A new era of state government began at 12:01 a.m. sharp on Tuesday and let's hope it is a thoughtful, responsive and prosperous one.
Kathy Hochul, who has served as lieutenant governor under Andrew Cuomo since she was elected on the ticket in 2014, took the helm upon Cuomo's departure from office.
Cuomo announced his resignation two weeks ago amidst allegations of sexual harassment and other improprieties.
A report from state Attorney General Letitia James said that Cuomo had sexually harassed multiple women — including former and current state employees — by engaging in unwanted groping, kissing and hugging and making inappropriate comments.
The report, which came after five months of investigation, also said that the governor and his senior staff took actions to retaliate against at least one former employee who came forward with her story.
The Executive Chamber fostered a "toxic" workplace that enabled "harassment to occur and created a hostile work environment," the report said.
Cuomo was also under fire for his decision to order COVID-19 patients back to nursing homes from hospitals in the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020. In addition he has been accused of purposely reporting misleading figures on the number of people who died in a nursing home due to Covid, and he's being investigated on whether state workers helped him on state-funded time with the publication of his book about the Covid situation.
The heat was just too much for Cuomo, who agreed to step down, even though he maintained his innocence. His departure brought us Hochul, who is the first woman governor in state history.
That is a nice milestone, but we would have rather seen it come about in a more traditional way with her winning an election instead of taking over for a disgraced man.
Nevertheless, Hochul is now in charge and we look to her to move the state forward after this mess. Financially, the state is in way better shape than it was before Covid, thanks in large part to the federal stimulus packages.
Now, can she work effectively with the legislature, keep spending in line and keep the books in the black? We hope so.
That Hochul is a native Western New Yorker bodes well for the region. She is well-versed on border issues and the importance of Canada to not only our region, but to the state and the nation.
Taking over for Cuomo under these circumstances cannot be an easy task. Based on what we've seen of her in the past, and the support that has been pledged to her by local leaders, we like her chances of succeeding.
At the very least, it would be nice not to have words like "toxic" and "hostile" thrown around when describing New York's Executive Chamber.
Time will tell.