New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who will take over in Albany in two weeks when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's resignation is final, said shortly after his announcement Tuesday that she agrees with his decision to step down in the wake of accusations that he sexually harassed several former and current female staff members.
"It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers," Hochul said in a statement posted on Twitter. "As someone who has served at all levels of government and is next in the line of succession, I am prepared to lead as New York State’s 57th governor."
Hochul, who has been the state's lieutenant governor since 2015, chaired Cuomo's "Enough is Enough" campaign on sexual assault on college campuses, reports ABC News. When she takes over, she will be the state's first female governor.
Hochul has a long history in New York state politics but has not indicated if she'll run for the Albany mansion after she finishes Cuomo's term.
New York Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs, in a statement after Cuomo announced he was stepping down, said the party welcomes Hochul as the state's first female governor and said New York could "not be in better hands."
"From assisting her mother (to) run a transitional domestic violence shelter to helping make the property tax cap permanent, Kathy Hochul has always and relentlessly fought for the people of New York ... I am confident that incoming Governor Hochul's empathy, work ethic, and authentic concern for the welfare of its citizens will make her an outstanding governor for our state," Jacobs' statement, posted on Twitter, said.
The statement, however, did not address the controversy Cuomo faces after State Attorney General Letitia James released a report last week outlining the accusations by several women that he had sexually harassed them. The statement also did not mention Cuomo's decision to resign or even refer to him by name, but instead lauded his incoming replacement.
Meanwhile, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who often sparred with Cuomo over the years, applauded his decision to step down, reports The New York Times.
"Make no mistake, this is the result of survivors bravely telling their stories," said de Blasio. "It was past time for Andrew Cuomo to resign and it’s for the good of all New York."
Karen Hinton, one of the women who has accused Cuomo of touching her inappropriately, said she wasn't "celebrating" Cuomo's resignation, but she does "celebrate the power of women who came forward."
U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, a Democrat who represents Queens, said Cuomo "has done the right thing by resigning" but still praised him for focusing on infrastructure, the $15 minimum wage, and leading the state during the pandemic.
Several other political figures and people associated with the Cuomo investigation said Cuomo made the right decision, reports ABC 7 in New York City:
State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie: "This has been a tragic chapter in our state's history. Governor Cuomo's resignation is the right decision. The brave women who stepped forward were heard. Everyone deserves to work in a harassment-free environment."
Mariann Wang, attorney for Cuomo accusers Alyssa McGrath and Virginia Limmiatis: "My clients feel both vindicated and relieved that Cuomo will no longer be in a position of power over anyone. His efforts, through his paid attorney, over the last few days, to gaslight and attack the brave women who came forward, apparently served no purpose. Ms. McGrath and Ms. Limmiatis remain grateful that their voices and experiences were heard and substantiated by the AG's investigators and feel solidarity with all women who continue to be abused by men in power. At least today, one of them has faced some consequences."
Eric Adams, Democrat nominee for mayor of New York City: "The governor's resignation was necessary for New York State to move forward and continue the critical work of our recovery. I look forward to working in partnership with Lieutenant Governor Hochul on the key issues affecting our city and region at this pivotal moment."
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.: "First and foremost, I want to thank the incredibly courageous women who came forward and shared their stories. They are the true public servants here. New York now has a chance to move forward and build a new culture of leadership. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is an exceptional public servant and will be an excellent governor. I look forward to working together to continue serving the people of our great state."
Former Gov. David Paterson: "I am sure this is a difficult choice and a sad day for the governor and his family. It is clearly in the best interests of all New Yorkers that the state government function through this difficult time and address the pressing COVID-19 issue."
Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs: "New York will finally have its first female Governor and we could not be in better hands. From assisting her mother run a transitional domestic violence shelter to helping make the property tax cap permanent, Kathy Hochul has always and relentlessly fought for the people of New York. Her experience at all levels of government — Town Board Member, County Clerk, Congresswoman, and Lt Gov, makes her uniquely well equipped to effectively govern the state at this time. I am confident that incoming Governor Hochul's empathy, work ethic, and authentic concern for the welfare of its citizens will make her an outstanding Governor for our State."
NY GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy: "New Yorkers can breathe a collective sigh of relief that Andrew Cuomo will no longer be able to wield the immense power of the governor's office to commit his corruption and abuse, but make no mistake, this resignation is simply an attempt to avoid real accountability for his numerous crimes. Thousands of lives have been destroyed by Andrew Cuomo and the legislature must continue to move forward with impeachment to ensure he can never run for office again. Whether it was his numerous pay-to-play and corruption scandals, his deadly nursing home coverup or his $5 million book deal, the New York Republican Party has traveled across the state to expose the real Andrew Cuomo, even when it was a lonely solo mission. We will not rest until the entire stench of the Cuomo Administration is wiped clean from state government and we usher in a new era of integrity and common sense under a Republican governor in 2022."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.