Kathy Hochul became the first female governor of New York at the stroke of midnight Tuesday, taking control of a state government desperate to get back to business after months of distractions over sexual harassment allegations against Andrew Cuomo, the AP reports. The Democrat from western New York was sworn in as governor in a brief, private ceremony in the New York State Capitol overseen by the state’s chief judge, Janet DiFiore. Hochul's ascent to the top job was a history-making moment in a capital where women have only recently begun chipping away at a notoriously male-dominated political culture. Cuomo left office at 12:00am, two weeks after he announced he would resign rather than face a likely impeachment battle. He submitted his resignation letter late Monday to the leaders of the state Assembly and Senate.
In his final day in office, Cuomo released a pre-recorded farewell address in which he defended his record over a decade as New York’s governor and portrayed himself as the victim of a “media frenzy.” Hochul was scheduled to have a ceremonial swearing-in event Tuesday morning at the Capitol, with more pomp than the brief, legally required event during the night. She planned to meet with legislative leaders later in the morning and make a public address at 3pm. For the first time, a majority of the most powerful figures in New York state government will be women, including state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Attorney General Letitia James and the chief judge, DiFiore. Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, released a statement saying the former governor was exploring his options for his post-gubernatorial life but had “no interest in running for office again.”
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