by Adriel Colón-Casiano, Esq.
In the early hours on August 24, 2021, New York’s 57th Governor was sworn into office. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul shortened her title and became the first woman to ever assume the governorship.
Andrew M. Cuomo, the previous Governor, resigned with more than a year left in his third term, following an explosive report from Attorney General Letitia James. The report detailed alleged sexual assaults, described a hostile workplace environment, and alleged other misconduct. Facing an impeachment inquiry in the state Assembly and calls from virtually every elected official to resign, he ultimately relented.
Governor Hochul is not new to politics and served as the Lieutenant Governor for Cuomo for the last two of his terms. Before running for Lieutenant Governor, she was Erie County Clerk in 2007 and then ran for Congress in 2011 when she flipped the traditionally Republican-held seat to Democratic.
The Governor wasted no time in announcing her agenda. On her first day she announced a comprehensive plan to ensure a safe return to schools in the fall. This plan will direct the Department of Health to require masks at all schools, mandate vaccines for school employees and launched a $585 million testing program in schools. She will continue the regular updates on COVID-19 vaccination rates and institute additional mask requirements in other areas as well.
The Governor also announced she would invest funds into an advertising effort to increase rent relief program applications in underserved communities. Importantly, tenants who apply can’t be evicted while the application is being reviewed.
She also faces number of challenges. The pandemic of course, and in a way, she must now make some tough decisions on vaccination and the incoming school year. With Cuomo’s abrupt resignation the Governor still must make critical staffing decisions, who to keep from the former Governor and attract new talent to fill open positions. Finally, she also must consider her political future. The Governor announced she will run for in a full term as governor in 2022, which is shaping up to be a potentially crowded field with Cuomo’s departure.
Photos were taken from the https://www.governor.ny.gov/ website
Adriel Colon-Casiano is an attorney and lobbyist for the New York State Bar Association. He is a board member for the Capital District Black and Hispanic Bar Association and also sits on the Alumni Board for the University at Albany. In his free time, Adriel likes to paint and sculpt.