As the state attorney general began an investigation Monday into allegations of sexual harassment leveled against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, questions rose about the woman who would succeed the governor should he resign or is removed from office.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul is the highest-ranking female elected official in New York State.
If Cuomo leaves office before the end of his term, Hochul would become the first woman governor in New York history. She would hold the office through the remainder of Cuomo’s term, which runs through 2022.
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.