Kathy Hochul made her debut of sorts as New York’s soon-to-be governor, as she will take over from Andrew Cuomo in 13 days when his resignation will become effective.
“At the end of my term, or whenever it ends, no one will ever describe my administration as a toxic work environment,” Hochul, the current lieutenant governor, told reporters Wednesday during a press conference, giving her a national platform as the event was carried by CNN and MSNBC.
In this first appearance since Cuomo announced he would step aside amid a slew of sexual harassment allegations, Hochul gave succinct answers to questions, often direct and to the point. But perhaps more than anything she tried to convey that her administration would be a fresh start after Cuomo, who had a dramatic fall from grace after sexual harassment allegations first surfaced earlier this year.
She pledged there will be turnover in the governor’s office when she takes office, as she tried to distance herself from Cuomo. She said that no one named as doing anything unethical in state Attorney General Letitia James’ report on Cuomo’s conduct would remain in her administration.
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“I think it is pretty clear that the governor and I have not been close, physically or otherwise in terms of much time,” she said.
Asked whether she would release data on Covid and nursing homes, another controversy that plagued Cuomo’s administration, she said, “My administration will be fully transparent when I am governor. I am not governor yet.”
Hochul will be the first female governor of the Empire State, taking on a high-profile role that typically draws national media attention. Although relatively unknown as a national political figure, she did serve in the House of Representative from 2011-2013.
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