Cuomo resigns: Who is Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, set to be NY’s first woman governor

Cuomo Crisis

NEW YORK — Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned on Tuesday, one week after the New York attorney general’s scathing report detailing sexual harassment and misconduct against 11 women, clearing the way for Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul to become the Empire State’s next governor.

Cuomo initially dismissed the findings of the independent investigation and continued to deny many of the allegations against him.

While the attorney general’s investigation concluded without any referrals to criminal prosecutors, local authorities could decide to use its evidence and findings to mount their own cases.

Cuomo announced he would step down just one day after the state Assembly’s judiciary committee met for the first time for an inquiry into whether he should be impeached.

The governor said his resignation will be effective in 14 days, on Aug. 24, at which point Hochul will become the first woman governor in New York history. She will hold the office through the remainder of Cuomo’s term, which runs through the end of 2022.

Hochul released a statement shortly after Cuomo’s resignation, saying she agreed with the governor’s decision.

“It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers,” Hochul said. “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.”

Last week, Hochul released a statement calling Cuomo’s actions, as detailed in the attorney general’s report, “repulsive and unlawful behavior.”

“Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any workplace, and certainly not in public service. The Attorney General’s investigation has documented repulsive and unlawful behavior by the Governor towards multiple women. I believe these brave women and admire their courage coming forward. No one is above the law. Under the New York Constitution, the Assembly will now determine the next steps. Because Lieutenant Governors stand next in the line of succession, it would not be appropriate to comment further on the process at this moment.”

NY Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul

Hochul is the highest-ranking female elected official in New York State.

As lieutenant governor, Hochul chairs 10 Regional Economic Development Councils responsible for collectively investing $6.1 billion into more than 7,300 projects statewide. 

She also co-chairs the state’s Heroin and Opioid Abuse Task Force and spearheaded the “Enough is Enough” campaign to combat sexual assault on college campuses. 

Hochul was born and raised in Buffalo. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and a law degree from Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

After serving as County Clerk from 2007 to 2011, Hochul 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.

While running for his second gubernatorial term in 2014, Cuomo announced Hochul as his choice for the lieutenant governor nomination after Robert Duffy decided not to run again.

Hochul and Cuomo won the election and were re-elected to a second and third term, respectively, in 2018.

Hochul has two children, Will and Katie, with her husband Bill. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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