NY Gov. Appoints Italian American Affairs Director After Backlash

Gov. Kathy Hochul marching in the 2021 Columbus Day Parade with the President of the Columbus Heritage Coalition, Angelo Vivolo; and President of the Columbus Citizens Foundation, Marian U. Pardo. (Photo credit: GIA)

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has also pledged to support NYC’s Columbus Day parade, and all concurrent Columbus activities. 

It’s official: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has appointed Thomas Scarangello, from Staten Island, as the state’s new director of Italian American Affairs.

This past November, Hochul faced a firestorm of criticism when she abruptly fired the previous director, Dolores Alfieri, who was hired on in 2017 by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Hochul and her staff did not consult with New York’s Italian American leadership or constituents prior to her firing, and many felt broadsided by the news — especially since Hochul voiced no immediate plans of finding Alfieri’s successor (despite Italian Americans making up roughly 15 percent of the state’s population).

The Italian American PAC (I AM PAC) publicly thanked Hochul for appointing Scarangello, who plans to restructure the IA office to address new opportunities, concerns and challenges.

Also, the governor pledged to IAM PAC that she will support Columbus Day and all concurrent activities pertaining to Columbus.

The promise comes three months after Hochul walked in the NYC Columbus Day Parade, then, hours later, proclaimed the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The proclamation sparked an outcry, and Hochul amended it to clarify that Columbus Day would still be recognized.

Meanwhile, the New York’s gubernatorial race is beginning to heat up and Hochul faces several Italian American candidates.

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