Who Is Kathy Hochul? New York Will Have First Female Governor After Cuomo Resignation

New York will have its first female governor following Andrew Cuomo's resignation Tuesday after an investigative report said he sexually harassed female employees and created a hostile work environment.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, a Buffalo Democrat, will serve out the rest of Cuomo's term until 2023. She will be the first woman to hold the position in the Empire State's history.

Cuomo announced his resignation in a pretaped message. He again denied the report's findings, calling the controversy surrounding him untruthful and politically motivated. The decision to step down, he said, was because he "never want to be unhelpful in any way."

"My lieutenant governor is smart and competent. This transition must be seamless," Cuomo said. "We have a lot going on."

Hochul said she agreed with Cuomo's decision to resign.

"It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers," she wrote on Twitter. "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."

Hochul, 62, has served as Cuomo's second-in-command since 2015. During that time, she chaired the state's regional economic development councils and a task force on heroin and opioid abuse.

She also led Cuomo's "Enough Is Enough" campaign to combat sexual assault on college campuses.

"Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any workplace, and certainly not in public service," Hochul said in a statement after the months-long probe into the allegations against Cuomo was completed.

The state attorney general's investigation, the findings of which were detailed in a 168-page report, concluded that Cuomo sexually harassed 11 different women, including current and former employees. Cuomo and members of his staff also retaliated against at least one of the women who publicly shared her allegations, the report said.

"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 said.

Who is Kathy Hochul?
Kathy Hochul becomes New York's next governor following the resignation of Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday. Above, Hochul participates in the Women's March on January 18, 2020, in New York City. John Lamparski/Getty Images

Hochul grew up in western New York, earning a bachelor's from Syracuse University in 1980 and a Juris Doctor degree from Catholic University in 1984. She started her political career in Washington, D.C., working as an aide to two members of Congress from New York: Representative John LaFalce and Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Hochul returned to New York and was elected to serve on the Hamburg Town Board in Erie County. In 2007, she was appointed the Erie County clerk.

Four years later, Hochul won a special election for a representative's seat in Congress. She was the first Democrat to win the seat in decades but lost her reelection bid the next year following a redistricting.

Cuomo nominated Hochul to be his lieutenant governor when he ran for his second term in 2014. Hochul won reelection as lieutenant governor in 2018 after defeating Jumaane Williams by close to 7 percentage points in a Democratic primary.