Hochul has been an advocate for women facing domestic and sexual violence throughout her career and is also keenly pro-choice and pro-LGBTQ rights.
Following the state attorney general’s report that found Andrew M. Cuomo guilty of sexually harassing at least 11 women and many of them state employees, he announced he would be stepping down from his role as New York City's governor. He will be replaced by Kathy Hochul, who has been his long-serving lieutenant governor. She will be making history as the first woman to serve as New York’s governor when she takes the oath in 14 days' time, reported The New York Times.
“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 said in a statement on Twitter.
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.— Kathy Hochul (@LtGovHochulNY) August 10, 2021
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 may not be a household name like her predecessor but has been praised for her work ethic and political experience. The 62-year-old will be serving the remainder of Cuomo's term, which ends next year. But she has not indicated if she will run again. She has largely stayed out of the public eye and was pushed into the national spotlight after being next in line to succeed Cuomo, following the sexual harassment accusations. But who exactly is Kathy Hochul?
Hochul is one of six children from a working-class Irish Catholic family in western New York. She has credited her father for her political views. John P. "Jack" Courtney worked as a steelworker and union organizer. Her parents were also active in the civil rights movement and protested the Vietnam War as well. "They had that in their DNA, that sense of responsibility to the community," Hochul said in a speech in April according to USA Today. "And that was imparted to me as a kid." As a high schooler, she would volunteer at Democratic Party headquarters, where she was often the only female in the room.
Hochul graduated from Syracuse University and got her law degree at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. She began her career working for a law firm in Washington. She later went on to work for New York Democrats Rep. John LaFalce and Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan before beginning her own political career, reported NBC News. She has described herself as a "progressive" and is keenly pro-choice and pro-LGBTQ rights.
“She is probably one of the most down-to-earth people that you could ever meet,” Assemblymember Karen McMahon, told Politico. “She’s gone to great heights in government, yet one-to-one, she is so accessible and so warm and just a very generous person … She’s always able to help — particularly women, too.”
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, will replace Andrew Cuomo after his resignation, which was spurred by an investigation that found he had sexually harassed nearly a dozen women. She will become New York's first female governor. https://t.co/jPuX85muFO pic.twitter.com/hyUatyuSlG— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 10, 2021
Hochul has been an advocate for women facing domestic and sexual violence throughout her career. In 2006, she established the Kathleen Mary House, a transitional home for victims of domestic violence, with her mother and aunt, reported the BBC. in 2008, she faced criticism for opposing driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants a stance she has reversed since. In 2014, Cuomo nominated Hochul to be his lieutenant governor when he successfully ran for his second term, according to ABC News. Cuomo and Hochul won re-election in 2018. On taking office, Hochul will have to rapidly assemble a cabinet and develop an agenda.
Image Source: Getty Images/Drew Angerer/Staff