Kathy Hochul Is Sworn In as New York’s First Female Governor
Ms. Hochul has already used her lack of a close relationship with Mr. Cuomo as a way to distance herself from the former governor and the overlapping scandals that engulfed his administration. As she introduces herself to most voters, she has sought to differentiate her leadership style, promising transparency, a more collaborative approach to governing, and a transformation of the governor’s workplace, which was described in the attorney general report as toxic and hostile.
Indeed, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City and many members of the State Legislature have welcomed Ms. Hochul’s rise with a sigh of relief after years of feuding with Mr. Cuomo, whose ruthless governing style and overbearing presence led many members of his party to work with him out of intimidation, rather than good will.
Ms. Hochul is the first woman to become governor of New York after nearly 250 years of male predecessors and the 10th governor to succeed from lieutenant governor. Ms. Hochul is also the first governor from outside New York City and its immediate suburbs since Franklin D. Roosevelt left office in 1932.
A graduate of Syracuse University and Catholic University, where she obtained her law degree, Ms. Hochul got her start in politics by working as a staffer on Capitol Hill and the State Assembly. She served 14 years on the Hamburg Town Board and, in 2007, was appointed Erie County clerk, where she made headlines for opposing Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s plan to issue driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.
In 2011, she was elected to Congress after winning a special election to replace Representative Christopher Lee, a Republican who represented one of the state’s most conservative districts and resigned after it emerged he had solicited a woman through Craigslist. The district became even more conservative after redistricting, and she lost her re-election bid the following year to Chris Collins, a Republican and early endorser of Donald J. Trump.
In 2014, Mr. Cuomo picked Ms. Hochul as his running mate as he sought to strengthen his ticket with a woman from outside New York City. She was re-elected to the post in 2018.
Ms. Hochul, a mother of two who is married to Bill Hochul, a former top federal prosecutor and an executive at a hospitality and gambling company, will not immediately move into the Executive Mansion in Albany full time, but instead split her time between Buffalo and the capital.
And she has already made it clear that her future plans include an election campaign. Ms. Hochul has said that she will run for governor next year, betting that the advantage of incumbency and her work over the next few months will propel her in what is anticipated to be a competitive Democratic primary.