SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — With increasing pressure on Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign, the focus is shifting to his Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul, who the state constitution puts next in line. A longtime friend of hers says she’s prepared for the job.

“Will Kathy Hochul be the next governor?” NewsChannel 9’s Andrew Donovan asked.

Jeremy Zellner replied, “I don’t want to speculate.”

While he doesn’t know if the job will be open, Erie County’s Democratic Party chairman endorses Kathy Hochul to lead New York.

Zellner said, “Whether it’s Brooklyn, to Binghamton to Buffalo, Kathy can connect with people. It’s because she’s lived a life that she is able to connect with people as a regular person, as I said, she just happens to be a regular person at the end of the day who happens to be Lieutenant Governor.”

The Buffalo-area native became politically active as a Syracuse University student, where she led the charge to name the Carrier Dome for Ernie Davis instead. After law school, she worked in Washington before returning home and winning a seat on the Hamburg town board, where she led the movement to remove tolls for a section of the Thruway. She was the Erie County Clerk before one term in Congress.

“I’ve known Kathy now almost two decades, Andrew. She’s tenacious. That’s the one word I’d say describes her. She’s hard working. She’s worked at every level of government, and knows how to make government work for people,” Zellner said.

If Cuomo resigns, Hochul would become the first woman ever to hold the state’s highest office, and the first true Upstate New Yorker in exactly 100 years.

Zellner said, “She will be ready if something should happen with the Governor.”

The keyword is if.