Former Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul was inaugurated in as New York’s first female governor early Tuesday, succeeding Andrew Cuomo, who resigned after sexual harassment claims.
“Honored to be officially sworn in as New York’s 57th governor,” Hochul tweeted following the ceremony at the State Capitol in Albany. “Looking forward to the full swearing-in ceremony with my family later this morning, and addressing the people of New York later today.”
Hochul, 62, was sworn into office by Janet DiFiore, the state’s chief judge, during a private ceremony held at 12:01 a.m. while a public ceremony is scheduled to be held later Tuesday morning.
Hochul’s ascension to governor comes after New York Attorney General Letitia James published a damning report following a five-month investigation that found Cuomo had sexually harassed 11 women, including former and current state employees.
A week later, Cuomo, while proclaiming his innocence, announced his resignation, stating he was stepping down to “let the government get back to governing.”
James said that Tuesday was a historic day for New Yorkers as they welcome their first woman governor.
“I congratulate Gov. Hochul on this incredible accomplishment and wish her well in her new role building on the progress of our great state,” James said via Twitter. “I look forward to continuing to work with her and the entire incoming administration.”
In his farewell speech on Monday, Cuomo, 63, refuted the allegations against him and accused them of being political in nature.
“Let me say now that when government politicizes allegations and the headlines condemn without facts, you undermine the justice system and that doesn’t serve women and it doesn’t serve men or society,” he said, stating that everyone has the right to come forward but their allegations must be “scrutinized and verified.”
“Facts still matter,” he said.
Cuomo also described James’ report as “designed to be a political firecracker” that prompted a political and media stampede.
He added that he is a fighter but in this situation the government comes first and if he continued as governor it would only result in the paralysis of his office.
“That is just not an option for you and not an option for this state,” he said.
Hochul is scheduled to hold her first public address as governor at 3 p.m.
Prior to being sworn in, Hochul on Monday appointed Karen Persichilli Keogh, who has worked with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as secretary to the governor and Elizabeth Fine, who has worked for the Justice Department, as her counsel, putting three women at the top of New York State’s executive office.
“Karen Persichilli Keogh and Elizabeth Fine bring depth of knowledge, leadership and experience that it will take to meet the challenges New Yorkers face,” Hochul said in a statement. “As governor I will assemble a strong team to turn the corner on the pandemic and serve the best interests of New York, whether it’s defeating COVID, getting more people vaccinated or strengthening our economy.”
Hochul said Aug. 11 in her first press briefing after Cuomo announced his resignation that she will detail her “vision” for the state in her first address to the public.
“The promise I make to all New Yorkers right here and right now, I will fight like hell for you every single day like I’ve always done and always will,” she said.