Who Is Kathy Hochul? New York Lt. Governor Would Take Over if Andrew Cuomo Resigns

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing renewed calls to resign following a report overseen by the state Attorney General Letitia James that found he had violated state and federal laws by sexually harassing 11 women.

The investigation into allegations against the Democratic governor also found that his senior staff worked to retaliate against at least one female employee who made accusations against him. It was carried out by two outside investigators.

Since James announced the report's findings on Tuesday, Cuomo has faced a chorus of calls to resign, including from President Joe Biden, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

There have been renewed calls for his impeachment in the state legislature, with some members of the Democrat-led state senate and assembly publicly arguing that proceedings to remove Cuomo from office should begin.

The possibility of Cuomo's removal from office will bring greater attention to the woman who would succeed him: Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul.

Hochul is a Democrat who has served as lieutenant governor since 2015. She was Cuomo's running mate in his second gubernatorial election in 2014 and is his second lieutenant governor, succeeding Robert Duffy.

Hochul served in the House of Representatives for New York's 26th congressional district from 2011 to 2013, having won a special election caused by the resignation of Republican Congressman Chris Lee.

She had previously enjoyed a 15-year political career in Buffalo and, according to CBS New York's Tony Aiello, has "forged a reputation as personable and tireless" since coming to office seven years ago.

If Cuomo is forced to resign or is impeached and removed from office, Hochul would become the first female governor the state has ever had.

However, she would be the second lieutenant governor in recent memory to finish out her predecessor's term if Cuomo resigns. In 2008, Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned in a sex worker scandal. Lt. Governor David Paterson assumed office and served the remainder of Spitzer's term.

During her time as lieutenant governor, Hochul has promoted "Enough is Enough" to fight sexual assault on college campuses. She has also been active in dealing with COVID-19, meeting local officials and visiting all 62 of New York's counties in the process.

Hochul had previously said little about the issues plaguing her boss even as other prominent New York Democrats publicly criticized him and call for him to resign. She is reportedly not regarded as part of the governor's inner circle. Following the first two allegations against Cuomo, she said she supported "an independent review."

Hochul issued a statement on the sexual harassment report on Tuesday.

"Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any workplace, and certainly not in public service. The Attorney General's investigation has documented repulsive and unlawful behavior by the Governor towards multiple women. I believe these brave women and admire their courage coming forward," Hochul's statement said.

"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 said.

When reached by Newsweek on Wednesday, Hochul's office pointed to the statement she issued on Tuesday.

Cuomo has given no indication that he intends to resign, however. In his response to the report on Tuesday, the three-term governor denied the accusations against him.

Update 8/04/21 10.45 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include new information and to change the video, headline and photo. The article was originally published on March 2, 2021.

Cuomo Appears with Kathy Hochul in 2014
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (L) and his choice for Lieutenant Governor, former congresswoman Kathy Hochul, campaign together at the Hotel Trade Council during a reelection campaign event on September 8, 2014 in New York City. Hochul could succeed Cuomo to the governorship if he is impeached or chooses to resign following a recent report in sexual harassment allegations. Andrew Burton/Getty Images