‘I’m ready for this,’ Hochul says about becoming governor
‘It’s not something that we expected or asked for, but I’m fully prepared to resume the responsibilities of the State of New York.’
ALBANY – Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul held a news conference today, her first since Andrew Cuomo announced he will be resigning as governor on Aug. 24.
Hochul thanked Cuomo for his service, but made it clear she and Cuomo didn’t have a close working relationship. She said there would be turnover among his key staff members and she vowed her administration would not be described as a “toxic work environment” like Cuomo’s was in a report from Attorney General Leticia James.
That report was presented last week and detailed sexual harassment from Cuomo against 11 women. He made the announcement on Tuesday he would resign in 14 days to allow for a smoother transition to Hochul.
“I’ve been traveling the state and do not spend much time in his presence or in the presence of many in the state Capitol,” Hochul said during the news conference.
She said she is ready to take over as governor and already has talked with the leaders of the state Legislature, and other key business and religious leaders.
Hochul will serve the remainder of Cuomo’s term, which is about 16 months. She has been the lieutenant governor for about 6 ½ years, twice winning state-wide elections.
“I want people to know that I’m ready for this,” Hochul said. “It’s not something that we expected or asked for, but I’m fully prepared to resume the responsibilities of the State of New York.”
She will articulate a vision for the state soon after she takes office as New York’s first female governor on Aug. 24. She said continuing to fight Covid-19 and move the state forward after the economic devastation from the pandemic will be top priorities.
She also said she will work to “enhance” some of the state’s progressive policies. She promised she would “fight like hell” for all New Yorkers.
“Over the next two weeks I will continue meetings with my current and potential cabinet officials,” Hochul said. “I’ll build out my senior staff, and I’ll do what I’ve always done: Travel the state to meet New Yorkers and listen to them to assure that I have their backs and I will take their concerns and bring them to the state capitol. I’ll work with our partners at every level of government to come to solutions. People will soon learn that my style is to listen first and then take decisive action.”
She said she will keep up her annual traditions of attending the Erie County Fair and State Fair.
“I know this year and a half has been so challenging for families and businesses across our state and sometimes it doesn’t feel like it’s getting any easier,” she said. “The Delta variant is still raging and it’s going to take all of us to defeat it.”
She acknowledged school districts are preparing to soon open and they want to do safely.
“Our children are heading back to school soon, and there is a lot of anxiety from moms and dads I speak to, and teachers as well,” Hochul said. “It’s going to take all of us working together to keep our children safe, our teachers safe, and anyone who works in schools safe.”
She said the Cuomo administration leaves “a legacy of accomplishment” on many fronts, and she rallied support statewide for many of those policies.
“I was out there in the streets fighting for raising the minimum wage, fighting for paid family leave, and I was a champion of policies to eradicate the spectra of heroin abuse, something that has touched my family personally,” she said. “Child care issues, I’ve been out there making announcements on affordable housing, clean energy projects and economic development. So that will continue, those policies will continue and be even more enhanced.”