Who is Kathy Hochul, the successor to Andrew Cuomo who will become the first woman governor of New York

Kathy Hochul governor of New York

A centrist Democrat from the west of the state, he has worked in the shadow of the former president during his two administrations, but in recent days he joined the chorus of politicians who denounced the official.

As Lieutenant Governor of New York, Kathy Hochul has for years been the friendly face of the administration, visiting the far-flung coffee shops and factories of each of the state’s 62 counties for countless grand opening ceremonies and civic events.

Now, following the resignation of Governor Andrew Cuomo on allegations of sexual harassment, her next stop will be the Albany State Capitol, becoming the state’s first female governor.

A centrist Democrat from western New York, he has worked deeply under Cuomo’s shadow during his two terms, but in recent days he joined the chorus of politicians who denounced the governor after an independent investigation concluded that he had sexually harassed 11 women. while in office.

“I believe in these brave women,” Hochul wrote, calling Cuomo’s behavior “repulsive and illegal” in a statement Tuesday.

She also acknowledged what has been around for months: the possibility of her becoming governor. “Because lieutenant governors are next in line of succession, it would not be appropriate to comment further on the process at this time,” he wrote.

To many New Yorkers, Hochul is an unknown civil servant, working since 2015 in a job that is primarily ceremonial. A typical late July afternoon had her announcing funding for job training in Utica, talking about manufacturing in Rome, and touring the center of Cazenovia with the mayor of the small town.

That was nothing compared to the appearances of the determined Cuomo, who did most of his activities in Albany and New York City and whose daily coronavirus briefings were national events at the height of the coronavirus.

Hochul has not been part of Cuomo’s inner circle of aides and allies. His name was not mentioned in the investigative report, released by Attorney General Letitia James, which details not only the harassment allegations against Cuomo but also the efforts of his staff to discredit some of his accusers.

But at 62, Hochul is a seasoned politician, a veteran of 11 campaigns that have taken her from the city council to Congress, the latter representing a conservative western New York district after a surprising victory in 2011 in a special election to fill a vacancy in the United States Congress.Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul (Photo: AP)Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul (Photo: AP)

“Pragmatics would be a good way to describe it,” said Jacob Neiheisel, associate professor of political science at the University at Buffalo. “Someone who’s pretty good at reading tea leaves and getting to where her constituency is.”

The daughter of a steelworker, Hochul, a lawyer, worked in Washington as an assistant to former US Representative John LaFalce and later to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, both from New York, before taking her first public office on the Hamburg city council, near from Buffalo.

From there, she became Erie County Clerk , where she made headlines in 2007 for resisting a plan by then-Governor Eliot Spitzer to allow unauthorized immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. Hochul and another Western New York employee explored a plan to have police arrest immigrants who tried to run.

“It will be an impediment, and that’s what I’m looking for,” Hochul told The Buffalo News at the time.

His next move was to Congress, where in 2011 he won a surprising victory in a special election in a district that had been in Republican hands for decades. He lost a reelection bid a year later to Republican Chris Collins, despite backing from the National Rifle Association. Collins later resigned from the United States House of Representatives and pleaded guilty to insider trading.

Hochul moved to the left, politically, when Cuomo chose her as his running mate in 2014 after his first lieutenant governor, former Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy, decided not to run for re-election.

She backed New York’s SAFE Act, one of the strictest gun control laws in the country, as well as the state’s Green Light Act, which allows unauthorized immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.

Hochul has not publicly expressed whether he would seek a full term in 2022 should he take office.

Neiheisel said that given his track record, it is difficult to predict what a “clearly Hochul agenda” would look like, especially when faced with the state’s still-active pandemic response and a recovery that will involve billions of dollars in federal aid.

“Given how little he has historically been in the news cycle, I really don’t think he has the kind of name recognition that you would expect from someone suddenly being pushed into the position of governor,” Neiheisel said. “He’s going to have to do a lot, very quickly, so that there is a serious conversation to keep that job.”

At a press conference on Wednesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had a very troubled relationship with Cuomo, said that he has gotten to know Hochul in recent years and that he struck him as “a very difficult person. reasonable”.