September/October 2021 Issue
August 24, 2021

NYSUT optimistic as Gov. Hochul takes the reins

Author: Ned Hoskin
Source: NYSUT United
kathy hochul

Western New York’s Kathleen Hochul became the 57th governor of New York upon Andrew Cuomo’s resignation Aug. 24. She is the state’s first female governor.

The statewide union immediately welcomed her ascension to the top job in state government and expressed optimism for a productive partnership.

“Gov. Kathy Hochul has long been a dedicated public servant and has shown leadership throughout her career,” said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta. “We look forward to working with her on the challenges we face ahead.”

Hochul has long been a supporter of women’s issues.

During Women’s History Month last March, she was a guest speaker at the NYSUT Southern Tier Women’s Committee online event titled “Women Battle the Pandemic,” discussing strategies women can use to deal with pandemic-related issues.

Last year, she helped launch the 2020 Women’s Vote Centennial Project, a program driven by NYSUT, the American Federation of Teachers and First Book. First Book provides free books for students, and the competition invited teachers to develop projects and activities to mark the suffrage centennial.

“New York women have always led the nation when it comes to furthering women’s rights, and there is no better way to educate our young people about that history than in the classroom,” Hochul said. “The goal of the project is to educate our students about the past and encourage them to use that knowledge to help create the building blocks for our future.”

Hochul is a founder and a member of the board of Kathleen Mary House, a transitional home in Buffalo for women and children who are survivors of domestic violence.

In May 2011, Hochul won a special election to fill a vacant congressional seat, becoming the first Democrat to represent New York’s 26th congressional district in 40 years. She served as its U.S. representative from 2011 to 2013.

In 2014, Cuomo selected her as his running mate in the gubernatorial election. After they won, Hochul was inaugurated as lieutenant governor.

Cuomo and Hochul were reelected in 2018.

Gov. Cuomo resigned this summer after a report released by the state attorney general alleged numerous cases of sexual harassment against him. NYSUT was among the first unions to call for his resignation.

“The attorney general detailed conduct that is repugnant and indefensible in any workplace and especially in the state’s highest elected office,” said Pallotta.