Governor Hochul on Seneca Nation Compact: I believe we’ll get to a result that makes everyone happy

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Governor Kathy Hochul is not ruling out the possibility of a casino in the Rochester area and says negotiations between the state and the Seneca Nation are back on track as the State and Nation work toward a new compact.

News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke spoke with the Governor on Friday about the secret deal that collapsed at the 11th hour the first time around and what happens from here.

The Governor reiterated multiple times that she has recused herself from the negotiations because her husband works for a company that competes with the Seneca Nation’s other casinos. But even if she’s not in the room where the negotiations are happening, she is choosing the people who are and last time around, they made decisions that could dramatically impact the Finger Lakes region without consulting leaders here.

Jennifer Lewke (News10NBC) – Governor, have you instructed your team to take a casino off the table here in Rochester as part of the compact negotiations moving forward and can you explain why our local state lawmakers weren’t involved in any of the discussions about it?

Governor Hochul – What I’ve read from public sources, because again I’m going to remind you that I recused myself in the beginning, delegated the responsibility to work with the Senecas who really wanted confidentially around this, is what I’m understanding. And the process is restarting, there will be more communication and my team is looking forward to coming up with an agreement that serves everyone.

Jennifer Lewke – Are there any people on your team who are from here? We’ve heard that your team consists of a lot of attorneys and people who are knowledgeable in the area of compacts but there’s no Western or Finger Lakes delegates on that team.

Governor Hochul – I have an outstanding team working on this, I believe that both sides are probably enlisting the top talent they can to work on this issue and I’ll continue to make sure that my team make sure that we are looking for a good outcome for all parties involved. That is their objective, and I’ll be finding out the details when everybody else does.

Jennifer Lewke – But is a casino, have you said to them, a casino is off the table in Rochester?

Governor Hochul – I just explained what recusing means, it means I cannot be putting my thumb on the scale and telling them what to do otherwise, it compromises the situation that I’m in, so that is something that they’ll be working through, I have great confidence in them and I believe we’ll get to a result that makes everyone satisfied.

Jennifer Lewke – Have you asked them to engage local leaders more this time around?

Governor Hochul – I’m not getting involved in the local negotiations…

Jennifer Lewke – But that’s not negotiations Governor, that’s just saying who is sitting at the table when making these decisions?

Governor Hochul – Certainty, certainly as always people will be involved.