NEW YORK, Aug.11 (Reuters) – Lieutenant Governor of New York Kathy Hochul on Wednesday distanced herself from Governor Andrew Cuomo who resigned after accusations of sexual harassment, saying that in taking over, no official who behaved unethically would not keep his job.
“No one will ever describe my administration as a toxic work environment,” Hochul, who will become governor in two weeks, said at a press conference in Albany.
As the state’s No.2 elected official, Hochul is set to succeed Cuomo, his fellow Democrat who resigned on Tuesday after the state attorney general found he had sexually harassed women, creating a hostile workplace.
Hochul expressed support for many of Cuomo’s policies, including on social and environmental issues, but drew a sharp divide on the issues that led to the governor’s resignation. She said it was “very clear” that she and Cuomo had not been close.
As she prepares to take charge of New York, the fourth most populous U.S. state, Hochul said she would spend the next two weeks assessing the spread of COVID-19 and speaking with health officials of State.
Cuomo had come under scrutiny as to whether his administration was seeking to cover up the extent of nursing home deaths in the coronavirus pandemic. He denied any wrongdoing and defended his handling of the health crisis.
When asked how she would handle deaths in nursing homes, Hochul said her administration would be “completely transparent”.
Hochul has pledged to deliver another public speech setting out her vision and announcing the rest of her cabinet when she becomes governor.
Hochul’s friends and former colleagues have described her as practical, open-minded and professional, with a particular passion for environmental issues and tackling domestic violence.
Thomas Quatroche, Jr., who served on a city council alongside Hochul for more than a decade, said Hochul was happiest when he “spoke to voters and heard how decisions at whatever level of government made them feel. affected “.
With only 16 months left in the term, Hochul will soon be faced with the decision to run in the November 2022 election to get four more years as governor.
Hochul had largely worked behind Cuomo’s shadow since being elected lieutenant governor in 2014. She has a long career in the state’s public service. In addition to serving on her city’s city council for 14 years, she was named Erie County Clerk and represented a district in the U.S. Congress that no Democrat had won for 40 years until her victory in 2011. .
Reporting by Julia Harte; edited by Jonathan Oatis, Cynthia Osterman and Grant McCool
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