Kathy Hochul became the first female governor of New York at the stroke of midnight Tuesday, taking control of a state government desperate to get back to business after months of distractions over sexual harassment allegations against Andrew Cuomo.
The Democrat from western New York was sworn in as governor in a brief, private ceremony in the New York State Capitol overseen by the state’s chief judge, Janet DiFiore.
Afterward, she told WGRZ, a Buffalo television station, she felt “the weight of responsibility” on her shoulders.
“I’ll tell New Yorkers I’m up to the task. And I’m really proud to be able to serve as their governor and I won’t let them down,” she said.
Hochul’s ascent to the top job was a history-making moment in a capital where women have only recently begun chipping away at a notoriously male-dominated political culture.
Cuomo left office at 12:00 a.m, two weeks after he announced he would resign rather than face a likely impeachment battle. He submitted his resignation letter late Monday to the leaders of the state Assembly and Senate.
On his final day in office, Cuomo released a pre-recorded farewell address in which he defended his record over a decade as New York’s governor and portrayed himself as the victim of a “media frenzy.”