Video, Audio, and Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul Accepts Federation of Italian American Organizations of Brooklyn’s “Woman of the Year” Award and Delivers Virtual Remarks
Thank you, Jack, and thank you to all my friends in the room and to Carlo and Nancy. I am sorry that I cannot be with you this afternoon. We have worked very hard for a budget that meets the needs of all New Yorkers, but I place particular emphasis on protecting New Yorkers.
And that’s one of the reasons why we’re a bit behind the budget schedule. But that being said, I will continue to work hard so that we can make sure everyone on their streets, homes, communities and at work feels very safe. And so, we will make announcements soon at the end of this.
But I want to thank you all for keeping everything going during the pandemic. The services that the cultural center provides, and that this organization has provided, to those who need them most will never be forgotten. And I also want to thank Monsignor Cassato for reminding us of the presence of God in our lives.
And it’s humbling to know that we all started together. We started, many of us, children of immigrants or grandchildren of immigrants. Mine came from great poverty in Ireland, which is why I felt an affinity with people from the Italian community, because there has always been a lot of disrespect towards new immigrants. Whether it was the “Irish need not apply” that my grandfather had to endure or what he saw happen to his steel mill friends who were originally Italian.
It is something that joins us. But also, I mentioned the presence of God, as Monsignor mentioned. I grew up a practicing Catholic, knowing that the best way to serve God was to go into public service, to help everyone, to raise children who need a better outcome in life because of their situation and the life given to them. .
We all have a moral responsibility to help others, especially our children. And that’s what your organization does, it gives people hope. And I will continue to be there for you as an ally, one of your greatest supporters. And I will also make sure that we continue to revere the cultural significance of the Italian-American community, especially here in New York.
It is the largest ethnic population we have. We embrace it. And that’s something I’m going to say, I’m so proud that the very first parade I ever walked in as Governor was the Columbus Day Parade just a few months ago. We celebrated with many of you at the Saint-Joseph table. And I will continue to value these great contributions and celebrate them from the position of Governor.
So I look forward to working with all of you. I wanted to make sure we had our Italian American center, our museum on Mulberry Street, so that tourists could come and see the great contributions. We put that on the finish line, I hope, with a million dollar announcement I made just a few weeks ago at the breakfast we hosted.
But I also want you to know that I’ll be there for you, not just on holidays, not just on parades, but day in and day out, to protect you, to help everyone continue to recover from COVID because we are having a little spike now, so watch out for that, my friends. But to keep our economy going, keep our neighborhoods strong, and do what we can to uplift all of us, and especially the incredible contributions of the Italian-American community. So, thank you for this honor. I am so humble. So humbled but was really looking forward to eating some really good food with you all.
I just drank energy drinks, mostly to get me through the budget process, but I know what I’m missing, not joining y’all for the big celebration of friendship, culture and food, of course. Because me, like I said, I grew up in an Irish family, no one I’ve ever heard of, let’s go out for Irish tonight, it’s always let’s go out for Italian.
So enjoy the rest of the party. To all the other laureates, my government colleagues, Senator Gounardes, we were together at the cultural center not long ago. And Assemblymen Abbate and Colton. Of course, Frank Seddio, as you mentioned, the legendary Frank Seddio. And our district attorney, Eric Gonzalez from Brooklyn, is doing an amazing job and we’re trying to help him do his job even better. And that’s what we’re doing here in Albany right now.
So, thank you for the privilege of being your woman of the year. And again, I can’t wait to see you all in person as soon as we’re done with all of this, so thank you, my friends.