‘It’s about time’: Local lawmakers on Kathy Hochul becoming New York governor

Transition of Power

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — At 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul was sworn in as New York’s 57th governor. She will be the first female in history to hold the position in the Empire State. 

Hochul as first female governor of New York:

Regardless of political affiliation, many lawmakers in the Greater Rochester area are ready to welcome Hochul into her new role. 

“I’m very proud of, of Kathy. I’m very proud that we have a female in this office. It’s about time,” Assemblymember Stephen Hawley said.

Hawley says Hochul represented him in Congress for her one term and he called her taking over as governor “a breath of fresh air.”

“I think it’s an exciting day for the state of New York, regardless of your party,” Assembly Member Josh Jensen said. “I have a three year old daughter, so to have, you know, somebody that she can look up to which, amongst so many other people… that’ll be exciting.”

Senator Samra Brouk said it’s important to have women in leadership positions, all over the world.

“I am the first woman in the 55th senate seat in a few decades, the first black woman ever. These things matter, representation matters. And I think truthfully, having more women in leadership, more women in government is only a good thing for New York State, and for the United States at large,” Sen. Brouk said.

Hochul’s history in politics:

Hochul has a long history in politics. She served on town boards, was Eric County Clerk, became a member of Congress, and served as Lt. Governor of New York. Her experience is something lawmakers say will make her transition easier. 

“I think a lot of New Yorkers already have a relationship with the incoming governor Kathy Hochul because she’s been doing the work for eight years, she’s gone to all 62 counties across the state of New York,” Sen. Jeremy Cooney said.

“This is not a situation where we’ll have to have the new governor go across the state and do a ‘get to know you tour.’ This is an opportunity where Governor Hochul can go across the state and say, ‘let’s get back to work tour,’ not have the distractions of the past several weeks, and focus on doing the business of New York,” he said. 

Hochul as a native from Western New York 

Many lawmakers are also excited to welcome a Western New Yorker to the role of governor. Hochul is from the Buffalo area and will be the first governor in a century to come from Western New York. 

“I’m hopeful we’re gonna have you know, somebody who really cares about the Finger Lakes in Western New York because they’re from here,” Jensen said. 

“It’s exciting to have someone who shares our experience here in western New York, someone who was born here, who really cut their teeth in governing here in western New York, I hope that she will remember those roots and, and everything that they stand for, and really the values that we stand for here in western New York, and think of those when she’s making decisions now, as she sits in this governor position,” Sen. Brouk said. 

What do lawmakers hope to see from Hochul during her time as governor?

Assemblymember Jensen said he hopes to see different political groups work together more.

“I’d like to see a return to cooperation where Republicans, Democrats, majority, minority, can come together and work as one for the betterment of our entire state. And while we may have disagreements on policy, let’s sit down together and say, ‘how can we make this better for the 20 million people who call our state home,’” Jensen said. 

Sen. Cooney said it’s important New Yorkers have a leader who will listen.

“I think the biggest characteristic that we would benefit from as a state is for those in elected office to listen more and talk less,” he said. “Kathy Hochul is a public servant that knows how to show up to events, but then to listen, and to respond to the needs of our community.”

“Rochester is different than Buffalo, Buffalo is different than Manhattan, Manhattan is different than Long Island. Each of us have our own unique needs, and she understands that because she’s not only been visiting each of these communities, but she knows how to listen and develop relationships with local leaders,” Sen. Cooney said.

Sen. Brouk said she’s excited to work with Hochul on tackling the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine hesitancy. 

“I, for one, am looking forward to working with Governor hopeful on that I think she brings a lot of experience to that and we will continue to carefully look at the information look at the science and and take steps to protect essentially as many New Yorkers as we can.”

Assemblymember Hawley hopes to see less mandates when Hochul takes over as governor. 

“As far as I’m concerned, we need less taxes, and less fees, and less mandates, especially when it comes through this pandemic. Less mandates on businesses, less mandates on education. And so hopefully, we’ll be able to get back to bringing in jobs and businesses and retaining businesses and allowing businesses to operate and flourish without governmental interference,” Hawley said. 

What’s next?

Kathy Hochul will take over until the end of Andrew Cuomo’s term, through 2022. However, she has already said she plans to run for a full-four year term next year. 

Hochul announced two appointments for her administration Monday. Karen Persichilli Keogh will be appointed as Secretary to the Governor. Elizabeth Fine will become Counsel to the Governor. 

Statement from Assemblymember Harry Bronson:

“Today marks a historic day for Kathy Hochul and all New Yorkers as she becomes the first woman Governor of the Empire State.  I know that she will serve the families of New York with integrity, ingenuity, and a compassion for all people across our great state.

I am confident that we will be proud of the incredible and diverse talent that she will bring to her team, and that she will create a positive work culture that can be trusted by families to lead us through the array of issues facing our state. I look forward to partnering with Governor Hochul and her team to address COVID-19, getting our children safely back to school, keeping older New Yorkers safe wherever they live, helping hardworking women and men get back to work, supporting our small businesses, and doing all of this with a focus on progressive equality.

Today, I join so many of my fellow New Yorker’s in wishing our new Governor well as she guides our state to a brighter future — Godspeed Governor Hochul.”

Statement from Monroe County Executive Adam Bello:

“History was made this morning as Kathy Hochul was sworn in as New York’s first female Governor. Governor Hochul is no stranger to Monroe County and has always been responsive and ready to help during her service as Lt. Governor. Just recently, I had the honor of introducing Governor Hochul at a summit on gun violence. We have had in depth discussions on issues of importance to Monroe County such as COVID-19 response, crime, and the gun violence plaguing our communities. I know with her strong roots in Western New York, she will be a strong partner and advocate for us in Albany. Welcome, Governor Hochul.”

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