Gov. Kathy Hochul said Friday she is not a “pushover” and will stand up to Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman’s attempt to disobey her mandate that masks must be worn indoors in schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I don’t think anyone could ever accuse me of being a pushover. They know me, and those who underestimate me do so at their own peril, including the county executive of Nassau County,” Hochul said at a news conference in response to a question from Newsday.
Blakeman, Nassau’s newly installed executive, got Hochul’s attention after he issued an executive order on Thursday saying local school districts can opt not to obey the state mandate on masks in schools. He argued that the county has “home rule authority” preventing the state from imposing unreasonable restrictions on parents without a compelling reason.
“Our county is larger than nine states, and we don’t need people in Albany telling us what we should be doing here in Nassau,” said Blakeman, adding that county police would not enforce the mandate.
Hochul responded on Friday: “I have the law of the state of New York behind me, and I will always exercise my authority and obligation to protect the health of the people of this state.”