If Andrew Cuomo resigns, Lt. Governor Kathleen Hochul will become the first woman governor of New York State.
On Tuesday, independent investigators appointed by New York State Attorney General Letitia James concluded that Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and retaliated against at least one. The investigators’ report also found that the governor’s office fostered a hostile work environment. On Friday, one of his accusers filed criminal charges against the governor.
Because Cuomo may resign to avoid impeachment and outright removal, the Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Hochul is on track to become the fifty-seventh Governor of New York. That said, who is Kathleen Hochul?
Kathleen Hochul (pronounced HOH-kull) was born in Buffalo, New York in 1958. She attended the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. Hochul, a member of student government led a partially successful boycott of the campus bookstore and led protests to get Syracuse University to divest from apartheid-era South Africa. Her protest to get the university stadium’s name changed to honor Ernie Davis, the first African-American Heisman Trophy winner, flopped. Hochul interned at the New York State Assembly before graduating from Syracuse in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in political science.
After college, Hochul attended Catholic University of America in Washington, DC and earned a law degree in 1984. After a brief stint with a law firm, Hochul became a legal and legislative aide to Congressman John LaFalce and Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
Hochul temporarily dropped out of the workforce to raise her children. In 1994, Hochul ran for--and won--a seat on the Hamburg Town Board. She served for fourteen years, advocating for safety improvements and the removal of tolls from a section of the Thruway.
In 2003, the Erie County Clerk appointed Hochul to be his deputy. In 2006, Hochul, along with her mother and aunt, opened Kathleen Mary House, Inc., an organization founded to provide transitional housing for women escaping domestic violence. She also founded The Village Action Coalition, a group which advocated for small businesses.
In 2007, when the Erie County Clerk left office, Hochul was appointed to temporarily fill the post. The job required her to oversee the filing, recording, and maintenance of real estate and land transactions, vehicle registrations, and court pleadings among other…