(WETM) – A day for the history books here in New York as Gov. Kathy Hochul took her oath of office and became New York’s 57th Governor. Not only will she be the first Upstate Governor since Nathan Miller in 1921, but she is also the first woman to hold the position in the state’s 244-year existence.
She is a true Upstate New Yorker, who grew up in a suburb of Buffalo. She takes the state’s highest office after another yet scandal. Gov. Cuomo announced his resignation two weeks ago after Attorney General Letitia James released her report saying substantial evidence was found in the sexual harassment claims made against the Former Governor. On Tuesday, Hochul made it clear that a top priority of her administration is creating trust between Albany and residents.
”I want people to believe in their government again,” Gov. Hochul said in her address.
The stage is set for Hochul, but she faces an uphill battle with several hot-button issues left unresolved by the previous administration. In her first public address as Governor, Hochul outlined her top three goals for her first days in office: combating the delta variant, getting COVID aid to New Yorkers quickly, and creating a culture change in the Capital. Her focus on COVID-19 remains a top priority as children, teachers, and staff head back to school in the coming weeks.
“I’m immediately directing the Department of Health to institute universal masking for anyone entering our schools,” Hochul added.
Transparency and accountability remained top of mind for the new leader in the wake of the multiple scandals. One of her first steps in doing this will be to mandate in-person sexual harassment training for members of her Administration.
Many New Yorkers are waiting for Hochul to announce who her second-in-command will be, which is one of the most important decisions she will make in her first days in office. She has said her selection will be someone who is well-known to New Yorkers and will be from downstate. This choice is not only important for her Cabinet, but also for her Gubernatorial ticket in 2022. Hochul granted herself a 45 day transition period to assemble what she calls her “dream team”.
“I’ll be identifying my administration members as time goes on,” Hochul continued.
Hochul’s direct and straightforward style of leadership will remain the same. Her boots on the ground and collaborative approach, she was seen over the weekend in Suffolk County meeting with officials during Tropical Storm Henri.
“I roll up my sleeves and I get the job done,” she added in a recent tour of a school in Queens, N.Y.
Her leadership style was defined by her working-class upbringing in a town outside of Buffalo, N.Y. She has held numerous positions in local, state, and Federal government, even winning an upset Congressional Special Election in 2011.
While many residents wait in anticipation for her Lieutenant Governor announcement, many are eyeing 2022 and her run for Governor in her own right.