Kathy Hochul, and What Her Time as Governor May Hold
Weather situation: Dangerously hot again today. Mostly sunny, with a high in the mid-90s and a heat index around 105. Risk of thunderstorms in the evening.
Parking on the alternative side: In effect until Sunday (Feast of the Assumption).
She said she was equipped to guide New York after the challenges of the past year. She promised that she would not foster a “toxic” environment in her administration. And she was less than two weeks away from being the first woman to lead the state.
In her first public address on Wednesday since Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced her resignation, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul projected an image of confidence as she spoke on the State Capitol.
“I want people to know that I am ready for this,” said Ms. Hochul, a Democrat. “It’s not something we expected or asked for, but I am fully prepared to take on the responsibility as the 57th Governor of New York State.”
[Read more about her remarks and her time as a politician.]
Here’s what you need to know about Ms. Hochul:
Mr Cuomo has promised a smooth change of leadership to Ms Hochul, who is due to be sworn in on Aug. 24.
Ms Hochul, 62, is originally from western New York City, where she worked in local politics after serving on staff at Capitol Hill in Washington. She won a special election in 2011 following the resignation of a congressman in one of the state’s most conservative districts and joined the governor’s team in 2014.
She is briefed on the state’s overall response to coronaviruses, among other issues. And she’ll have to assemble a team of senior executives and craft her own political agenda, after years of widely promoting someone else’s.
Mr. Cuomo had a long reputation for governing in a belligerent style, employing tactics that often alienated lawmakers from both parties.
Ms Hochul, on the other hand, has established deep reservoirs of political goodwill, and her cordial demeanor could create a change in the atmosphere of Albany. She also said she would oust staff members from Mr. Cuomo’s administration who allegedly acted unethically.
“Kathy Hochul’s open hand will be more effective than Andrew Cuomo’s closed fist,” State Senator Michael Gianaris said.
Its potential challenges
Like Mr Cuomo, Ms Hochul could end up clashing with the upward progressive wing of the Democratic Party. She will inherit high-profile political issues, such as the implementation of a recently approved $ 2.1 billion fund to provide cash payments to undocumented immigrants.
And a week after taking office, New York’s moratorium on evictions will end, meaning tens of thousands of people who fell behind on rent during the pandemic risk losing their homes.
Here are a few more stories about the implications of Mr. Cuomo’s resignation:
New York women weigh Cuomo in admiration against allegations
Cuomo put forward a feminist agenda. Was it just politics?
As New York charter school students return to class, administrators are create coronavirus security policies without clear guidelines. [Chalkbeat New York]
And finally: what will we do without Barry the Barred Owl?
By Michiko Kakutani for The Times:
She was a charismatic, sassy and confident and constant creature like the beloved Hedwig from Harry Potter. A teacher as wise and playful as the Archimedes of Merlin. And in real life, an owl exceptionally adapting to the many humans who gathered in Central Park every day to watch it doze in its favorite hemlock or soar through the Ramble on its nightly hunting parties.
“We used to joke,” said David Lei, a photographer, “that if there was a scientific formula for cuteness, it was Barry: fluffy and round, with those huge, expressive eyes. I think it was very unusual – especially for a solitary bird – to be so generous with us, to let us observe him so closely every night.
Barry the Barred Owl landed in Central Park last October and surprisingly stayed here through the winter, spring, and summer. His arrival during the pandemic delighted many New Yorkers squatting in their apartments.
She took people away from their Zoom meetings and TV screens, and brought them out into the light. She turned people who couldn’t tell a finch from a sparrow into ardent bird watchers. And she turned children and adults into students of all things owls, devouring books and videos on owl behavior, owl history, and owl legends.
It’s a measure of how many people Barry has touched that his death last week in a collision with a Central Park Conservancy maintenance vehicle sparked a wave of sadness that has spread around the world.
Pinned to a fence was a note from a child named Bella: “You were my friend and you made me happy. Thanks to you, I stopped being afraid to go out during the pandemic. “
Jenifer P. Borum, a writer and teacher who had been ill with Covid, said Barry’s following through Central Park had helped her regain her strength. The next owl, she hopes, will also bring owl-watchers together.
“We’ll look for it in the eyes of the next owl.” Although no owl ever compares.
It’s Thursday – remember.
Metropolitan newspaper: far from Oz
It was another afternoon rush hour on the metro. The wagon I was in was filled with a crowd of people standing.
Trying to find where to look while avoiding eye contact, I looked down at the floor. My eyes focused on a pair of shimmering ruby red slippers that looked new and totally irrelevant so far from Oz.
I couldn’t help myself. My eyes drifted to the face of a young woman who was staring directly at me with a look of expectation on her face.
I felt compelled to say something.
“Uh, does it work? I stammered.
“Well,” said the young woman, “when I click my heels three times, my roommate from Kansas walks into the room.”
We were at my stop.
– Good answer, I say. “Bye.”
– Tom Zebovitz
Illustrated by Agnès Lee. Read more about the metropolitan agenda here.
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