NEW YORK NOW – When former Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy said he wouldn’t run with Gov. Andrew Cuomo after his first term, he enthusiastically handed the reins over to Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who will now ascend to the governor’s office in two weeks.
After Cuomo resigned Tuesday, Duffy gave her the same endorsement, saying she’s prepared for the job, and has the experience to back that up.
“She’s a quick study, very smart, very energetic, and has her experience,” Duffy said during a media availability Tuesday, according to audio from WXXI news. “I think she will step in and not miss a beat.”
Hochul will become the first governor from Western New York in quite a while, following the election of former Gov. Myron Clark in 1854.
And, even in recent years, it’s difficult to remember a time when someone living in upstate New York was elected governor. Former Gov. George Pataki lived in the suburbs of New York City, but below where many would consider upstate.
When speaking to reporters, Duffy said he’s proud that Cuomo’s temporary successor will be from upstate New York.
“I’m also very proud that the incoming governor is from upstate New York, and I do think upstate needs to have a representative there,” Duffy said “Now we have a governor who is from upstate, and I think that will serve her very well, with her experiences downstate, but also growing up in Buffalo.”
Hochul still lives in Buffalo, where her political roots started. She first served in the office of Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Democrat from New York, as an attorney. She later left the job because she couldn’t find affordable, accessible child care.
Her first personal experience in politics was her election to the town board in Hamburg, a town in Erie County. She went on to be elected as Erie County Clerk, and after a short stint in Congress, she was asked to be Cuomo’s running mate in 2014.
And Hochul won’t only be the first governor from upstate in several years, she’ll also be the first woman to serve in the position in state history.
“Being the first woman governor is certainly a great milestone for the state sends a very strong message, especially in terms of many of the situations we’ve seen over the last year,” Duffy said.
On Cuomo’s resignation, Duffy said he agreed with the decision, which he said would allow some closure for the women who’ve accused Cuomo of sexual harassment in recent months.
“I do think resignation will hopefully prevent any further trauma to the women who came forward,” Duffy said. “I think they’ve had enough up to this point, and I hope that this will prevent that from happening.”
Hochul will formally take office in 14 days, following Cuomo’s last day in office.