As New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces new calls to resign following a New York attorney general investigation that alleges he sexually harassed 11 women, including his own staff members, all eyes are on Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, the woman who would succeed Cuomo if he stepped down or was impeached.
Hochul, 62, would be New York’s first female governor if she assumes office. New York faced a similar change in power in 2008 when David Paterson assumed the office following Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s resignation over a prostitution scandal.
On Tuesday afternoon Hochul, who chaired the governor’s “Enough is Enough” campaign to combat sexual assault on college campuses, tweeted a statement about the attorney general’s findings. She called Cuomo’s behavior “repulsive & unlawful.”
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“No one is above the law. Under the New York Constitution, the Assembly will now determine the next steps. Because Lieutenant Governors stand next in the line of succession, it would not be appropriate to comment further on the process at this moment,” she wrote in a tweet.
Caitlin Ochs/ReutersDemocratic Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul addresses the crowd after news of her reelection at the midterm election night party in New York, Nov. 6, 2018.
The upstate New York native, who has been in her position since 2015, has had a long history with New York state politics.
Born in Buffalo, New York, Hochul earned a B.A. degree from Syracuse University in 1980 and a J.D. from Catholic University four years later.
After graduating from law school, she worked for a private Washington D.C. firm before serving as legal counsel and legislative assistant to U.S. Rep. John LaFalce and later U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, according to her official New York state bio.
In 1994, Hochul was elected to the Hamburg Town Board in Erie County, New York, and served until 2007 when she was appointed the Erie County Clerk.
“She served as liaison to the local economic development agency and worked to attract new businesses and create jobs following the loss of the [Western New York] manufacturing base,” her bio said.
During her time in office, Hochul also worked to help displaced women. In 2006, she, her mother and her aunt established the Kathleen Mary House, a transitional home for victims of domestic violence.
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In 2011, Hochul was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in a special election for New York’s 26th district. Chris Collins would defeat her in the 2012 election.
During her tenure, she sat on the Armed Services and Homeland Security committees.
Mary Altaffer/APNew York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, right, stands with Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul during an an election night watch party hosted by the New York State Democratic Committee, Nov. 6, 2018, in New York.
Cuomo nominated Hochul to be his lieutenant governor when he successfully ran for his second term in 2014. Cuomo and Hochul won re-election in 2018.
Under the Cuomo administration, Hochul has overseen several state projects and governing groups. She chairs 10 regional economic development councils, which help decide investments for projects in New York and the State Workforce Investment Board.
Cuomo appointed her as co-chair of the Heroin and Opioid Abuse Task Force.
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