Cuomo Resignation: The Hochul Aftermath


Amidst a time of chaos and confusion, along with accusations and controversies, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has chosen to resign his position.

Investigations of multiple issues, such as nursing home deaths and sexual harassment violations, have been following Cuomo since December 2020, and have continued to develop throughout the past couple of months.

Initially Cuomo refused to step down, but calls for resignation from fellow politicians, congressional members and President Joe Biden have pushed Cuomo to resign.

Olivia Doerr, the former digital contact producer for "Rochester First," covered the story as it was happening and provided insight as to how this situation came to be.

“It was kind of a perfect storm,” Doerr said. “That’s how I would explain the Andrew Cuomo saga.”

From being a governor many people looked up to through times of uncertainty, to losing some New York democrats' respect in the matter of months, Andrew Cuomo’s resignation has been anything but amicable.

Confidently Consistent

Doerr went on to explain when the pandemic started ramping up, people were looking for a strong leader, which they found in Cuomo. His daily COVID-19 briefings and immediate action provided reassurance for those who were not finding that comfort during a state of social and political division.

“In a time when a lot of people were looking for leadership, Andrew Cuomo really stepped in and was a voice of consistency and encouragement,” Doerr said.

However, while Cuomo provided a sense of consistency and reassurance, controversies with the acceptance of COVID-19 positive patients in nursing homes and sexual assault accusations began to arise and jeopardized his political and professional career.

“When you climb higher, you’re more at risk and there is more to lose,” Doerr stated as a response to Cuomo’s downfall.

“When you climb higher, you’re more at risk and there is more to lose.”

Impeachment trials were planned in response to accusations of sexual assault, though Cuomo chose to ultimately resign as governor as opposed to going through the impeachment process.

Who’s Hochul?

Despite the sudden chain of events leading to Cuomo’s resignation, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul was more than ready to step up and take over, becoming the first female governor in the history of New York on Aug. 24, 2021.

“I want people to know I’m ready for this,” Hochul said. “It’s not something we expected or asked for, but I am fully prepared to resume the responsibilities of the state of New York.”

“I want people to know I’m ready for this.”

Having previously worked as Deputy County Clerk from 2007–2011, as well as a congresswoman from 2011–2013, Hochul has experience in politics.

Contrary to her predecessor though, Hochul has not been one to like being in the spotlight.

While Cuomo spent the majority of his time in his office and attending various press conferences and interviews, Hochul preferred to keep a low profile by traveling across the state and the country to promote various campaigns and movements with little media coverage.

Despite this though, she was still active in spearheading many campaigns for Cuomo, such as the "Enough is Enough" campaign, along with many state initiatives as well.

To start, Cuomo launched the "Enough is Enough" campaign in 2015 in order to raise awareness and "combat sexual violence on college campuses."

Hochul took initiative from there as she toured colleges within the state of New York to present and advance the movement.

Additionally, Hochul has strongly emphasized her advocacy for working families, as she actively fought for the $15 minimum wage and paid family leave.

Finally, Hochul has drawn attention to difficulties in access to higher education in this growing age of technology, and has fought for free tuition from SUNY schools for middle-class families.

In addition to not wanting to be particularly “close” to and with Cuomo though, Hochul has very clearly stated her intents to create a different environment than what was documented in Cuomo’s administration.

“Nobody will ever describe my work environment as toxic,” Hochul said in her first news briefing.

While starting to show initiative as governor, some New Yorkers are still weary based on questionable actions by Hochul in the past. Most notably with her original opposition for undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver's license without social security; though she has since changed her views on this. Similarly, Hochul was endorsed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) in 2011, becoming the second New York Democrat to be backed by this group. With this in mind, it's imperative to be critical of her future operations as New York Governor.

Great Minds Think Unalike

Hochul has been determined to show the differences between her and Cuomo's governing style.

She has emphasized how she plans on listening carefully before making decisions — contrary to Cuomo’s seemingly on the spot decision making — which can result in a variety of different political outcomes.

Hochul’s steady determination and thoughtful decision making might be what New York needs, though it may leave New Yorkers anxious.

“I think overall, anyone who chooses to listen before responding is in a better position for responding in a more productive way,” Doerr said, “though I don’t know if that’s the case in politics.”

Living in a time of questions and confusions, people are constantly looking for answers, and turn their attention to leaders to provide immediate clarity.

According to Hochul, her style is to “listen first and then take decisive action,” though she already has some plans of action in place, especially in regards to the COVID-19 situation.

One of which, according to "Rochester First," is traveling the state to meet with New Yorkers to listen and assure them that she is taking their concerns to Albany.

Additionally, Hochul also claims she is in communication with key state health officials in terms of how to address the current COVID-19 situation.

Despite the quick transition and few days in office, Hochul’s determination seems to bring hope to those who felt as though they have lost it in the leader they looked to for consistency; though, only time will tell.

Regardless, change can often be a good sign, especially in politics. With new thoughts and plans brings new potential, and this is further exemplified through New York's new Governor, Kathy Hochul.