On August 24th, 2021, Kathy Hochul became New York’s first female governor. She was inaugurated due to the resignation of Andrew Cuomo following his many scandals, including sexual assault allegations. Hochul was Cuomo’s Lieutenant Governor for seven years, starting in 2014, before taking on the position of governor.
Hochul is not unfamiliar with politics in New York. Before she held the position of Lieutenant Governor, she served on the Hamburg town board in western New York for 14 years. In 2011, during a special election, Hochul took Christopher John Lee’s seat in Congress after he resigned. During her term in Congress, Hochul was a big supporter of bipartisanship and marked that as one of her goals.
Hochul runs as a democrat but tends to lean more towards the center. She would sometimes be the only democrat on one side of an issue when she served in Congress. CNBC reported that when she ran for Congress, she called herself an “Independent Democrat,” but the views she advertises are still to the left. On her website, Hochul is a self-proclaimed, “Champion for Women.” Alongside naming her accomplishments towards women’s rights she claims she “wants women to dream big and take risks – and she believes in equal pay for equal work.” Hochul also strongly supports working families and focuses a lot of her efforts on improving their working conditions. Hochul succeeded in this goal on September 6th when, as the NY Daily News reported, she signed the HERO Act. This act will provide COVID safety rules for the workplace to ensure that workers feel safe at their jobs.
Despite being Cuomo’s Lieutenant Governor for so many years, Hochul has attempted to distance herself from him and his methods. At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the press conferences that Cuomo held to update the people on the pandemic’s impact were well known, and well praised, throughout the country. In a comment to reporters on Thursday, September 2nd, Hochul told them, “we don’t govern by press conference,” which was a direct hit at something that Cuomo had considered an accomplishment. She also publicly supported Cuomo’s resignation on Twitter, calling it, “the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers.”
In her brief time as governor, Hochul has already faced quite a few obstacles. The disastrous remnants of Hurricane Ida hit New York hard on Wednesday, September 2nd. Many apartments, buildings, and subway stations were flooded, illuminating major flaws in New York’s infrastructure. CNN reported that Thursday morning, Hochul spoke to reporters about disasters such as this saying, “We need to foresee these in advance, and be prepared.” Hochul also signed an eviction moratorium extension on September 2nd, “extending the protections of New York’s Safe Harbor Act to Jan. 15” as she explained in a statement. Her immediate response to these issues bodes well for the rest of her term.
Hochul plans on running for a full term in the 2022 election. As she told NBC’s “TODAY,” “I fully expect to. I’ve prepared for this.”