In two weeks time, New York will have its first female governor.
Kathy Hochul is currently Andrew Cuomo’s deputy, and will soon replace him in the top job after his dramatic resignation on Tuesday.
Mr Cuomo has quit– effective in 14 days time – following a blistering report from the New York attorney general’s office which accused him of sexually harassing 11 women he worked with. He denies the allegations, but has apologised for his behaviour.
His successor said in a tweet that she “agrees” with Mr Cuomo’s decision to step down: “It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers. As someone who has served at all levels of government and is next in the line of succession, I am prepared to lead as New York State’s 57th Governor.”
Mrs Hochul, 62, was born in Buffalo, New York, and is a granddaughter of Irish immigrants.
She earned her law degree from Catholic University in Washington in 1984, and after some time in local and county politics, she went to work for Congress in 2011. There she helped to draft legislation related to campaign finance and immigration reforms.
A centrist Democrat, Mrs Hochul has been in the New York Lieutenant Governor role since 2014.
She has kept herself firmly out of the spotlight, but is renowned for her work ethic – she visits all 62 counties in New York every year, and claims she covers enough miles to go around the earth more than 15.5 times.
In her current role, she co-chairs a task force to combat drug abuse, and also led Cuomo’s “Enough is Enough” campaign in 2015 which sought to tackle sexual assault on college campuses.
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Mrs Hochul has long been a staunch advocate for women’s rights. She helped her mother open a transitional domestic violence shelter, and has championed issues like equal pay, access to free contraception, and affordable healthcare.
She had reportedly been readying herself to step into Mr Cuomo’s shoes.
In an earlier tweet on the allegations against Mr Cuomo, she said: “Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any workplace, and certainly not in public service. The AG’s investigation has documented repulsive & unlawful behaviour by the Governor towards multiple women.
“I believe these brave women & admire their courage coming forward.”
President Biden is expected to speak to Mrs Hochul in the coming days.