Well, folks, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo did what he said he wouldn’t do … he resigned. I have mixed feelings … certainly it was the right thing to do in light of all the credible accusations of sexual harassment against him, not to mention a looming impeachment. He was correct when he said that the last thing government needs is to be distracted, and he has, of late, become a distraction not only for the State of New York, but for the nation. Still, I was a bit sad, for he has done much good during his eleven years in office and was the voice of reason during the height of the pandemic, the antithesis to the former president’s lies. His father, Mario Cuomo, governed New York for eleven years, from 1983 to 1994, and was a popular governor, as has been Andrew until recent events.
In two weeks, when Cuomo leaves the governor’s mansion for the final time, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will take his place and will become the first woman governor in the history of New York! So … who is this Kathy Hochul of whom we know almost nothing?
She served briefly, just under two years from June 2011 ‘til January 2013, in the U.S. House of Representatives representing New York’s 26th district. Then in 2014, Governor Cuomo named her as his choice for Lieutenant Governor and she was sworn in on January 1st, 2015.
Not much is known about her political views, for she has remained in the background through much of her tenure, but what I see, I like. She supports raising taxes on those earning more than $500,000 per year, she supports the development of alternative energy sources, she supports the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), supports women’s rights, same-sex marriage and LGBTQ rights.
In his resignation speech, Governor Cuomo supported her, saying …
“Kathy Hochul, my lieutenant governor is smart and competent. This transition must be seamless. We have a lot going on. I’m very worried about the Delta variant and so should you be, but she can come up to speed quickly.”
Interestingly, she hasn’t spoken with Governor Cuomo since February, according to one source. Her last public appearance with Cuomo was at a Covid briefing in Buffalo at the end of January. Erie County Democratic Committee Chairman Jeremy Zellner gave her a positive review …
“Her work speaks for itself. She’s done this stuff outside the bubble of the governor and built her own relationships out there. She did not take this job lightly. She’ll be prepared, she’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen.”
And Assembly member Karen McMahon, a Democrat whose district borders Buffalo, is also in Hochul’s corner …
“She is probably one of the most down-to-earth people that you could ever meet. 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.”
She will have some big challenges ahead of her, but I think she is up for the task.