AUBURN — Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul believes city voters will reward Mayor Michael Quill with a fourth term in November.
Hochul, a Democrat, visited Auburn Sunday afternoon to endorse Quill's re-election bid. Quill held a fundraiser at the Hilton Garden Inn, where dozens of family members, friends and local Democrats turned out to support his campaign.
"There's no place I'd rather be than right here, right now," Hochul said, invoking the words of Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame coach Mary Levy. "I know this mayor. I know his heart. I know how much he loves this community."
Hochul credited Quill for pushing the state to help address the rise of harmful algal blooms on Owasco Lake. Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited the Auburn area in 2017 to announce $2 million in funding for water filtration systems.
It was Quill, according to Hochul, who urged state officials to build a regional welcome center in Auburn. The state wanted to construct a welcome center in each of the 10 economic development regions. The decision was made to build a facility in Auburn.
The final product is the Equal Rights Heritage Center, a $10 million building across from Memorial City Hall. Hochul attended the center's grand opening in November 2018.
Hochul also praised Quill for the city's pursuit of a $10 million grant through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, a state program that aims to improve downtown areas throughout New York.
Auburn applied in the first two years of the program, but didn't win. In 2018, Cuomo visited Auburn to announce the city won the $10 million grant.
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"Some communities did walk away," Hochul noted, "but three times is a charm. That infusion of $10 million all in one shot will put this community on a trajectory it'll never turn back. It's ever upward."
Quill was elected mayor in 2007 and won re-election in 2011 and 2015. He is seeking a fourth four-year term as Auburn's top elected official.
His main opponent is Cayuga County Legislator Tim Lattimore, a Republican who served one term as mayor from 2004 through 2007. Lattimore lost to Quill in 2007 and again in 2011 and 2015.
Brett Tracy, who lost the GOP primary to Lattimore in June, is the Libertarian Party's mayoral candidate.
Quill, who spoke briefly at his fundraiser, called Hochul "a very good friend." He mentioned how often she has visited the city during her tenure as lieutenant governor, which began in 2015.
From those trips Hochul has learned that Quill "set the bar so high" for other local elected officials.
"I see how you interact with your constituents, the commitment you have to moving this community forward and your genuine love of the people," she said. "That is why we need you to continue as a strong partner of our administration. You have brought the concerns of this community to the forefront."