Watch CBS News

Kathy Hochul Sworn In As New York's 57th Governor, First Woman To Hold The Office

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Kathy Hochul is now New York's first female governor.

Hochul, a Buffalo native with a long career in government, replaces Andrew Cuomo, who resigned following a series of sexual harassment allegations.

Hochul took the oath of office three weeks to the day after Attorney General Letitia James released a scathing investigation that concluded Cuomo had sexually harassed multiple women.

She promised a "fresh, collaborative approach" to government, and to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

WATCH: Ceremonial Swearing In Of Gov. Kathy Hochul

As CBS2's Marcia Kramer reports, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore did the honors. Husband Bill Hochul, the man now know as the "first gentleman" of New York, held the bible as Hochul made history as the first woman to ascend to the highest rung of power in New York.

She is the state's 57th chief executive. Fifty-six men held the job before her. She wore suffragist white to symbolize that there is a new sheriff in town, a woman with a mind of her own and a new way of doing things.

"I want people to believe in their government again. It's important to me that people have faith. Our strength comes from the faith, the confidence of the people who put us in office," Hochul said.

The ceremony was symbolic. Hochul, a 62-year-old former congresswoman from Buffalo, actually was sworn in just after midnight, when Cuomo's resignation became effective.

Web Extra: Read Cuomo's Resignation Letter (.pdf)

From the get-go, she made it clear she will be the "un-Cuomo." She not dictate, she will listen and work with people.

"I'm looking forward to a fresh, collaborative approach. It's how I've always conducted myself. It's nothing new for me, but it's something I'm planning on introducing to the state Capitol," Hochul said.

You don't get more "un-Cuomo" than that. The former governor's dictatorial style credited, to some extent, with creating the toxic workplace that led to his downfall. Her first act as governor was to meet with the legislative leaders, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

"We have much to discuss," Hochul said.

Among the issues to be discussed: Vaccination mandates. Hochul brought up the matter in her inaugural address, saying New Yorkers can expect new vaccine requirements now that the Pfizer vaccine has received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

She also said she had already discussed the issue with de Blasio, who Monday enacted vaccination mandates for school staff.

And, good news for de Blasio: She regards him as her partner, not her punching bag.

"He called me prior to his announcement yesterday to alert me, and we talked about this era of blindsiding, and that there's been no blindsiding," Hochul said.

Among the first officials to wish Hochul well was James, whose bombshell investigation finding that Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women pushed him out of office. James called it an "historic" day.

"I congratulate Governor Hochul on this incredible accomplishment and wish her well in her new role building on the progress of our great state," James said.

James is widely expected to challenge Hochul when she seeks to run for reelection next year.

Hochul's chances will hinge on how she performs in the next several months: Coping with the pandemic, concerns about the Delta variant, masking and vaccination requirement, and the economic recovery from the pandemic.

And she'll also have to decide who to fire from the Cuomo administration.

"I want people who know what they're doing surrounding me, and I'll listen to their advice," Hochul said.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.