February 27, 2024

New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul speaks during a press conference the day after Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation on August 11, 2021 at the New York State Capitol in Albany, New York.

Cindy Schultz | Reuters

New York Governor Kathy Hochul promised Tuesday to promote “dramatic cultural change” in Albany, a message she delivered the day after her predecessor Andrew Cuomo resigned over a sexual harassment scandal.

Hochul, the first female governor in New York history, highlighted the top priorities of her new administration in a video address: combating the spread of the Covid-19 Delta variant, efficiently sharing pandemic supplies and concentrating New Yorkers Government without distractions.

“And that begins with a dramatic change in culture, responsibility and no tolerance for people who cross the border,” said Hochul.

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The new governor announced that she is ordering a revision of the Empire State’s sexual harassment and ethics guidelines.

Hochul pledged to lead a government that “will focus on open, ethical governance that New Yorkers trust”. She also vowed to sign an executive order “requiring ethics training for every employee of the New York state government, which is alarmingly not required across the board.”

Her call for ethical reform came shortly after CNBC reported that her daughter-in-law was a top lobbyist for Biogen, a pharmaceutical company that sought to sway New York state lawmakers. Hochul’s husband is now an executive at a gaming and hospitality company headquartered in Buffalo, New York.

Cuomo did not mention Hochul’s speech by name. In a farewell speech Monday afternoon, Cuomo said he believed Hochul, a Democrat who served as lieutenant governor prior to his appointment as governor, “will rise to the challenge.”

Cuomo made the shocking announcement of his resignation two weeks earlier when he was investigating the aftermath of a bomb report from New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office in which eleven women accused him of sexual harassment.

Hochul said at the time that she believed Cuomo’s accusers. Before leaving office, Cuomo remained defiant over some of the claims made against him. “The truth will be [come] out in time, I’m sure of that, “he said.

Hochul also instructed the New York State Health Commissioner on Tuesday to introduce universal mask requirements in all public and private schools if necessary. She will also pursue options to prescribe vaccines for school staff.