New York’s first female governor, Kathy Hochul, was sworn into office on Tuesday (August 24), promising to change the state’s political culture and work to ensure that New Yorkers “believe in their government again.”
Publicly sworn in Tuesday morning by the state’s highest judge, Hochul takes over the governor’s office in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal that drove her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo, from power. She promised that “changing the culture of Albany” would be a top priority.
Hours earlier, Hochul, a Democrat from Buffalo who turns 63 this week, officially became New York state’s 57th governor in a private ceremony.
Hochul pledged to strengthen the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and speed direct aid to residents in need, all with an eye, she said, toward winning back the trust of the people of New York in their elected officials.
“I want people to believe in their government again,” she said.
Cuomo – who in his final public remarks on Monday (August 23) complained the state investigation that concluded that the Democratic governor had sexually harassed women who worked for him was unfair – was known for a bruising approach to political dealmaking that left him standing alone amid calls for his resignation.
Hochul, whose resume ranges from town board in upstate New York to the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, vowed to bring an entirely different style to the governor’s office.
“I’m looking forward to a fresh, collaborative approach. That’s how I’ve always conducted myself. That will be nothing new for me,” she said, speaking to reporters after the ceremony at the State Capitol in Albany.
She said she’s already working with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose feud with Cuomo often led to sharp, veiled criticisms.
“No blindsiding,” vowed Hochul, who said de Blasio called her on Monday to give her a heads up that moments later he would be announcing a vaccine mandate for all New York City teachers. Indicating she is considering a similar mandate for all teachers in the state, she said she would be making an announcement, possibly later on Tuesday.
“I’ll be making announcements about that later today as well as throughout the week because I haven’t had a chance to assemble all the stakeholders,” she said. “Now that I am officially governor and I have the ability to work with them, I’ll also be discussing this with our leadership from the Assembly and the Senate. This is what collaboration looks like.”