The hardest names to pronounce in NY politics

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis and Rep. Adriano Espaillat.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis and Rep. Adriano Espaillat.
Photos by Celeste Sloman
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis and Rep. Adriano Espaillat.

The hardest names to pronounce in NY politics

How to say “Oxiris,” “Gjonaj,” “Constantinides” and more
May 18, 2020

Thanks to the coronavirus crisis and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s daily press briefings being carried live on national TV, more people than ever are paying attention to politics in New York. People who may never have cared what was going on in Albany or New York City Hall are suddenly becoming avid consumers of local political news as the pandemic and its effects are felt around the state.

With no sports, office gossip or much of anything else happening during the lockdown, coronavirus news is likely a big driver of many current conversations. For anyone new to the local political scene, there are a lot of names to familiarize yourself with. What do you do when you struggle to pronounce the names of the politicians you are talking about? City & State is here to help with a handy-dandy guide to some of New York’s difficult to pronounce political names so you can seamlessly discuss state and city politics with friends, loved ones and new Cuomo enthusiasts during Zoom meetings and phone calls.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (KEER-sten JILL-ih-brand) Note: NOT Kristen

Rep. Adriano Espaillat (ay-dree-AH-no ehs-pie-YAHT)

Rep. Elise Stefanik (eh-LEASE ste-FAHN-ick)

Rep. Thomas Suozzi (TOM-iss SWAH-zee)

Rep. Nydia Velázquez (NIH-dee-ah vell-AZ-kez)

Rep. Joseph Morelle (JOE-sehf more-EHL-ee)

Congressional candidate Stefan Mychajliw (STEH-fahn muh-HIGH-loo)

Congressional candidate David Carlucci (DAVE-id kaarl-OO-chee)

Congressional candidate Chele Chiavacci Farley (SHELL kee-ah-VAH-chee FAR-lee)

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (KATH-ee HO-kuhl)

State Attorney General Letitia James (luh-TISH-ah JAIMS)

State Sen. Michael Gianaris (MY-kuhl gee-ann-ARE-iss) 

State Sen. Simcha Felder (SIM-kah FELL-der)

State Sen. Rich Funke (RICH FUN-key)

State Sen. Shelley Mayer (SHELL-ee MAY-er)

State Sen. Roxanne Persaud (rocks-ANN per-SAWD)

State Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer (MY-kuhl RAN-zen-hoff-er)

State Sen. Luis Sepúlveda (loo-EES seh-PULL-vee-duh)

State Sen. Andrew Gounardes (ANN-drew guh-NAR-dez)

State Sen. Julia Salazar (JOO-lee-ah or WHO-lee-ah SAL-ah-zahr) Note: Both pronunciations are correct.

State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (ZELL-nor MY-ree)

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (KAARL HAY-stee)

Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte (rod-NIECE bee-SHOT)

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (nih-COLE mal-ee-oh-TAH-kiss)

Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages (ME-kai-ale so-LAHJ)

Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (NEE-lee ROW-zick)

Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou (YOU-LEAN NYEW)

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (STEE-ven SIHM-bro-witz)

Assemblyman Fred Thiele (FREHD THEEL)

Assembly candidate Zohran Mamdani (zor-AHN mam-DAH-nee)

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (joo-MAH-nee WIHL-yuhms)

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot (oaks-SEE-rees bar-BO)

New York City Councilwoman Alicka Ampry-Samuel (ah-LEE-kah AM-pree-SAM-yoo-ehl)

New York City Councilman Costa Constantinides (COST-ah con-stan-tih-NEE-dees)

New York City Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr. (RAH-berht CORN-egg-ee)

New York City Councilman Mark Gjonaj (MARK JOE-nigh)

New York City Councilman Ben Kallos (BEN KAY-lows)

New York City Councilman Mark Levine (MARK leh-VEEN)

New York City Councilman Steve Levin (STEEV LEH-vin) 

New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (ee-DAHN-iss rod-REE-gez) 

New York City Councilman Chaim Deutsch (khEYEm dietch)

New York City Councilman Barry Grodenchik (BEAR-ee grow-DEN-chick) 

Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini (TIHM SEE-nee)

Former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (DEEN SKEH-lows)

Billionaire John Catsimatidis (JAHN cats-eh-mah-TEE-dees)

Gristedes (griss-TEE-dees) Note: Above billionaire’s grocery store chain

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch (ED KAHTCH)

Billionaire Republican donor Charles Koch (CHAHRLZ COKE)

Rebecca C. Lewis
is a staff reporter at City & State.
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