Kathy Hochul Takes the Reigns in New York


Photo provided using the Creative Commons License via Google.

Gigi Hanner

After a long past few months, the New York state government is getting ready to go back to normal. On Tuesday morning, former lieutenant governor Kathy Hochul was sworn in as the 57th governor of New York. She is also the first female governor the state has ever had. 

She took office after the resignation of Governor Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo faced numerous controversies and media battles before giving a two-week resignation notice on August 10th. It was predicted that Cuomo would face an impeachment battle if he hadn’t resigned.

New governor Hochul is committed to rebuilding the state administration, saying that she doesn’t want her work environment to ever be called toxic. After Cuomo’s mistakes were revealed, Hochul made sure to assert that she never worked closely with him. 

Cuomo is under investigation for sexually harassing 11 women, and has been accused of fabricating Covid-19 deaths, particularly in state nursing homes. The FBI has even launched an investigation into this cover-up. Deaths in nursing homes are said to have been undercounted by nearly 50 percent. According to Cuomo’s secretary, Melissa DeRosa, August 2020 nursing home data had been withheld to prevent former President Donald Trump from gaining political advantage over the democratic administration.

A week before Cuomo resigned, President Joe Biden called on him to resign immediately. Biden said Cuomo had done a good job professionally, but that his decision to resign was respectable. 

The sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo severely damaged the public’s opinion of him. He had previously been praised for his daily Coronavirus briefings, and he had even received an Emmy award for them, which has since been revoked. 

With the combination of the allegations and the fabrication of nursing home deaths, Cuomo’s reputation has been hurt tremendously amongst democrats. On Monday the 23rd, Cuomo released a pre-recorded farewell address to the people of New York. Many regarded this address as inappropriate and in poor taste, as he claimed that his controversy was a part of a media frenzy rather than being based on fact.

Now, Cuomo is gone, and many are asking the question: How will Cuomo be held accountable beyond losing his position? But Kathy Hochul is already getting to work and trying to restore accountability and efficiency in her office.

On August 25th, Hochul added 12,000 deaths to the New York counter that had not previously been disclosed. Also on Wednesday, State Senator Brian Benjamin was chosen to become Lieutenant Governor under Hochul. Hochul additionally removed individuals from the staff who were thought to have contributed to Cuomo’s toxic work environment that enabled him to harass and intimidate. 

Hochul certainly has a lot of hard work to do before the integrity of the state government is fully restored and trusted. Hochul hopes to start her administration with a clean slate, and has even announced that she will run for a full term in November 2022.