Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will become New York's 57th governor later this month, making history as the first woman in history to hold the office.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, announced Tuesday (Aug. 10) that he would resign from his office, effective in 14 days, amid sexual harassment and COVID mismanagement scandals and a vacuum of support in the state legislature.
Despite two-terms as Cuomo's lieutenant, Hochul, 62, is largely anonymous to most New Yorkers. She has seldom joined Cuomo at public events and never appeared at his daily press briefings during the pandemic.
"I agree with Governor Cuomo's decision to step down," Hochul Tweeted Tuesday afternoon. "It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers. 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."
Following the state attorney general's bombshell report last week, detailing Cuomo's alleged harassment of women, Hochul denounced the governor's conduct as "repulsive & unlawful," adding that she admired Cuomo's accusers for "their courage coming forward."
While Cuomo has broadly the nation on a weekly or daily basis over the past year, Hochul's recent public schedule has mostly consisted of outreach to local officials and community groups.
As pressure mounted on the governor to resign, Hochul reportedly cleared her scheduled to make way for meetings with legislators and advocacy groups.
During the news conference in which he announced his resignation, Cuomo praised Hochul as "smart and competent" and said she could "come up to speed quickly" for a seamless transition for the government.
A Buffalo native, Hochul is an attorney who began her political career as an aide to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. In 2006, along with her mother and aunt, Hochul founded the Kathleen Mary House, a transitional home in Buffalo for victims of domestic violence.
After serving on the board of Hamburg, New York, Hochul became deputy clerk of Erie County and later served as county clerk from 2007 - 2011, when she won a special election for New York's 26th Congressional District (a rare victory for democrats in that district).
After serving out a partial term in Washington, D.C., Hochul was brought on as Cuomo's running mate in 2014. Four years later in 2018, Cuomo publicly discussed pushing Hochul to run for Congress again rather than as his lieutenant governor, but he eventually brought Hochul back as his lieutenant.
Politically, Hochul is considered to be more conservative than many of her peers in the New York democratic party. She was endorsed by the NRA in 2012 and broke from fellow democrats early in her career as a county clerk when she opposed driver's licenses for undocumented people. As Lt. governor, however, Hochul as been loathe to publicly break with Cuomo on politics.