New York Governor Kathy Hochul sitting in a blue chair.

Another Ceiling Shattered: New York’s First Female Governor

Another Ceiling Shattered: New York’s First Female Governor

“The feminine political voice is personal. It’s intimate. It’s caregiving and life enhancing. It’s about bringing more love, caring and justice into the world. It’s also fierce and determined.”- Tabby Biddle.

This is just one way to describe the incredible story of New York’s first female Governor, Kathy Hochul. She made history when she was sworn in on August 24, 2021 after former Governor Cuomo was forced to resign due to allegations of sexually harassing eleven women. Hochul talked about the responsibilities she has now as the Governor of New York and how she is ready to work and address all of the problems including wanting to reshape the power structure in New York to better represent all of its residents. This includes women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community. She has made a commitment that has been missing from previous male lead administrations; one that is inclusive and diverse. 

Hochul was born on August 27, 1958 in Buffalo, New York and has always been passionate about helping others. Her parents cared for underprivileged children, which sparked in her a desire to lend a hand. As a high school student, she volunteered for local politicians during the summers. After that, she attended Syracuse University and graduated in 1980. After graduating she furthered her education with a degree from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in 1983. Before working on the town board in Hamburg Town, she worked as an attorney in Washington, D.C. There she represented New York’s Democratic Representative John Joseph LaFalce and Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. After that she went back to New York and worked with small businesses as a lobbyist, where she continued work for a charity with her mother and aunt to support domestic violence victims. 

Hochul worked for 12 years on the Hamburg town board as a Democrat from 1994 to 2003. In May 2003, she was appointed Deputy County Clerk in Erie, NY. In 1998 Hochul launched a campaign against toll booths on the Niagara Thruway, which the state eventually took down in 2007. In early 2007, she was appointed by Governor Eliot Spitzer to fill the term of Erie County Clerk David J. Swarts; she went on to win the election to a full term that fall, becoming the highest elected female official in the county. In 2011, she decided to run to replace the Republican Representative Christopher John Lee after he resigned and won the Democratic nomination. Hochul won the general election and worked with both parties as a neutral to help with Medicare. For the next two years she served on the Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees, working with the middle class to help balance the Medicare budget. Then in 2014 she was elected Lieutenant Governor of New York, taking office alongside Governor Andrew Cuomo in the beginning of 2015. 

Since she became Governor, Hochul has racked up praise and multiple impressive achievements. Not only did she receive additional acquired relief for the Covid-19 pandemic and recent Hurricane Ida, but she visited places that got hit hard during the hurricane season. She is also assisting schools in mandating masks, while working to ensure vaccination rates continue to rise. The Gotham Gazette even says people are shocked to see her work ethic and impressed by her self-discipline. In doing all of this in her first month of office, I can only imagine the leaps and bounds that she will take in the future of the term. 

Kathy Hochul is doing amazing work as the first female Governor of New York and setting a great example for future female politicians and young girls. Hochul said, “I have very high ethical standards,” and has been living up to her words. No matter the skin color, background, financial status or what you have been through, she cares about making New York better. Kathy Hochul has always been an incredibly determined woman, she has shattered glass ceilings and exceeded the expectations imposed on her. She deserves a lot more recognition for the great achievements she has had in her 27 years of work. Governor Kathy Hochul is paving the way for women in male dominated fields and showing that with hard work you can achieve what you set your mind to. In her own words, “it is a whole new day.”