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Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul poses for a portrait and headshot in her office at the state Senate. Photo from Hochul's office

Nineteen states have never had a female governor and, up until this week, neither did New York. That’s progress. 

When former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) resigned amongst nearly a dozen sexual harassment allegations, and after a thorough, months-long investigation, his lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul (D), was given the opportunity to make history. The mother of two from Buffalo has had a long career in politics and advocacy. She even sat in Congress.

New York now joins eight other states — Oregon, Alabama, Kansas, New Mexico, South Dako-ta, Iowa, Michigan and Maine — who have lady leaders as heads of their state. 

And practically minutes after she took her oath early Tuesday morning, she said during a short press conference that she wants her constituents to “believe in their government again.”

But that’s going to be hard for many New Yorkers — especially the ones who lost their faith in government throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Unfortunately for Hochul, she had barely been in office for even a full day when commenters online began to bash her for her mask-mandating policy. 

As of Tuesday afternoon, she said all school districts in the state of New York must require masks for their students, faculty and staff to be fully vaccinated or tested weekly.

People are furious, according to the online comment threads. They’re not necessarily mad about the mandate — although that’s become a debate within itself. They are mad she hasn’t addressed all the other issues that are impacting New Yorkers — homelessness, food insecurity, the nursing home deaths during COVID and high taxes. 

When reading through the comments on a story that was published by The New York Times, New York Post and locally, Newsday, readers are finding issues already with our new leader. 

Can we just give her a second to settle in? It was barely 24 hours before she even set foot in the governor’s mansion in Albany, and people were already assuming she’s failing us. 

People might be upset by the mask mandate, but we’ve been through this before. Remember, the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting its year-and-a-half mark. That means we have been wearing masks, social distancing, hand sanitizing and Zooming for almost two years. We’re used to these policies. 

No one wants to wear masks, especially if they’ve been vaccinated. But right now, with the Delta variant — and whatever other mutations are out there coming soon — we need to be safe. 

This summer, we had a taste of freedom again. We were allowed to see friends and families, weddings were back on and kids were able to attend their graduations in person — and that’s all because we wore masks for practically a year before that. When the vaccine came out, that helped us all, too.

Let’s just listen to Hochul. Let’s not complain. 

The sooner we tackle this problem, the sooner we can get back to whatever normal is the new normal. 

Don’t judge her policies just yet — she’s had a lot of experience and whoever jumped into Cuomo’s seat was in for it. 

She was handed a pile of dirt and now needs to make it beautiful. 

Trust her actions, give her a chance. Embrace the fact that someone new is in office and remember: A mother always knows best.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. Photo by Julianne Mosher

As Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) packed up his moving trucks at the governor’s mansion, the soon-to-be state leader headed to Long Island last week for a quick appearance and chat with local reporters.

Before she became New York’s 57th and first female governor, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) made a quick stop in Hauppauge for a roundtable discussion on Friday, Aug. 20, with local labor leaders where topics included job training, green jobs and new legislative efforts to support essential workers.

Although the discussion was closed to media, Hochul stopped for a small press conference to quickly discuss her intentions during the meeting.

“One of my first priorities is continue creating good jobs,” she said. “Getting the offshore wind institute off the ground and give opportunities to just really train people in the underserved communities and the jobs of tomorrow where there will be tens of thousands of jobs in that space.”

Hochul said she and the business leaders in attendance also talked about workforce development and creating opportunities to keep young people fully employed on Long Island.

The visit wasn’t anything new, she said, mentioning that over the last seven years “coming out and seeing the people is what I do.”

“If you ask anyone, I’ve been told that Nassau and Suffolk counties are planning on taxing me as a local resident because I’m here so often,” she joked.

As chair of the Regional Economic Development Councils, she said that she is going to continue and be accessible throughout her term.

“I’m going to continue showing appreciation to the labor community, the job creators, the business community and elected officials,” she said. “I have a deep appreciation for all the various roles of government, and I want them to know that they have a governor who recognizes and appreciates that.”

Hochul officially took on her new role early Tuesday, Aug. 24, moving into the governor’s mansion in Albany.

“I haven’t thought about getting a U-Haul,” she joked to reporters on Friday. “I was just going to pack an overnight bag and see what happens. I’ll then keep our residence in Buffalo, as well. It’s going to be very fluid.”

During the event, reporters urged Hochul to announce what her plans were surrounding mask mandates. At the time she said she couldn’t release an official statement until she took office but hinted that “people should be ready.”

As expected, she said during her first press conference as governor that New York will require schools across the state to mandate mask wearing for students. Faculty and staff must be vaccinated or tested weekly, as of press time Wednesday, Aug. 25.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. Photo by Julianne Mosher

As Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) packed up his moving trucks at the governor’s mansion, the soon-to-be governess headed to Long Island.

With just a few days left until she becomes New York’s first female governor, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) made a quick stop in Hauppauge for a roundtable discussion with local labor leaders where topics included job training, green jobs and new legislative efforts to support essential workers.

Although the discussion was closed to media, Hochul made an appearance to quickly discuss her intentions during the meeting.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. Photo by Julianne Mosher

“One of my first priorities is continue creating good jobs,” she said. “Getting the offshore wind institute off the ground and give opportunities to just really train people in the underserved communities and the jobs of tomorrow where there will be tens of thousands of jobs in that space.”

Hochul said she and the business leaders in attendance also talked about workforce development and creating opportunities to keep young people fully employed on Long Island.

The visit wasn’t anything new, she said, mentioning that over the last seven years, “coming out and seeing the people is what I do.”

“If you ask anyone, I’ve been told that Nassau and Suffolk counties are planning on taxing me as a local resident because I’m here so often,” she joked.

As chair of the Regional Economic Development Councils, she said that she is going to continue and be accessible throughout her term.

“I’m going to continue showing appreciation to the labor community, the job creators, the business community and elected officials,” she said. “I have a deep appreciation for all the various roles of government, and I want them to know that they have a governor who recognizes and appreciates that.”

Hochul is set to take on her new role early Tuesday, Aug. 24 when she will move into the governor’s mansion.

“I haven’t thought about getting a U-Haul. I was just going to pack an overnight bag and see what happens,” Hochul joked. “I’ll then keep our residence in Buffalo as well. It’s going to be very fluid.”

When briefly asked about her policy surrounding the mask mandate, she said she will not be making an official statement until Tuesday but hinted that “people should be ready.”

 

Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) and Interim SBU President Michael Bernstein meet with Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul to discuss energy effeciency improvements. Photo by David Luces

In an effort to fight climate change, Stony Brook University will receive $79 million in energy efficiency improvements and upgrades throughout the campus. 

New York State Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul was on hand at the school Aug. 19 to announce the planned upgrades in front of the university’s Center of Molecular Medicine. 

The improvements build upon the State University of New York’s Clean Energy Roadmap, a partnership between SUNY and state energy agencies that aims to accelerate progress toward the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030. 

The energy efficient upgrades will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 28,000 tons a year, which is the equivalent of taking over 5,000 cars off the road. It will also save the university nearly $6 million in energy and maintenance costs annually. 

“As the largest single site employer on Long Island, Stony Brook University must remain committed to reducing our carbon footprint,” Interim President Michael Bernstein said. 

The improvements, which will be financed and implemented by the New York Power Authority, will include a number of energy-saving upgrades such as lighting, ventilation and building management upgrades at university buildings, including residence halls, science buildings and the hospital. 

“As the largest single site employer on Long Island, Stony Brook University must remain committed to reducing our carbon footprint.”

— Michael Bernstein

The planned upgrades continue the university’s effort to reduce its carbon footprint. NYPA and SUNY have already partnered to complete more than $50 million in energy efficiency improvements at Stony Brook. If all goes according to plan, expectations are for the removal of nearly 16,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere. 

Some of those projects included interior and exterior LED lighting upgrades, replacement of older HVAC equipment, pipe insulation and lab HVAC modernization. 

PSEG Long Island provided more than $500,000 in rebates to Stony Brook University for projects underway. 

“We have a moral responsibility to protect this Earth while it is in our hands,” said Hochul. “Forty percent of buildings owned by the state of New York are on SUNY campuses … If we are going to make an impact this is where we start.” 

SUNY and NYPA, together, have completed energy-saving projects at more than 600 SUNY facilities, reducing energy consumption by more than 6.2 megawatts, removing more than 48,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere, and saving $12.1 million annually, according to SUNY. The public college institution and power authority are currently partnering to implement energy-saving measures at more than 30 additional SUNY buildings. Once completed, they expect it will reduce SUNY’s energy consumption by an additional 1.6 megawatts.