Incoming NY Gov. Kathy Hochul Looks to Turn the Page
John Jordan | August 12, 2021
ALBANY—Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul in a press conference yesterday stressed that she will be ready to take over as the 57th governor of New York when she takes the oath of office later this month.
Hochul, who is scheduled to take over as governor on Aug. 24, stressed, “I am ready for this,” and later assured New Yorkers: “I will fight like hell for you every single day, like I’ve always done and always will.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Aug. 10 that he would resign from office in two weeks after the New York State Attorney General’s report on sexual harassment allegations against the governor was released earlier this month.
Hochul, who has served for the past seven years as lieutenant governor, said that she would detail her “vision” for the state in an address shortly after she takes office. However, she did say that the number one priority of her administration will be to deal with COVID-19. Hochul said that she would also continue the ongoing investment in “rebuilding the great State of New York.”
Hochul, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and a JD from Catholic University, served in the U.S. Congress from 2011 to 2013 representing the 26th Congressional District. She has served as Lieutenant Governor under current Gov. Andrew Cuomo since 2015. At the press conference, she said her management style is to “listen first, then take decisive action.”
She said that she would spend the two-week period to build out her senior staff and continue to develop her vision. Hochul said that she would name a new Lieutenant Governor prior to taking office. If she does not, New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins would serve as Acting Lieutenant Governor, while continuing to serve in her post as the leader of the State Senate.
“The Delta variant is still raging, and it’s going to take all of us to defeat it. Our children are heading back to school soon. There’s a lot of anxiety from the moms and dads I speak to, and the teachers as well,” she said. “It’s going to take all of us working together to keep our children safe, our teachers safe, and anyone who works in a school safe.”
While not detailing any possible actions she might take in response to the rising number of infections due to the Delta variant, Lt. Gov. Houchul would only say that she has been engaged with health care officials and is monitoring CDC guidelines. She did say that all options are on the table.
“More people being vaccinated is our key out of this,” Hochul told reporters.
Besides children going back to school, she did note that the business community is also nervous about COVID’s future impact on their operations.
“Small businesses are just starting to bounce back into an uncertain world. We need to reassure them that they’ll be okay,” she said. “And our workers are once again debating whether they should even go back to their jobs, or go back to their offices, go back to their factories. Is it safe enough? But I know New Yorkers. They are hardwired to persevere and to prevail.”
In an attempt to put some distance between her and the Cuomo administration, she noted that she and the governor were not close and that any individual accused of doing anything unethical in the New York State Attorney General’s report would not serve in her administration. “There will be turnover,” she added.
She also stressed that her administration would not have the same “toxic work environment” as was described by witnesses in the State Attorney General’s report. Hochul said that upon the completion of her term of office, “whenever it ends, no one will ever describe my administration as a toxic work environment.”
Hochul did not specifically address who she might choose to serve as Lieutenant Governor, but there is speculation that she may select someone from downstate to balance her ticket.