Governor nominates Hope Knight as state’s new economic czar

Hope Knight, the president and CEO of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, has been nominated to lead the Empire State Development Corporation by Governor Hochul. (QNS file photo)

One of the borough’s top economic trailblazers is taking her talents to Albany.

Governor Kathy Hochul announced Friday, Oct. 29, that she will nominate Hope Knight, the president and CEO of Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, as the new president and CEO of the Empire State Development Corporation and Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development.

“After the devastating impact the pandemic had on New York’s economy, we need the best of the best at the helm to lead our recovery,” said Hochul, while also naming Long Island’s Kevin Law as a director and chair of the Urban Development Corporation. “With their extensive experience and diverse backgrounds, Hope Knight and Kevin Law are ready to lead New York’s economic development in communities and cities across the state and bring our economy back stronger than ever before.”

Knight led the GJDC since 2015 advancing the economic growth, community-building and sustainable real estate development that revitalized and strengthened southeast Queens.

“Hope Knight is a visionary leader and a champion for not just Jamaica, but for all Queens families. Her tireless work spearheading Jamaica’s revitalization pre-pandemic and its recovery post-pandemic has been nothing short of remarkable, and we know that she will lead both the New York State Department of Economic Development and Empire State Development with vigor and grace,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “We couldn’t be prouder to call Hope one of our own here in Queens, and we applaud Governor Hochul for such an outstanding appointment. The future of New York state’s economy is brighter than ever with Hope at the helm.”

Knight will serve as acting commissioner, president and CEO until confirmed by the New York State Senate, according to the governor’s office.

“When we selected Hope Knight to lead the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, we knew she would take the organization to new heights and create tremendous opportunities for the residents and businesses of southeast Queens,” said Lamont Bailey, board chairman of Greater Jamaica Development Corporation. “We could not be more thrilled for Hope, and the people of New York, as the new president and CEO of Empire State Development. We look forward to great things to come.”

Bailey also announced that Justin Rodgers has been elevated to interim president of GJDC, from managing director of real estate and property management, as the board plans “next steps.”

Queens Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Grech hailed the nominations of both Knight and Law saying they both worked tirelessly to help rebuild and strengthen the local economy.

“I have no doubt they are the best choices to lead our state’s recovery at this crucial time,” Grech said. “I look forward to continuing to partner with these two dedicated public servants on future projects that support small businesses, and create jobs and economic opportunity here in Queens and throughout the state.”

Former Queens Deputy Borough President Melva Miller, now the CEO of the Association for Better New York, hailed the appointments of Knight and Law as “inspired choices,” praising Knight in particular.

“ABNY has had the privilege to work closely with Hope Knight as a member of our Census 2020 Organizing and Action Committee and we know what type of leader she is,” Miller said. “Hope holds considerable economic development and planning experience, and her track record demonstrates her ability to spark economic growth in a sustainable and inclusive way. We look forward to working with both nominees to help our state recover and reach new levels of growth.”