When Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul takes over as New York’s next governor, she will be stepping into a tense and tumultuous political climate.
Her predecessor Andrew Cuomo has left behind a series of scandals and well as what’s been reported as a toxic workplace environment that she will be tasked with cleaning up in Albany. She will also have to navigate a legislature currently dealing with the fallout from what’s looking like an abandoned quest to impeach – which many, including Cuomo’s alleged victims, are taking as an unwillingness to truly hold the governor to account. Additionally, Hochul, a centrist Democrat from Western New York, is inheriting a fractious relationship between Albany and City Hall that she’ll likely want mend and strengthen in order to solidify downstate support. Not to mention, her ascendancy comes as the state and the nation continue to grapple with an unrelenting pandemic.
How she deals with these complicated challenges in the coming months ahead could determine her chances of securing a full term for her administration in 2022, which she announced last week is her intention. To that end, Hochul has already gotten to work.
In an interview on Face the Nation Sunday, Hochul said she intends to pick a New York City elected as her lieutenant governor, as well as who will likely appear next to her on the ticket in 2022.
“I am an upstater, even though I’ve spent thousands of hours in New York City, and I’m well familiar with the challenges. But I want someone who lives there. I want someone who understands the challenges firsthand,” said Hochul. State senators Jamaal Bailey, of the Bronx, and Brian Benjamin, of Harlem, have both been floated in news reports as possible options. “So I’ll have a very diverse administration, but also excited about the prospect of having a true partnership with a lieutenant governor who I bring — I believe will bring a lot to the table. So that’ll be announced shortly after I’m sworn in.”
Manhattan representatives at the state and federal level say that Hochul is well suited to take over in a time of turmoil, offering a much cooler demeanor and collaborative spirit.
“I have known and worked with Lieutenant Governor Hochul for nearly a decade. Her steadfast work ethic, faith, and tough as nails attitude is why New York State elected her to be Lieutenant Governor, and it’s why she is ready to meet this moment as Governor,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. Maloney and Hochul worked together in Washington in 2011 during Hochul’s short stint in Congress when she had a surprisingly won a district that had been served by Republicans for decades. A year later, however, she lost her reelection bid to Republican Chris Collins.
Maloney added, “I am looking forward to working with her on policies concerning women and families, our State’s rebuilding from the COVID-19 crisis, and to make New York State a state of the art infrastructure hub.”
Senator Brad Hoylman, who represents much of Manhattan’s west side, said Hochul will bring a different dynamic to Albany.
“Governor Cuomo was very combative with the state legislature. There are a lot of issues that have to be addressed. Now, including making certain that we beat back the Delta variant and ensure that more New Yorkers are vaccinated, Making certain that federal money for rent relief gets out the door, and money for excluded workers – over $2 billion dollars is yet to be distributed,” said Hoylman. “She will bring a fresh perspective to making New Yorkers’ lives better.”
He added that he expects Hochul to work well with legislators from all over New York.
“She’s by nature a collaborative person, and has a good relationship with legislators because she has worked very hard to develop relationships all across the state,” he said.
Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright said she strongly supports Hochul and noted the historic significance of her taking office.
“She will make history as the first woman to hold the office of governor of New York,” said Seawright. “We will work with her to advocate the best interests of the people of our state as she begins the transition process over the next ten days. The people of New York deserve nothing less.”
Assembly Member Dan Quart also said he was ready to work with Hochul on these pressing issues, and in particular, the issues that led to Cuomo’s resignation.
“What remains abundantly clear is that we have much work left to do to protect employees – government and otherwise – from workplace sexual harassment. When the Legislature is back in session, enacting the Sexual Harassment Working Group’s legislative agenda, which includes banning no-rehire clauses and protecting workers against retaliation, should be our day one priority,” said Quart. “Additionally, it’s long past time New York has a truly independent and functioning ethics body. I have long supported eliminating our state’s toothless Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) and replacing it with a mechanism for accountability that actually works.”
Hochul is expected to officially take office on Aug. 24.
““I am looking forward to working with her on policies concerning women and families, our State’s rebuilding from the COVID-19 crisis, and to make New York State a state of the art infrastructure hub.” Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney