Who is Kathy Hochul? Meet the woman with the No. 2 job in NY state government
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul has spent the last seven years only a heartbeat away from New York's top job, but many New Yorkers are unfamiliar with her background or her decades of community service.
During a one-on-one interview before the pandemic, News 12's Tara Rosenblum got to ask the longtime Buffalo Democrat both political and personal questions.
Hochul says her mother was a big inspiration.
"My mother had a really difficult childhood. it was an abusive environment. My mom was raised by a working mom above a gas station," she says.
Hochul is a self-described blue-collar girl from western New York raised in a modest home near a steel plant.
She told News 12 that her mother's advocacy work for victims of domestic violence later inspired her to pursue a career in public service.
She ultimately became one of the few women in New York to hold county, state and federal office.
The married mother of two spent four years as Erie County clerk before winning a congressional race in 2011 in one of the reddest districts in the state.
She lost her bid for a second term, but as one door closed, another one opened.
"I did not expect to get the call...I was asked if I would just meet with the governor and it changed my life," she says.
On Jan. 1, 2015, Hochul was sworn in as the highest-ranking female elected official in New York and takes a firm stance against sexual harassment.
Back in 2019, News 12's Tara Rosenblum asked her if she aspired to break New York's highest glass ceiling and whether she could see herself running to be the first female governor of New York.
"What I'll tell you is the secret of my success in climbing through all these different levels of government is not once have ever thought about the next rung," she says.
Should Gov. Andrew Cuomo ever step down or be impeached, Hochul would become the 57th governor of New York.