New York’s First Female Governor

Posted by on Aug 17, 2021 in Current Events

The state of New York has never had a female governor before. But that’s about to change. Now that the current governor, Andrew Cuomo, has resigned, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul has assumed the office. Here, btw takes a closer look at this unique story and its historic outcome.

What Happened?

New York State Capitol
The New York state capitol building. Credit: DenisTangneyJr/iStock/Getty Images

Andrew Cuomo has served three terms as New York’s governor, and was expected to seek (and win) a fourth term. While governor he fought for marriage equality, and he raised the state’s minimum wage and promoted infrastructure development. But earlier in 2021, a steady stream of sexual harassment complaints against Governor Cuomo led many to call for his resignation. In an effort to clear his name, Cuomo authorized the New York State attorney general to oversee an investigation into the complaints. However, the 165-page report that was released on August 3, 2021, revealed that Cuomo had harassed nearly a dozen women during his time as governor.

On August 10, 2021, Cuomo announced that he was resigning from office and he apologized for his actions. Discussions to begin impeachment proceedings against the governor were underway when he announced his resignation. Now that Cuomo has resigned, he will be replaced by the state’s lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul. This will make Hochul the first-ever female governor of New York.

Who Is Kathy Hochul?

Hochul, 62, was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1958. She graduated from Syracuse University in 1980 and received her law degree from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., in 1984. Hochul worked briefly at a Washington, D.C., law firm, then went on to become a legal and legislative aide to U.S. representative John LaFalce and U.S. senator Patrick Moynihan. For fourteen years, she served on the Hamburg, New York, town council, before winning a special election and becoming a U.S. Congresswoman. Hochul has held her role as lieutenant governor since 2015. As lieutenant governor , she has chaired committees to promote economic development, combat heroin and opioid abuse, and fight sexual assault on college campuses.

What Happens Next?

Hochul has said that she plans to keep some of Cuomo’s agency heads. She said that  the coronavirus pandemic makes it especially important to keep some continuity between the old administration and the new. But she also announced that she will remove anyone who was implicated in the attorney general’s report. She also plans to re-evaluate the situation in 45 days and make changes as needed.

Hochul will be sworn into the office of governor on August 24, 2021. She will hold the office until Cuomo’s term was scheduled to end in December 2022. Hochul has stated that she plans to run for election to a new term.

What Do You Think? Conduct some online research to find information about Kathy Hochul in recent news articles. Based on what you learn and read, what do you think Governor Hochul’s priorities will be? Write a three-paragraph response explaining what you think.