NEW YORK — Incoming Gov. Kathy Hochul is trying to raise her national and local profile.
She announced she will run for a full-term in 2022 and is already indicating she will not be afraid to implement new COVID restrictions: especially a mask mandate in schools.
“My view is that children and everyone in the school environment will be wearing masks,” Hochul said on the Today Show Thursday.
But she stressed that she will be officially deferring to Gov. Cuomo for the next week and a half, until he resigns.
Philosophically, Hochul said she will follow the COVID numbers and work with local leaders to shape policy. It would be a departure from Cuomo’s iron-fisted top-down approach. Hanging over Hochul will be the aftermath Cuomo’s many scandals from the sexual harassment, to nursing homes, to other possible abuses of power including his book deal.
There is a fierce debate over whether or not to continue impeachment, which Hochul aims to avoid.
“I want the people of New York State to know I will not be distracted,” she said.
Fresh off a vacation, long-time Cuomo nemesis Mayor Bill de Blasio says the state must both battle COVID and get accountability.
The mayor said he has spoken to Hochul and looks forward to having a better relationship.
“What we were experiencing in Albany was not normal,” de Blasio said, citing his relationships with Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey and Senator Chuck Schumer.
However, it is yet to be seen just how cordial things remain. De Blasio leans more toward the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, whereas Hochul has been historically more moderate. The mayor, who’s out of office at the end of the year, continues to not rule out a run for governor himself.
Meanwhile, Hochul said she definitely will seeking a full term after finishing out the next year and three months for Cuomo.