New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s first handle in her new place Tuesday afternoon was a brief one. Nonetheless, it was lengthy in content material, with important coverage initiatives like a statewide masks mandate for faculties, an extension on the state’s eviction ban and extra transparency from officers.
Hochul spoke for practically 12 minutes, 15 hours after taking the oath of workplace to switch departed Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who resigned amid a sexual harassment scandal and a near-certain impeachment trial. Very similar to her predecessor and former operating mate, she was direct. Nonetheless, she additionally pledged her administration could be open and clear.
The state’s 57th governor cited New York’s thirty third governor in acknowledging her place in historical past.
The Buffalo native cited Teddy Roosevelt’s “Citizenship in a Republic” speech in her remarks. Particularly, she cited its most well-known passage concerning the man within the enviornment “marred by mud and sweat and blood” in comparison with “timid souls” who do not know both victory or defeat.
“For the primary time in New York historical past, a girl will enter that enviornment as governor, as I undertake the way in which, the obligations earlier than me know that I’ve the boldness, the braveness, and the power to steer new Yorkers ahead and make New York’s girls proud,” Hochul mentioned.
With lower than a 12 months earlier than a possible Democratic gubernatorial main, there’s not going to be a whole lot of time to study or get better from defeats. And if she is the Democratic nominee subsequent 12 months, she’ll doubtless face Republican Lengthy Island U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin in a race state GOP officers have been focusing on the race for months.
Zeldin tweeted Tuesday morning that she ought to hearth state Well being Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker “if she is severe about transparency and accountability,” and he began calling it the “Cuomo-Hochul” administration in an effort to anchor her to the extremely unpopular former governor.
She admitted she might not be as nicely generally known as Cuomo, who carried a nationwide presence even earlier than his each day COVID-19 briefings final 12 months. However she mentioned she knew New Yorkers by her travels throughout all 62 counties yearly and the tales she’s heard from residents.
“On account of all this, I’ve embraced and internalized the hopes and desires of 20 million individuals who share the title New Yorkers,” she mentioned. “And I would like you to know you’re heard, and I’m able to get to work as your governor to resolve the large issues that this state faces.”
And there are main issues earlier than the state proper now. Whereas she addressed racial considerations and job progress, she spent most of her time on matters which have dominated New York within the final 18 months – the COVID-19 pandemic and the investigations into the Cuomo administration.
With faculties set to open throughout the state, Hochul will search to keep away from the will increase in COVID-19 caseloads occurring elsewhere within the nation and main to highschool district shutdowns.
After saying final week that she believed a masks mandate was vital, she introduced she was ordering the state Division of Well being to implement a “common” requirement for anybody coming into a college facility.
As well as, she additionally mentioned the state might want to require vaccinations for all faculty workers however added an opt-out clause for people to bear weekly testing.
“To perform this in New York, we want partnerships with all ranges of presidency, and I am working now on getting this performed,” Hochul mentioned. “New York is launching a back-to-school COVID-19 testing program to make testing for college students and workers broadly out there and handy.”
The testing choice will not be one thing New York Metropolis is contemplating in its vaccine mandate for varsity employees, nor was it an merchandise Cuomo talked about in his farewell handle Monday. Nonetheless, her coverage gained fast approval from New York State Lecturers United.
Union President Andy Pallotta mentioned Hochul “brings a breath of recent air” to the state capital.
“We assist common mask-wearing as a part of a layered mitigation technique that additionally contains sturdy COVID testing, contract tracing, correct air flow and different methods beneficial by public well being consultants,” he mentioned in an announcement. “We additionally assist the governor’s transfer to require common COVID testing for varsity workers who are usually not but vaccinated. It’s vital that educators proceed to have a voice within the implementation of vaccine necessities and different COVID insurance policies on the native degree.”
She mentioned extra she’ll announce extra schooling insurance policies later this week, and she or he informed New Yorkers to count on extra vaccine mandates within the wake of the federal authorities’s full approval of the Pfizer vaccine for people age 16 and older. As well as, she mentioned she’s working to safe booster photographs for absolutely vaccinated residents and areas the place these doses can be out there.
One other COVID-19-era difficulty will stay a precedence as nicely, that is the state’s eviction ban dominated partially unconstitutional by U.S. Supreme Courtroom justices earlier this month.
With the state program set to run out in every week and the potential for 1000’s and 1000’s of eviction circumstances to flood state courts, proponents have referred to as for an additional extension.
Hochul referred to as for renewing this system, with anybody authorized for rental help protected against face eviction for a 12 months.
New York has been among the many least profitable states in delivering federal support to renters and landlords in a fast style, a discovering that left the brand new governor perturbed. She’s not alone, as she added Meeting Speaker Carl Heastie, D-Bronx, and Senate Majority Chief Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers, share her urgency.
“I would like the cash out now,” she mentioned. “I would like it out with no extra excuses and delays.”
Whereas some COVID-19 insurance policies will stay the identical or barely reworked, Hochul pledged her administration will work markedly totally different from her predecessor, whose time period was full of criticism concerning the lack of transparency and a poisonous surroundings the place the brash Cuomo would typically search to intimidate folks – both privately or publicly.
One fast change in coverage can be to require all sexual harassment coaching to happen in-person, so folks cannot simply “click on their manner by a category,” she mentioned. Ethics coaching, one thing she discovered shocking as it isn’t necessary for all state employees, may also be required.
The decision to reform ethics and sexual harassment insurance policies was welcomed by a number of lawmakers and advocates. Erica Vladimer, who represents the Sexual Harassment Working Group, tweeted that the Albany-based group of former legislative staffers searching for reforms stands able to work together with her and included a hyperlink to the group’s six-bill coverage agenda.
“The @NYSenateDems are already on board, and I am certain with somewhat encouragement, @NYSA_Majority can be, too,” Vladimer tweeted.
Hochul additionally needs freedom of knowledge requests to be dealt with extra expeditiously and for all state businesses to conduct opinions to make sure their compliance with transparency legal guidelines.