Hochul, 62, is a former corporate lawyer, Capitol Hill aide, town council member, county clerk, and congresswoman who served less than a term.
Joins Cuomo for 2nd Term
In 2014, when Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy announced he would seek another term, Cuomo asked Hochul to join the Democratic ticket. They won the election with about 54% of the vote and again in 2018 with just under 60%.
As lieutenant governor, she chairs 10 regional economic development councils serving as the administration's voice. She is also the co-chair of the governor's Heroin and Opioid Abuse Task Force.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul takes the oath of office at a ceremony at the Buffalo Historical Society, Buffalo, N.Y., Jan. 1, 2015. (Governor's Press Office)
In 2015, the governor appointed Hochul to spearhead his Enough is Enough campaign to combat sexual assault on college campuses by hosting and attending more than two dozen events.
"As the highest-ranking female elected official in New York State, she continues to be a champion for women and families across the State," Hochul's official bio states.
In the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hochul rarely appeared at Cuomo's daily briefings. Instead, the governor sent her to different parts of the state to look in on pandemic response and, more recently, the state's vaccination efforts.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks at the opening of a COVID-19 vaccination site at Dome Arena, Henrietta, N.Y., Jan. 20, 2021. (Governor's Press Office)
Get breaking news alerts in the FOX 5 NY News app. Download for FREE!
Education and Earlier Political Career
Born in Buffalo in 1958, Hochul attended Syracuse University and earned a law degree from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. She worked for a law firm and then on Capitol Hill, including a stint as an aide to the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a legend in New York politics.
Hochul was a member of the town council in Hamburg, just south of Buffalo, for 14 years. She was elected county clerk for Erie County and served one term.
In 2011, she won a four-way race in a special election to fill a vacant seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The western New York district hadn't had a Democratic representative in 40 years and was considered safe for the GOP.
But when congressional districts were redrawn in 2012, Hochul lost to a Republican challenger.
After leaving Congress, she briefly worked in the private sector before joining Cuomo's campaign and becoming his lieutenant.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul in Buffalo, N.Y., Jan. 25, 2021. (Governor's Press Office)
Potential Successor to Cuomo
Under New York state law, if the governor is removed, resigns, or dies in office, the lieutenant governor becomes governor and serves the remainder of the elected term. The last New York governor to resign was Eliot Spitzer in 2008. Then-Lt. Gov. David Paterson succeeded him but did not run for election to his own term.
State Attorney General Letitia James has launched an investigation into the allegations. On March 8, she appointed outside lawyers to lead the probe. The findings will be made public, she has said.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul marches in the Veterans Day Parade in New York City, Nov. 11, 2015. (Governor's Press Office)
Statement on Accusations Against Cuomo
The day after James announced the appointment of the lawyers leading the investigation, Hochul issued a brief statement saying she is "confident everyone's voice will be heard and taken seriously."
"I trust the inquiry to be completed as thoroughly and expeditiously as possible," Hochul said in the statement. "New Yorkers should be confident that through this process they will soon learn the facts."
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks at the Albany Capital Center, Albany, N.Y., March 21, 2017. (Governor's Press Office)
Hochul is married to William Hochul, who served as the U.S. attorney for the Western District of New York from 2010 to 2016 in the administration of President Barack Obama.
Official Bio Excerpts
These are from About Kathleen C. Hochul:
"As Lieutenant Governor, Hochul is liaison to New York’s federal representatives in Washington, D.C. From 2011 to 2013, she served in the U.S. House representing New York’s 26th Congressional District. Then Congresswoman Hochul served on the House Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees, traveling to Afghanistan to confer with military leaders and meet with active duty men and women. Her focus in Congress was job creation and bridging the skills gap by bringing together business and academia, and creating opportunities for returning veterans."
"Representing Governor Cuomo across the State, Hochul tours main streets, meets with local business owners, visits college campuses, and meets regularly with mayors, supervisors and other community leaders. The Lieutenant Governor builds support for the Governor’s initiatives including the minimum wage increase, paid family leave, ethics reform and infrastructure investment."