Kathy Hochul Is Sworn in as New York's First Female Governor

Former Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul was sworn in as governor on Tuesday following the resignation of Andrew Cuomo due to allegations of sexual harassment

kathy hochul
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Former Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul has officially made history.

Early Tuesday, the 62-year-old was sworn in as the governor of New York, becoming the first female of New York state to hold the position following the resignation of Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo stepped down amid allegations of sexual harassment.

"Honored to be officially sworn in as New York's 57th Governor," Hochul tweeted from her new official governor account shortly after midnight. "Looking forward to the full swearing-in ceremony with my family later this morning, and addressing the people of New York later today."

Hochul was sworn in at the State Capitol by the state's chief judge, Janet DiFiore, in a private ceremony. She will serve out the rest of the term through the next election, in November 2022.

Kathy Hochul
Kathy Hochul becomes the first female governor of New York. Hans Pennink-Pool/Getty Images

For the first time in New York State history, two women hold the highest political positions. As Hochul becomes governor, New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins becomes lieutenant governor, until Hochul names her own replacement.

Hochul occupies an unusual role after seven years as Cuomo's No. 2. Now stepping in to replace him amid a national scandal, she promises that her administration will have a "1,000 percent culture change" from what an investigation by the New York Attorney General's Office determined was a "hostile" work environment created by Cuomo.

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In her administration, Hochul recently told PEOPLE, "I will encourage and expect anybody to come forward if they see anything that could be construed as inappropriate. I'll make sure people are well familiar with the laws we have in place, because we do have some of the toughest sexual harassment laws in the nation."

"But it's about enforcing them. It's about allowing women to feel safe and welcome in the workplace so they can excel," she said.

Kathy Hochul
Hans Pennink-Pool/Getty Images

To that end, Hochul said she plans to "appoint a number of high-profile women in the next few weeks."

"We'll be there showing that there's a difference," she continued. People will be convinced that it's changed — because look who's in office now."

During Cuomo's farewell address to New York on Tuesday, he sent well wishes to Hochul as she takes over.

"At midnight, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will become governor. She is smart and competent, and I believe she will step up to the challenge. I wish her every success," Cuomo said. "Thank you for the honor of serving you. Thank you for empowering me to fight for you. And never forget: Always stay New York tough, smart, united, disciplined and loving. It's the essence of what makes New Yorkers so special. Ever Upward.

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