Kathy Hochul sworn in as 57th Governor of New York

Transition of Power

New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks at the state Capitol, Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021 in Albany, N.Y. Hochul is preparing to take the reins of power after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he would resign from office. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York state has its first woman governor. Kathy Hochul was sworn into office at midnight Tuesday.

The private ceremony, conducted by Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, was held at the New York State Capitol. A public, ceremonial swearing in will be held at 10 a.m. in the Red Room of the Capitol. Hochul will be joined by her family and New York legislative leaders.

New Yorkers can watch the ceremony on the state’s website.

Hochul was sworn in Tuesday to complete the term of former governor Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo resigned after an investigation by the New York Attorney General’s Office found he sexually harassed 11 women and created a toxic work environment.

Hochul said there would be turnover with her administration.

“No one who is named doing anything unethical in the AG’s report will remain in my administration,” Hochul said during her first in-person address on Aug. 11 after Cuomo announced his resignation. “And I want to stand right here at the end of my term—whenever it ends—no one will ever describe my administration as a toxic work environment.”

On Monday, she announced two senior appointments to her administration.

Karen Persichilli Keogh will hold the position of Secretary to the Governor. She previously worked as Hillary Clinton’s senior staff as New York State Director and campaign manager during Clinton’s run for Senator.

The position of Counsel to the Governor will be Elizabeth Fine, the current Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Empire State Development.

But despite being an experienced politician, many New Yorkers are unfamiliar with Hochul.

In a NEWS10, NewsNation, Emerson College poll that was released prior to Cuomo’s resignation, it was found that 16.3 percent of New Yorkers polled had never heard of Hochul. When asked if they had confidence in the job she would do if she became governor, 28.1 percent said they had faith in her, while 23.6 percent said they did not. The remaining 48.3 percent were either unsure or had never heard of her.

I’m ready,” Hochul said in the Aug. 11 press conference. “I want people to know that I’m ready for this.”

At 62, she is a veteran of 11 campaigns that have taken her from town board to Congress.

She served as Erie County Clerk from 2007 to 2011. She then won a special election for the U.S. House seat in New York’s 26th Congressional District, flipping a Republican stronghold district for Democrats. 

She served as a congresswoman through 2013 but lost her re-election bid.

Cuomo named Hochul as his running mate in 2014. They won the election and were re-elected to a second and third term, respectively, in 2018.

As lieutenant governor, she traveled the state and chaired 10 Regional Economic Development Councils responsible for collectively investing $6.1 billion into more than 7,300 projects statewide. She also co-chaired the state’s Heroin and Opioid Abuse Task Force and spearheaded the “Enough is Enough” campaign to combat sexual assault on college campuses. 

As far as what policies will be tackled during the Hochul administration, the new governor has been relatively tight lipped. She said she would address these topics during her first speech as governor. The virtual address will take place at 3 p.m. from the state Capitol.

During the two-week transition period, however, Hochul has noted that some of her top priorities will include a mandatory mask requirement for schools, bolstering childcare to bring women back to the workforce, and affordable housing.

The Buffalo-area native earned a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and a law degree from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. Hochul has two children, Will and Katie, with her husband Bill

She has already stated her intention of running for re-election in 2022.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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