New York : Kathleen C. Hochul became the first woman to become New York's Governor on Tuesday after predecessor Andrew Cuomo resigned over allegations of sexual harassment.
"Today, for the first time in New York history, a woman will enter that arena as governor," Hochul said during her address, adding that she was "willing to be bloodied and marred in the pursuit of doing what's right for the people of this great state," reported The New York Times. In her first address as the state's 57th governor, Hochul spoke broadly of confronting New York's most pressing needs -weakened economy, the opioid crisis and the coronavirus pandemic, reported The New York Times.
"I've been in the trenches with local health leaders and officials battling the pandemic day after day after day," Hochul, a former congresswoman, said in an 11-minute speech. "Your priorities are my priorities, and right now, that means fighting the Delta variant."
Hochul said that her immediate goal was to ensure a safe transition back to school next month, and said she would direct the Health Department to create a statewide policy requiring "universal masking for anyone entering our schools."
She said that school workers should be required to get the vaccine or be subject to weekly testing, though she later conceded she did not have the executive power to mandate such a requirement, reported The New York Times.
Hochul also said that she expected to implement new statewide vaccine requirements, now that the Pfizer vaccine has full federal approval, and added that she was considering reopening mass vaccination sites to administer booster shots.
The ceremony, held in the ornate Red Room on the second floor of the Capitol, was dotted with subtle nods to the barrier-breaking nature of Hochul's ascension, reported The New York Times.
Her ascension capped a whirlwind chain of events that followed a series of sexual harassment allegations that culminated with Cuomo's resignation.
Hochul assumes office three weeks after a state attorney general investigation concluded that Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, allegations he vehemently denied while casting the report as politically motivated.
A week later, Cuomo announced his resignation, bringing his 10-year reign to an abrupt end after rising to national fame during the pandemic last year, reported The New York Times.