All eyes are on Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who would replace Cuomo if he stepped down or was impeached, as he faces new calls to quit following a New York attorney general probe alleging he sexually harassed 11 people, including his own staff members.
If elected, Hochul, 62, would be New York’s first female governor. When David Paterson took over as governor of New York after Eliot Spitzer resigned over a prostitution scandal in 2008, the state saw a similar shift in power.
The upstate native, who has been in office since 2015, has a lengthy background in state politics in New York.
Hochul was born in Buffalo, New York, and graduated from Syracuse University with a B.A. in 1980 and Catholic University with a J.D. four years later.
According to her official New York state profile, she worked for a private Washington D.C. business after graduating from law school before working as legal counsel and legislative assistant to U.S. Rep. John LaFalce and subsequently U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
Hochul was elected to the Hamburg Town Board in Erie County, New York, in 1994, and served until 2007, when she was appointed to the position of Erie County Clerk.
“After the collapse of the [Western New York] industrial base,” her profile stated, “she acted as a liaison to the local economic development agency and sought to attract new firms and generate employment.”
Hochul also tried to assist displaced women throughout her tenure in government. Kathleen Mary House, a transitional house for victims of domestic violence, was founded by her, her mother, and her aunt in 2006.
She served on the Armed Services and Homeland Security committees during her time in Congress.
When Cuomo sought a second term in 2014, he selected Hochul to be his lieutenant governor. In 2018, Cuomo and Hochul were re-elected.
Hochul has been in charge of several state initiatives and governing bodies under the Cuomo administration. She is the head of ten regional economic development councils and the State Workforce Investment Board, which assist decide on project funding in New York.
Cuomo named her to the Heroin and Opioid Abuse Task Force as a co-chair. According to her profile, Hochul also led the governor’s “Enough is Enough” campaign to prevent sexual assault on college campuses.