New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul is slated to replace three-term Democrat Andrew Cuomo following his resignation this month due to sexual harassment allegations, according to The New York Times. She will be the first woman to serve as governor of New York.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Hochul expressed alarm over the sexual misconduct claims, and emphasized that her office will never be a “toxic work environment.” Last week, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the results of an inquiry into the allegations, which found that Cuomo had harassed nearly a dozen women, including some members of his staff.
“I’ve not been in the rooms when this has happened, and it is actually sickening to me to see this surface, and my heart goes out to the young women in particular who have been toiling in this environment,” Hochul said. “They need to know they are welcome in my administration. I will respect them, and I have worked as an administrator and executive in many situations and have had many staffs, and every one of these individuals that have worked for me…would attest that there will be a very different environment here just because of who I am.”
Hochul noted that, though both Democrats, she and Cuomo did not have a close relationship or make many public appearances together, but refrained from further comment when asked whether impeachment proceedings should continue despite Cuomo’s resignation, according to NBC News.
While the outgoing governor proved particularly outspoken throughout the pandemic, Hochul is weighing her words. She has indicated the likelihood of mask mandates, and is monitoring the state’s case numbers “like a hawk.”
Hochul will serve out the next 15 months in office, and plans to run for a full term in New York’s gubernatorial race next fall.