plans for the downsized Lake Shore Hospital in Irving, Hochul replied, “I will have to check into that.”
Hochul praised the agricultural businesses in the Fredonia area and the efforts of local officials to celebrate farming with the festival, which is in its 46th year.