Kathy Hochul will become New York’s first female governor at midnight Tuesday, Aug. 24, a minute after outgoing Governor Andrew Cuomo’s resignation takes effect Monday night.
The 62-year-old lieutenant governor and Buffalo native will officially become the state’s chief executive through a small inauguration ceremony at the State Capitol in Albany. New York State Chief Judge Janet DiFiore will administer the oath of office to Hochul at that moment.
Ahead of her ascent to the governor’s office, Hochul announced on Monday the appointment of two women to posts as her chief advisers: Karen Persichilli Keogh as secretary to the governor, and Elizabeth Fine as counsel to the governor.
They will replace Melissa DeRosa and Beth Garvey in the respective posts. DeRosa announced her resignation as secretary to the governor back on Aug. 8, two days before Cuomo told New Yorkers he would step down due to the sexual harassment allegations against him. Garvey had been serving as the acting counsel.
“Karen Persichilli Keogh and Elizabeth Fine bring the depth of knowledge, leadership, and experience that it will take to meet the challenges New Yorkers face,” Hochul said in a statement Monday. “As Governor, I will assemble a strong team to turn the corner on the pandemic and serve the best interests of New York, whether it’s defeating COVID, getting more people vaccinated, or strengthening our economy.”
It’s the first act of house-cleaning that Hochul pledged to do during an Aug. 11 press conference, a day after Cuomo announced his intended resignation. Cuomo’s executive staff had come under fire for unethical behavior in the same independent investigation report from state Attorney General Letitia James regarding sexual harassment allegations that 11 women lodged against the governor.
During her Aug. 11 press briefing, Hochul stated that anyone “named as doing anything unethical in the report will remain in my administration.” The report had also alleged that Cuomo’s administration had also enabled “a toxic work environment” in the Executive Chamber that sought retaliation against Lindsey Boylan, one of the 11 women who came forward in the independent investigation to allege that the governor sexually harassed them.
The report also alleged that DeRosa took part in an effort to help cover up some of the claims.
Keogh previously served on the staff of then-Senator Hillary Clinton and worked on the transition team when Kirsten Gillibrand was appointed from Congress to Clinton’s Senate seat back in 2009, after Clinton resigned to serve as Secretary of State under President Barack Obama. The Nassau County native most recently worked at JP Morgan Chase as its head of global philanthropy, managing $2 billion in investments.
Fine currently serves as executive vice president and general counsel for Empire State Development, and previously served as general counsel to the New York City Council. During the 1990s, she also spent seven years in the U.S. Justice Department in roles including principal deputy assistant attorney general for policy and as counsel to then-Attorney General Janet Reno.
Hochul’s first day schedule
After being officially sworn in as governor at midnight Tuesday, Hochul will take the oath of office again during a formal ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m. in the State Capitol’s Red Room. Chief Judge Fiore will administer the oath at the ceremony, with members of Hochul’s family, state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie looking on.
Hochul will then meet afterward with Stewart-Cousins and Heastie. At 3 p.m., she’ll deliver a virtual address to the people of New York state, which will be broadcast online at ny.gov.