NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — On Tuesday, Kathy Hochul will make history, becoming New York state’s first female governor.
But Hochul is stepping in at a time of crisis.READ MORE: TIMELINE: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Resigns In Wake Of Sexual Harassment, Nursing Home Scandals
As CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reports, Hochul may have always dreamed of getting the top job, but you know the old saying: Be careful what you wish for. She’s grabbing the baton at a time of crisis: A tropical storm crisis, a COVID crisis, a rent crisis, a budget crisis, and on, and on, and on.
“The expectation is that she will have to be ready on day one to make a million decisions, to take decisive action,” said Kathryn Wylde of the Partnership For New York City.
First, she has to clean up the mess left by Andrew Cuomo, convince people the work environment – detailed by 11 women who said they were sexually harassed – will dramatically change. She promises to do that.
“At the end of my term, whenever it ends, no one will describe my administration as a toxic work environment,” Hochul said earlier this month.
“Cuomo’s mess is an ethical mess. Is she going to have to enact legislation that, frankly, makes sure that can’t happen again? Yes. But will that be the device she’s measured on when she runs for governor? Likely not,” said Hank Sheinkopf.
That’s because COVID, the Delta variant, mask and vaccination mandates, school reopening, bringing the city back economically from the pandemic are top of mind for most New Yorkers. And she’ll only have a few days to solve the next key problems. The state eviction moratorium, in place since March 2020, expires at the end of the month. Unemployment payments stop in September.
“You’re going to have a cash crisis on several fronts. One for tenants and small landlords, and one for employees who have been out of work. In the city, we’ve lost half a million jobs during the last 18 months,” Wylde said.
A loud subway horn might serve as a wake up call for upstater Hochul, a place where car travel is a way of life. MTA problems will also be on the front burner. She has to replace Cuomo’s appointees on the MTA board, and decide what to do about congestion pricing.
“We’ve got lots of challenges with the transportation system, including whether people are going to be comfortable getting on the trains and subways,” Wylde said.
Hochul, who will become the first female governor of New York just after midnight, announced two of her top aides will be women, too. Karen Persichilli Keogh, who worked for Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, will be secretary to the governor. Elizabeth Fine, the chief legal officer of the state economic development agency, will be counsel to the governor.READ MORE: The Rise And Fall Of Andrew Cuomo
In his farewell speech, Cuomo gave Hochul a brief boost.
“Kathy Hochul will become governor. I believe she will step up to the challenge.
The incoming governor has said she will get rid of Cuomo people who were involved in the scandal. She has also said she will take 45 days to determine who she will keep, and that includes Health Commissioner Howard Zucker and Budget Director Robert Mujica.
A new budget is due in just over four months, right about the time the state Democratic party has to pick a nominee to run for governor next year.
Cuomo is not going quietly into the night. As the clock wound down, he held hurricane briefings, and even on his last day, there was a whiff of a new scandal.
Reports claimed he was leaving town without his dog, Captain, abandoning the pet in the executive mansion in Albany. Animal rights activists were up in arms, forcing Cuomo spokesperson, Rich Azzopardi, to deny the story.
“Do you think Kathy Hochul would want Captain crashing at the mansion?” Azzopardi told Kramer, pointing out that Captain is “family.” He said Cuomo is picking up the dog and the rest of his belongings Monday before his last goodbye.
It will be a last goodbye to public service, according to former Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa. She issued a statement Monday pointing to Cuomo’s 25 years of public service as HUD secretary, attorney general and governor.
“The way he does it, it’s 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” she said, adding, “He looks forward to spending time with his family and has a lot of fishing to catch up on. He is exploring a number of options, but has no interest in running for office again.”MORE NEWS: PHOTOS: Andrew Cuomo Through The Years
That should be a huge relief for Hochul, who won’t have to worry about running against him when she seeks her own four year term.