When New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s resignation becomes effective in two weeks, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will replace him as the state’s first female governor.
Cuomo, a Democrat,Tuesday, with his eventual impeachment seeming all but certain in the wake of a New York attorney general that found he sexually harassed 11 women. Cuomo denied acting inappropriately, but said he would step down to “let government get back to governing.”
Under New York state law, in the event of a governor’s resignation, the lieutenant governor becomes the person in charge.
Hochul, also a Democrat, stayed out of the spotlight during the attorney general’s investigation, and declared the governor’s behavior as documented in the report “repulsive” and “unlawful.”
“Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any workplace, and certainly not in public service,” Hochul tweeted last week. “The AG’s investigation has documented repulsive & unlawful behavior by the Governor towards multiple women. I believe these brave women & admire their courage coming forward. No one is above the law.”
Following Cuomo’s announcement, Hochul said his stepping down was 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,” she tweeted.
Hochul, 62, has been lieutenant governor since 2015. From 2011 to 2013, she represented New York’s 26th District in Congress, where she served on the House Armed Services Committee and House Homeland Security Committee before losing reelection.
She earned her undergraduate degree from Syracuse University, and her law degree from Catholic University. Early in her career, she worked as an aide on Capitol Hill before holding a series of local positions prior to her election to Congress.
Hochul has long been an advocate for women facing domestic and sexual violence. She led the governor’s “Enough is Enough” campaign to fight sexual assault on college campuses.
The lieutenant governor comes from a family of steelworkers. When her grandparents fled poverty in Ireland, they eventually settled in western New York, where her grandfather, dad and uncles worked in the steel industry.