Kathy Hochul was sworn in as New York’s first female governor shortly after midnight on Tuesday, replacing her disgraced predecessor, Andrew Cuomo, who resigned amid multiple scandals, including a report from the state attorney general that found he sexually harassed 11 women.
Hochul has served as Cuomo’s lieutenant governor since 2015. However, the pair were rarely seen together outside of campaign seasons. After Cuomo announced he would step down in her public comments, Hochul sought to stress her distance from the tainted executive as she prepared to take the reins and launch her own reelection bid next year.
Hochul will be under pressure to pursue beefed-up ethical standards in Albany and private workplaces across the state. Hochul is also facing early questions about a potential conflict of interest concerning her husband, William Hochul Jr., the general counsel and senior vice president at hospitality and gambling giant Delaware North, a company with significant business before the state.
Still, Hochul has been given a prime opportunity to define her political persona downstate, which could make or break her reelection hopes.