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Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will become New York's first female governor after Cuomo's resignation

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kathy hochul
Lieutenant Governor of New York Kathy Hochul speaks at a ribbon cutting ceremony in the Bronx borough of New York, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. AP Photo/Seth Wenig

New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will succeed Gov. Andrew Cuomo once he resigns in two weeks.

Cuomo announced on Tuesday that he will step down in 14 days. His decision came a week after independent investigators for the state's attorney general's office found that the governor sexually harassed 11 women, including his current and former employees.

Hochul, 62, is set to become the first woman to lead New York. She will serve for the rest of Cuomo's term until 2023.

"I agree with Governor Cuomo's decision to step down. It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers," Hochul said in a statement.

"As someone who has served at all levels of government and is next in the line of succession, I am prepared to lead as New York State's 57th governor," she added.

Hochul has not yet said whether she will seek a full term and run for governor in 2022. Cuomo, who has served as New York's governor since 2011, has withdrawn from the upcoming election.

Cutting her teeth as an aide for the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Hochul has assembled a robust network in New York politics over the decades, serving as Erie County clerk and in the US House from 2011 to 2013.

Her role as lieutenant governor was mainly geared toward promoting the governor's agenda and appearing frequently at local events. She has visited all of the Empire State's 62 counties and balanced the ticket with Cuomo as someone from the more rural Upstate New York region.

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Yonkers Democrat, will assume the responsibilities of lieutenant governor. Hochul can pick an interim replacement for Stewart-Cousins' role.

If Hochul decides to run for reelection in 2022, she would be able to select her own nominee for lieutenant governor on the ticket.

Cuomo's resignation marks a dramatic turn of events after he defended himself against the slew of sexual harassment allegations and rejected the findings of Attorney General Letitia James' 165-page report last week. The months-long investigation found that Cuomo sexually harassed female staffers by "engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching, as well as making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature."

Ahead of his resignation announcement on Tuesday, Cuomo apologized for offending women with behavior that he described as "outdated."

Congressional and state lawmakers last week swiftly called on Cuomo to resign in light of the report's conclusions. President Joe Biden also said the governor should step down.

"Certainly we look forward to working with her," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said of Hochul during a press briefing on Tuesday.

New York experienced a similar leadership shakeup in 2008, when Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned amid a prostitution scandal and Lt. Gov. David Paterson took over.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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