Kathy Hochul became the first female governor of New York after the disgraced resignation of governor Andrew Cuomo.
Andrew Cuomo had to submit his resignation in the face of multiple accusations of sexual harassment. An investigation was conducted into his abusive behaviour, and it is going to have ripple effects for a long time throughout the government.
While, on the one hand, the state had to undergo health and economic challenges due to the increasing number of covid cases across the state, on the other hand, investigators were looking into how Cuomo handled nursing homes during the first wave of the crisis. However, the Supreme Court had to take steps to block the pandemic-related eviction as the relationship between Albany, and the state’s productive city was in tatters after years of bitterness between the governor and the mayor of the city.
However, the state gave a very warm welcome to Kathy Hochul as the first female governor of New York City.
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How Did the First Female Governor Replace Cuomo?
While Miriam A. Ferguson was the first female governor of Texas in 1915 and Nelly Ross, the first female governor of the USA, Kathy Hochul went on to become the first female governor of New York City at the stroke of midnight in 2021. The ongoing crisis turned out to be a boon in disguise for Hochul as it gave her the opportunity to showcase her leadership skills after assuming her role as the governor.
A lot of controversies were being held upon Kathy’s governorship. While some were of the view that Kathy was being thrust into a position of responsibility and power at a time of crisis that had the potential of failing, others thought of it as a perfect opportunity to show how women executives are capable even in the field of business and politics.
Honestly, opportunities like these are not something that women are empowered with on a regular basis. Hochul became the 45th woman governor in the history of America after having ascended her throne of governorship. Despite that, there are still 19 such states in the United States of America that never had a female governor. Kathy Hochul matched the record that was first achieved some two decades ago and became the 9th female governor to be currently serving.
There’s only little doubt about the fact that the numbers are comparatively even low for women of colour. In American history, only three women of colour have been known to serve as the chief executive of the state, one of whom is currently in office. There has been no other black female governor other than them.
These offices are very difficult for women to win. The last two election cycles have witnessed women bursting through records for representation in the state legislatures of the US. However, the executive office remains overpowered with expectations of leadership that are masculinized.
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The gender biases became more prominent when 6 women who ran for the position of the Democratic President failed to clear the qualifications required for electability and likability, which never seemed to appear on the qualifications checklist meant for male candidates. The sad news still remains that even though times have changed, the image of a leader is still painted with shades of masculinity.
Kathy’s Path to Power
The position of executive authority is of particular significance in a state like New York, and Kathy Hochul had the opportunity to short circuit these pathways to the position of power and dominance.
Out of the 45 women governors, 25% of them secured the position from the lieutenant governors or upon their predecessors' resignation, removal, or demise. At the same time, 6 of these governors could win the elections based on their own merit.
After Hochul took over her office, four of the current women governors entered their office through succession and not an election. These facts and figures highlight the depressing reality of politics in America and the potential future of Hochul’s success.
Hochul’s executive skills as a leader at the helm of the government were something that New York had never witnessed before. She had to perform extensive responsibilities not just to curb the growing dangers of covid but also to recover the lost economy of New York.
Besides, Hochul also fell prey to a lot of controversies built by the administration of Cuomo, as a result of which she had to make sure her governance was not just good but also transparent, with her policies and activities undergoing intense scrutiny.
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The Never-Ending Culture of Corruption
These tasks seemed super daunting for Hochul and left her dangling over the glass cliff precariously.
Surpassing the miraculous medical advancements, the pandemic continued to create resilient terror among people all over the globe. This was a setback for multiple states, and New York was no exception. Corruption and unethical practices got deep-seated where the ex-governors, including Cuomo and Eliot Spitzer were disgraced with shame due to their misconduct. As did the attorney general, General Eric, and Democratic speaker Sheldon Silver were convicted with charges of corruption.
Hochul said in a press conference that her tenure would never be deemed toxic and that she would continue to rule with her exemplary executive skills. What Hochul wanted was to introduce a systematic change with another serial harasser falling out of the way.
While Cuomo was painted as the scion of a dynasty that was politically corrupted, Hochul worked her way up the ladder of success without a pedigree showing her constant willingness to bring a change by reconsidering her position with new information time and again.
Even though people might not look at these qualities as something that is required to rule a state, they will only become more significant in improving the politically fractured climate.
Kathy Hochul no doubt has created history by becoming the first female governor of New York City. She did not just prove her capability of leading a state; she also proved how women executives are the key to an improved and scandal-free political environment.
Why does our society, which is painted with a dash of misogyny, try to police a woman’s choice every time she tries to do something of her own accord? Is a woman with a choice so threatening to the world? What’s your take on this point?