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Hochul promises swift action when she assumes the helm in New York

Kathy Hochul became the first female governor of New York on Tuesday and in her first hours on the job sought to bring a new sense of urgency to tackling immense problems that went unaddressed during Andrew Cuomo's distracted final months in office.

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Hochul promises swift action when she assumes the helm in New York

She stated that she would make masks mandatory for all students entering schools. Also, she would enforce a requirement that all staff members be either vaccinated or have weekly COVID-19 testing. To make testing more convenient for both students and staff, she said that the state would offer back-to school testing.

Hochul stated that "none of us wants a repeat of last year’s horrors with COVID-19." "We will therefore take proactive steps to stop that from happening."

Hochul promised to act quickly to remove an application blockage that prevented federal aid money flowing to renters affected by the pandemic. Hochul promised that the state would be ready to distribute vaccine booster shot when they are widely available. This includes reopening previously closed mass inoculation centers. She also stated that New Yorkers can expect "new vaccine requirements", though she did not specify what they might be.

She said, "More on this soon."

Hochul, a Democrat from Western New York and a former member of Congress, took the oath to office shortly after midnight in a private ceremony overseen by Janet DiFiore, the state's chief Judge.

Hochul promised a new, collaborative approach to state government at a ceremonial swearing in ceremony held Tuesday morning at State Capitol. Hochul said that she was already in contact with other Democratic leaders, who for years have complained about being excluded from key decisions and bullied by Cuomo.

Hochul stated, "There won't be blindsiding; it'll just be total cooperation."

Hochul, who was not well-known as lieutenant governor will have the opportunity to remake Albany where Cuomo dominated decision making for many years before being sacked in a scandal of sexual harassment.

It has been said for generations that the "three men in one room" who made all the decisions in state government were the governor, the Senate and Assembly leaders.

For the first time, Hochul and Senator Majority Leader Andrea Stewart–Cousins are both women. Only Speaker Carl Heastie is the leader of the state Assembly.

Hochul promised greater transparency and ethics in government moving forward.

She directed a review of the state's policies regarding sexual harassment and ethics. This included requiring that all training must be conducted live "instead of allowing people click their way through a course."

She also said that she would require ethics training for all state employees, even though it is not required "shockingly" across the board.

Cuomo was forced to leave office at midnight two weeks after he declared he would resign. This announcement came after Cuomo announced that he would not face an impeachment fight. The impending battle seemed inevitable after independent investigators, led by Letitia James, concluded that Cuomo had sexually harassed 11 women.

Cuomo gave a recorded farewell address on his last day in office. In it, he claimed that he was innocent again and described himself as the victim in a "media frenzy."

Hochul assumes control of a state that is still struggling with the coronavirus epidemic and trying to get aid.

The $2 billion federal government set aside to assist New Yorkers in paying off their rent debt has not been distributed. After federal and state protections end, thousands could be evicted.

Hochul also promised to take swift action to distribute money from the new $2 billion state fund that will benefit undocumented immigrants who aren't eligible for federal pandemic relief aid.

Hochul stated that "the money's there." Hochul stated, "These people aren't eligible for any other forms of assistance. They're in pain and they're part the New York family."

Former governor David Paterson, who was unexpectedly elected governor after Hochul's resignation, stated that she would need to rebuild faith.

"There will be pressure on Gov. Hochul will be under pressure, just like it was on me.

She will also need to work fast. Hochul already stated that she will run for a full term next years and will only have a few months to make herself the favorite before a spring Democratic primary.

She'll also be building an administrative -- which began on Tuesday morning with the oath to office. This was hours before the restaging of this event for television cameras at mid-morning.

DiFiore administered an oath at the Capitol in front a stone fireplace on which were displayed family photos.

Hochul, DiFiore, and her husband entered the room in masks. They were taken off at the beginning of the ceremony. Hochul reached out to her husband Bill Hochul and placed it on her Bible. Hochul is a former federal prosecutor who is now general counsel for Delaware North, Buffalo's food service and hospitality company.

Hochul signed a stack of papers, including an oath. She used a set 10 pens that were dated "August 24, 2021." Her family sat behind her and watched.

Hochul thanked her family of "big Irish Catholics" during a reenactment of Tuesday's swearing-in ceremony. Hochul's immediate family sat in front row wearing masks, and were slightly apart. Hochul's daughter and her daughter-in-law wore white to honor the suffragists.

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