In her inaugural address as the leader of New York state, Gov. Kathy Hochul spoke sternly and confidently about what she envisions for her administration. We hope Hochul can make good on her promises.
Hochul focused much of her virtual 12-minute speech on the immediate challenge of the pandemic. She also set priorities for ending Albany’s culture of secrecy, bullying and intimidation. The short version: She will have none of it.
Hochul promised her administration will mark the beginning of a new era of transparency to focus on open and ethical government operations. Executive counsel will develop an expedited process to quickly satisfy all Freedom of Information Law requests and post the completed requests online for the public. Hochul said she will sign an executive order to require all state employees to undergo ethics training.
The COVID-19 vaccine will be required for all teachers, faculty and staff in New York school districts with a weekly test-out option, and more statewide vaccine mandates are on the way. Curbing the spread of the COVID delta variant is Hochul’s first priority. The vaccine will be required for all teachers and school personnel with an option to take a weekly COVID-19 swab test. This will be controversial, but it’s the right thing to do.
Hochul vowed to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates for all New Yorkers and combat vaccine myths, misconceptions and hesitancy and make sure booster shots, or the recently approved third dose of the vaccine, are available quickly and in adequate supply.
Hochul spoke of the courage of her family, including her immigrant grandparents who fled poverty in Ireland, and the early suffragettes she admires to fight for equality. We hope that same courage and desire for equality will serve all New Yorkers well.