ALBANY — Gov. Kathleen Courtney “Kathy” Hochul vowed to change the culture in Albany and deepen relationships with legislative leaders Tuesday for her ceremonial swearing in as New York’s 57th governor and first female to lead the state.
Hochul, 62, took and signed her oath of office in a private ceremony with family at the state Capitol at 12:01 a.m. in a traditional midnight transition of power.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s term expired at 11:59 p.m. Monday. The former governor, who resigned in disgrace Aug. 10, submitted his letter of resignation shortly after 8:30 p.m. Monday.
State Chief Judge Janet DiFiore swore Hochul in just after midnight and again in a ceremony at 10 a.m. at the state Capitol with family, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, D-Bronx, and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers.
“I want people to believe in their government again,” Hochul said during a brief question-and-answer session with reporters. “It’s important to me that people have faith in their government. Our strength comes from the faith and the confidence of the people who put us in these offices and I take that very seriously.”
The new governor will outline more detailed plans for the state in a 3 p.m. address in the state Capitol that is closed to the press and public. Hochul is expected to provide updates about the COVID-19 vaccine and regulations, including potential statewide mandates for teachers.
Hochul spoke with President Joe Biden on Monday night.
Biden, a fellow Democrat, pledged his full support behind Hochul’s administration and to provide assistance as the state recovers damage from hurricane Henri over the weekend and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Heastie stands ready to work with Hochul to move the state forward.
“Gov. Kathy Hochul has served at every level of government and is a qualified and dedicated public servant,” he said in a statement Tuesday. “Over the course of her time in public service, she has visited every corner of this state and developed strong relationships with local representatives.
“My colleagues and I know that our state is facing many significant challenges, and we are prepared to partner with Gov. Hochul in addressing them,” Heastie said. “We look forward to working with her to ensure our children can safely return to school, New Yorkers are able to stay in their homes, small businesses can thrive again, our work to end to the scourge of gun violence continues and to fight the resurgence of COVID-19 to finally put this pandemic behind us.”
Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt was quick to offer his congratulations on Hochul’s well-wishes.
“I am looking forward to working with this new administration to try to improve the lives of New Yorkers all across the state,” Ortt said. “Gov. Hochul takes office in the face of many challenges. It is my hope that she will work with elected leaders in both parties to address pressing issues like the pandemic, rising crime, continued outmigration and other threats to the future of our state. Saving our state will require input from across the political spectrum, not just the most radical voices from one region of our state.”
State Attorney General Letitia James congratulated Hochul immediately after her midnight swearing-in.
“Today is a historic day for New Yorkers with the swearing in of our first female governor, Kathy Hochul,” James said in a prepared statement. “I congratulate Gov. Hochul on this incredible accomplishment and wish her well in her new role building on the progress of our great state. I look forward to continuing to work with her and the entire incoming administration.”