Lieutenant Gov. Kathy Hochul vowed that her administration would be a fresh start and a turning of the page from the Cuomo administration when she becomes governor in 13 days.
Hochul’s comments came while facing the press for the first time since Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday he will be resigning in the aftermath of numerous sexual assault allegations.
“No one who is named as doing anything unethical in the attorney general’s report will remain in my administration,” said Hochul. “At the end of my term, whenever it ends, no one will ever describe my administration as a toxic work environment.”
She made a point to try to distance herself from the scandal-plagued Cuomo.
“I think it is pretty clear that the governor and I have not been close, physically, or otherwise in terms of much time,” Hochul said.
Hochul said she agreed with Cuomo’s decision to step down as governor. She also said she spoke with Cuomo yesterday and he offered his full support for a smooth transition but clarified the 14 day transition period was not her idea.
“It’s not what I asked for. However, I’m looking forward to a smooth transition.”
Born in Buffalo to a working-class Irish-American family, Hochul served as the County Clerk of Erie County for four years and a term in the House of Representatives from 2011-2013. As Lieutenant Governor, she chaired the Task Force on Opioid Abuse and Addiction, while traveling to every corner of the state.
Hochul will be taking the reins in a time where the State is facing numerous challenges like the Delta variant’s rise, the economy’s recovery, and students returning to schools in the next month. Small businesses are also struggling due to the pandemic. She did say that getting vaccinated was the best option for dealing with Covid.
“I’ll do what I’ve always done,” said Hochul. “I will travel the state to meet New Yorkers, to listen to them, to assure them that I’ve got their backs. I will take their concerns and bring them back to our state capitol.”
As for what happens next with Cuomo, Hochul said it was far too premature to discuss whether she would pardon Cuomo if he were to be criminally charged. While no action has been taken against Cuomo in a criminal form yet, there is a possibility that could come to fruition.
Hochul said that she expects to announce her pick for Lieutenant Governor in the next two weeks. She pledged to use the transition period to make hirings for senior staff members and state commissioners.
“It’s not something we expected or asked for, but I am fully prepared to assume the responsibilities as the 57th governor of the state of New York,” said Hochul.
This story first appeared on PoliticsNY.com.