New York’s Next Governor Kathy Hochul Says She’s Prepared to Lead

New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is set to replace disgraced Governor Andrew Cuomo after he leaves office on August 24. When news of Cuomo’s resignation broke, and it became clear Hochul would finish his term, rumors flooded social media that she was the step-sister of Nancy Pelosi, which Snopes and Politifact have labeled false.

Hochul will be the first woman to serve the state as governor. She is 62-years-old and has served in elected positions at the local, state, and federal levels, starting with a 14-year term on the Hamburg Town Board in New York.

According to PIX 11, she served as Erie County Clerk from 2007 to 2011 and Congresswoman for New York’s 26th district from 2011 to 2013 before becoming Lt. gov. during Cuomo’s second term as governor. She chairs 10 Regional Economic Development Councils and co-chairs the Heroin and Opioid Abuse Task Force. She also started the “enough is enough” campaign meant to fight sexual assault on college campuses. She is allegedly known as a “retail politician” that travels throughout the state to meet with constituents and has a reputation of “low-profile competence and accessibility.”

The Washington Times reports that Hochul made it clear where she stood as Gov. Cuomo asserted his innocence against the harassment allegations, stating “I believe these brave women” and calling his behavior “repulsive and unlawful.” She also said Cuomo’s decision to step down was “the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers” and that “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 spoke to reporters on Wednesday, saying, “I think it’s very clear that the governor and I have not been close, physically or otherwise.” She also said she planned to eliminate any state employees who acted unethically to help Cuomo fend off the allegations lodged against him.

Although she has maintained a low profile as lieutenant governor, she has already come under some scrutiny for her position shift on New York’s “green light laws,” which allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.

Hochul stated that her position on the matter had “evolved.” In 2007 as the Erie County Clerk, she opposed giving driver’s licenses to illegals. She said the county “should not facilitate violations of immigration law,” but in 2014, as Cuomo’s running mate, she supported the idea. Failing to differentiate between legal and illegal immigration, she said, “I’m proud of that law. Our immigrants need to be able to get to their jobs, and parents need to take their kids to doctor’s appointments.”

New York State Democrats and Republicans spoke favorably of Hochul, saying she will be a suitable replacement for Cuomo. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said she “will be an extraordinary governor” and that “she understands the complexities and needs of our state, having been a congresswoman, and having been lieutenant governor for the last several years.”

Gillibrand went on to say she looks forward to supporting Hochul in her new role. Republican State Assemblyman Chris Tague said he “was happy to see that she didn’t play politics and just came out with a statement that she was very critical of the governor’s actions. It takes some courage to do that.” Cuomo himself said that Hochul was “smart and competent” in his resignation speech.

As acting governor, Hochul is poised to be a favorite for the Democratic nomination in the next gubernatorial election. It is speculated fellow Democrat and current Attorney General Letitia James, whose scathing report forced Cuomo to resign, will also run for governor.

Hochul says she hasn’t spoken to Cuomo since February and denied any knowledge of harassment on his part despite being his second-in-command for more than six years.


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