WNY cheering on Kathy Hochul as first female governor of New York: ‘A breath of fresh air for the state’

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HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) — People all over Western New York are excited to see Hamburg native Kathy Hochul take over the highest seat in the state in just 13 days.

Not only is Hochul from the Buffalo area, but she’s also the first woman to become governor in New York State.

“An exciting day for the women’s rights movement,” is how Jennifer Gabriel from the National Women’s Hall of Fame described the news that Hochul will become New York’s first female governor.

“Anytime a woman is able to break through a glass ceiling that seemed completely unbreakable is cause for celebration,” Gabriel said.

Gabriel said Hochul has been a friend to women’s equality and she has no doubt she’ll continue those conversations in this role.

“Although society has taken a while to catch up to some of the conversations around women in the workplace and what we face, we can look to history to show we have been making progress for many, many years and this is another step and an important step towards true equality.”

Hochul got her start on the Hamburg Town Board in the same seat councilwoman Karen Hoak sits now. Hoak’s father sat on the board with Hochul.

“I got to see firsthand that women can in fact do it all,” Hoak said. “Women in fact can take on leadership roles and balance a family.”

Hochul served on the Hamburg Town Board, then as Erie County Clerk, then in Congress before becoming lieutenant governor in 2015.

Hoak said Hamburg residents are proud to be part of Hochul’s story and are cheering her on from here at home.

“Kathy has demonstrated that she’s capable, she’s prepared,” she said. “She has a unique ability to balance strength and kindness as a public servant.”

Hamburg town councilman Shawn Connolly also grew up knowing Hochul.

“From the first time I met her I knew she as different. Being in politics for a while and meeting a lot of people over the years there’s a lot of people interested, a lot of people want to be involved, but she was different you could tell the level of energy, the level of passion, the commitment, the follow-through was off the charts,” he said.

Hochul graduated from Hamburg High School in 1976. Superintendent Michael Cornell said the district has been proud of Hochul for a long time but even more so now.

“I think people look at Kathy Hochul as a real change and a breath of fresh air for the state,” Cornell said.

Gabriel said she hopes this inspires generations of women to come. “It’s time to celebrate soon to be Governor Hochul and we look forward to working with her.”

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