New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul became Gov. Kathy Hochul after being sworn in at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday in a private ceremony. Ten hours later she was sworn in again at a public ceremony in the Red Room of the Capitol.
Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, the former district attorney of Westchester County, administered the oath both times to the new 57th governor of the state and the first female to hold the top spot.
Her swearing-in follows Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation after several months of defending himself against sexual harassment accusations by former staffers as well as creating a toxic workplace.
Cuomo delivered his farewell address at noon on Monday.
Following her public swearing-in, Hochul pledged that her administration will function in a spirit of cooperation with legislative leaders.
Hochul said that she will be assembling a team to address the situation in which New York state has been sluggish to release federal funds designed to prevent tenants from being evicted.
Tenants have complained that they still face the threat of eviction because the vast majority of the more than $2 billion has not been distributed and the application process has been cumbersome and loaded with red tape and technical failures. Landlords have been complaining that they are in financial difficulty because they aren’t getting adequate aid to meet expenses.
“I spoke with President Biden last night to talk about a number of issues. He pledged his full support to my administration – anything we need,” Hochul said. She said that Biden offered federal help in the cleanup from the weekend storm.
Hochul said New Yorkers can expect to see a change in the culture of Albany.
“I’m looking forward to a fresh, collaborative approach,” Hochul said, noting that after the ceremony she would be meeting with State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and others.
When asked if there is one particular thing she hopes to accomplish as governor, Hochul said, “I want people to believe in their government again. It’s important to me that people have faith. Our strength comes from the faith and confidence of the people who put us into these offices and I take that very seriously.”
Hochul said that she anticipates having a better relationship with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio than did Cuomo. She pointed to a number of conversations they’ve already had and said, “There will be full cooperation because I need his best and brightest integrated with my best and brightest. For me, that’s a simple approach, what I’ve always done.”
The Democrat joins eight other female governors serving across the U.S. They are: Kay Ivey of Alabama; Kim Reynolds of Iowa; Laura Kelly of Kansas; Janet Mills of Maine; Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan; Michelle Grisham of New Mexico; Kate Brown of Oregon; and Kristi Noem of South Dakota.
In addition, Lou Leon Guerrero is the first and only woman to serve as governor of Guam.