Hochul takes oath as first woman elected NY’s governor, vows to focus on ‘affordability crisis’

Photos by Darren McGee/ Office of Governor Kathy Hochul – Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks at her inauguration ceremony on Sunday in Albany at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 January 2023 at 12:24 pm

ALBANY – Gov. Kathy Hochul was sworn in on Sunday as the state’s governor, the first woman elected to serve in the position. The previous 56 governors were men.

She became governor in August 2021 following the resignation of Andrew Cuomo. Hochul won her own four-year term by defeating Lee Zeldin, a Republican, in November.

During her inauguration on Sunday at Empire State Plaza in Albany, Hochul said she hoped her election and role as governor would inspire girls and other young women.

Gov. Kathy Hochul takes the oath of office while joined by some of her family members, including her son Will Hochul in back.

Hochul is from Hamburg and previously served in Congress in a district that included Orleans County. As lientenant governor, she made frequent stops in Orleans County promoting state initiatives with the Erie Canal or Lake Ontario shoreline protection. She also celebrated projects in Orleans, including the $17 million renovation of the former Holley High School. Sometimes she came to Medina for a getaway with her husband Bill Hochul.

The governor said her upbringing has prepared her to lead the state.

“People often ask how I get through this,” she said at the inauguration. “You know, it’s kind of a rough and tumble job for a woman, isn’t it? I said, ‘I got steel running through my veins.’ My daddy was a steelworker. My grandpa was a steelworker. My uncles were steelworkers. So I can handle this. Don’t worry about me.”

Hochul said the state leaders and communities need to work on the “affordability crisis in housing and energy,” fight the rise in hate crimes and “the gun violence epidemic.”

“And we’re still dealing with the lingering effects of the pandemic that disrupted every aspect of our lives,” she said. “The loss of learning for our children, the loss of jobs for our workers, the tear in the social fabric that led to mental health challenges and increases in crime. We’re still reeling from all this.”

She said she will presenting proposals during her Jan. 10 “State of the State” speech to make the state safer and more affordable. The state will also be a leader in the country in combating climate change and protecting the environment, she said.

Robert Duffy, a former lieutenant governor and Rochester mayor and police chief, now leads the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce as President and CEO. He attended the inauguration.

Governor Hochul’s understanding of and appreciation for Upstate New York and the Finger Lakes region continues to prove beneficial as we have seen important investments in economic development, urban revitalization, and workforce readiness,” Duffy said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing to work with Governor Hochul and her administration on their goals to promote economic growth and prosperity, to make our neighborhoods and communities safer, and to close the talent-gap faced across myriad industries.”