New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is set to take over as New York’s first female Governor following Andrew Cuomo’s resignation announcement this Tuesday, Aug 10.
Following New York State Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation into multiple accounts of sexual harassment throughout the Cuomo Administration, Hochul will assume office in 14 days when the governor resigns. She will lead New York as the first new governor after a decade of the Cuomo Administration, continuing to tackle the state’s fight against Covid-19 and the resurgent Delta Variant.
“I agree with Governor Cuomo’s decision to step down,” Hochul wrote on Twitter. “It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers.”
“As someone who has served at all levels of government and is next in the line of succession, I am prepared to lead as New York State’s 57th Governor,” she continued.
Kathy Hochul, 62, may not have the same household name recognition as Cuomo, but she previously served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from New York’s 26th district from 2011-2013 before becoming Cuomo’s Lieutenant Governor in 2015.
During her time in the House, Hochul was part of the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Homeland Security. She stressed the need to develop alternative energy sources, expressed her support for the Affordable Care Act passed during the Obama Administration, and she identifies as pro-choice.
Last Tuesday, following President Joe Biden’s call for Cuomo’s resignation, Kathy Hochul expressed her support for the women who came forward to speak out against Governor Cuomo.
“The AG’s investigation has documented repulsive & unlawful behavior by the Governor towards multiple women,” her statement read. “I believe these brave women & admire their courage coming forward.”
State Attorney General Letitia James added in a statement Tuesday that “the ascension of our Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul, will help New York enter a new day.”
“We must continue to build on the progress already made and improve the lives of New Yorkers in every corner of the state,” James continued. “I know our state is in good hands with Lieutenant Governor Hochul at the helm, and I look forward to continuing to work with her.”
A Buffalo native, Hochul formerly served as the County Clerk of Erie County, New York before entering politics, and is a Syracuse University alumna.
She got her law degree at the Catholic University Columbus School of Law, and is married to Bill Hochul, formerly the United State Attorney for the Western District of New York. They have two children.
Hochul first received media attention when she upset the Republican candidate Jane Corwin in the 2011 U.S. House of Representatives Special Election. Filling the seat left vacant by Rep. Chris Lee after he resigned, Kathy Hochul became the first Democrat to represent the 26th District in over 40 years.
In 2006, Hochul and her family founded the Kathleen May House, a transitional home located in Buffalo for victims of domestic assault.
“My mother, back in the 70s, became an advocate for victims of domestic violence way before anybody in the Legislature was talking about it,” Hochul told Politico at the time.
According to The New York Times, Kathy Hochul had not spoken with Governor Cuomo since February, despite serving as part of his team since 2014. Nonetheless, Cuomo had nothing but kind words for his Lieutenant Governor during his resignation address.
“Kathy Hochul, my Lieutenant Governor, is smart and competent,” Governor Cuomo remarked. “This transition must be seamless. We have a lot going on. I’m very worried about the Delta variant, and so should you be, but she can come up to speed quickly.”
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday that he has spoken with Hochul and has “full confidence” in her abilities, CNBC reports. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand also expressed her support and stated that Hochul will be an “extraordinary governor.”
Hochul will continue to tackle the push to get New Yorkers vaccinated, as well as issues such as childcare, sexual assault prevention programs, and gender and economic inequality.