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Hochul says she's ready to lead following Cuomo's exit

The lieutenant governor formally addressed New Yorkers in a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul is preparing to take the reins of power after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he would resign from office. 

The Western New York Democrat will become New York's first female governor in two weeks following an unorthodox transition period in which Cuomo has said he will stay on and work to ease her into the job. Hochul stayed out of public sight Tuesday but said in a statement that she was "prepared to lead."

The lieutenant governor formally addressed New Yorkers in a news conference Wednesday afternoon in Albany, saying Cuomo's decision to step down was not expected but was "appropriate and in the best interest" for New York State.

Hochul says she did not ask for the transition period, but says she will take advantage of that time and is looking forward to a smooth transition.

Over the next 13 days, Hochul says she will continue to meet with current and potential cabinet officials, build out her senior staff, and continue to travel New York State to hear the concerns of New Yorkers.

"I'll do what I've always done," Hochul said. "I will travel the state to meet New Yorkers, to listen to them, to assure them that I've got their backs. And I will take their concerns and bring them back to our state capital and work with our partners in every level of government."

Cuomo announced Tuesday that he would resign rather than face a likely impeachment trial over allegations that he sexually harassed several women. He denies touching anyone inappropriately.

Last week the New York State Attorney General's office released the results of the independent investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against the governor. In the report, the Attorney General's office said the executive chamber created a hostile work environment. 

Hochul said she doesn't spend much time in the governor's presence, but vows that no one will describe her administration as a toxic work environment. 

Despite a challenging year and a half, Hochul says she promises to continue fight for New Yorkers saying, "I will fight like hell for you every single day, like I've always done and always will."


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