New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will become governor of New York after Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday that he will resign in two weeks following the state attorney general’s investigation that found he sexually harassed multiple women.
Hochul will become the state’s first female governor and stands to inherit a political landscape that Cuomo dominated for more than a decade. She will also assume office at a time when New York is fighting a resurgent coronavirus pandemic and the fallout over Cuomo’s departure.
“I agree with Governor Cuomo’s decision to step down. It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers,” Hochul tweeted Tuesday afternoon shortly after Cuomo’s announcement. “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.”
Hochul, 62, has served as Cuomo’s lieutenant for nearly the last seven years. In the wake of the state attorney general’s report last week, she denounced Cuomo’s alleged behavior as “repulsive & unlawful,” adding, “I believe these brave women & admire their courage coming forward.”
As calls grew louder for Cuomo to resign, Hochul had been preparing herself to take over in Albany, a state official told CNN last week. She had cleared her schedule and took meetings with legislators and advocacy groups.
A Buffalo native, Hochul was first elected lieutenant governor of New York in 2014 as Cuomo’s running mate and won reelection alongside him in 2018.
She received national attention after winning a US House special election in 2011 for New York’s 26th Congressional District, a seat that had been considered safe by Republicans who held the district.
Before Congress, Hochul spent roughly 18 years in local state politics, including 14 years as a Hamburg town councilmember followed by nearly four years as Erie County clerk.
She also worked at M&T Bank, as an attorney for a Washington, DC, law firm, and as legal counsel and aide to two former New York Democratic politicians — US Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and US Rep. John Joseph LaFalce.
In 2006, Hochul, along with her mother and aunt, founded a transitional home in Buffalo for victims of domestic violence called the Kathleen Mary House. She told Politico in 2014 that her grandmother had been a victim of domestic abuse, which prompted her and her family’s activism on the issue.
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