Hochul moves into spotlight as scandal roils Cuomo’s reign

Hochul moves into spotlight as scandal roils Cuomo’s reign
Lieutenant Governor of New York Kathy Hochul speaks at a ribbon cutting ceremony in the Bronx borough of New York, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: As New York’s lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul has spent years visiting the factory floors and coffee shops of each of the state’s 62 counties for countless civic cheerleading events and ribbon-cutting ceremonies.

Now, with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo facing possible impeachment over multiple sexual harassment allegations against him, her next stop may be the state Capitol of Albany.

Hochul would become New York’s first woman governor if Cuomo were removed from office.

A centrist Democrat from western New York, Hochul has worked deep in Andrew Cuomo’s shadow for her two terms in office, but this week she has joined the chorus of politicians denouncing the governor after an independent investigation concluded that he had sexually harassed 11 women while in office.

In a statement on Tuesday, Hochul wrote: “I believe these brave women,” calling Cuomo’s behavior “repulsive and unlawful”.

She also acknowledged the possibility she will become governor.

She added in her statement: “Because lieutenant governors stand next in the line of succession, it would not be appropriate to comment further on the process at this moment.”

To many residents in New York, Hochul is an unknown quantity, serving since 2015 in a job that is mostly ceremonial. A typical afternoon in late July had her announcing job training funding in Utica, touring downtown Cazenovia with the small town’s mayor and discussing manufacturing in Rome.

Hochul has not been part of Cuomo’s inner circle of allies and aides. Her name was not mentioned in the investigative report, released by the state’s Attorney General Letitia James, that detailed not only the harassment allegations against Governor Cuomo but also efforts by his staff to discredit some of his accusers.

You may read: Top aide to Cuomo resigned amid sexual harassment furor