ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — Governor Kathy Hochul is signaling a tidal wave of change is en route to Albany, with shock waves soon to be felt statewide.
"I want people to believe in their government again," Hochul said. "That begins in a dramatic change in culture with accountability and no tolerance for individuals who cross the line."
Less than a day after Former Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned in disgrace, after 11 women came forward claiming he sexually harassed them, Governor Hochul says she will mandate new sexual harassment training for workers.
"I'm directing an overhaul on state government policies on sexual harassment and ethics, starting with all training be done live instead of allowing people to click their way through a class," Hochul said.
The governor says transparency will be the hallmark of her administration. However, during her first public appearance, in a ceremonial swearing in, Hochul took few questions and provided little policy direction, before walking out to applause.
But Hochul later said, she plans to work with leaders across the state to emerge from the COVID pandemic. This, she notes, as the delta variant spreads.
"I believe that with every fiber of my body that this is our time to escape the oppression of a deadly virus," Hochul said.
Collaboration is key in the Governor's three pronged approach, outlined as day one priorities. She is mandating masks in schools for everyone, working to increase vaccination rates statewide and preparing for and distributing COVID booster shots, fast.
"Much progress has been made but too many are not vaccinated, putting themselves and their communities at risk, Hochul said. "I'm prepared to do whatever is necessary, including reopening mass vaccination sites to all New Yorkers..."
Hochul says now is also the time to get New Yorkers back to work. This would help small businesses and create new jobs for those hit hard by the pandemic--especially women in the workplace.
"It's our time to unleash the power of New York's women," Hochul said.
The governor, the first female, paid tribute to women who've paved the way before her. She was wearing white during her swearing in ceremony, as a nod to the suffragettes. She explained it is the dawn of a new day in the State of New York.
Governor Hochul says she's spoken with President Biden and he's pledged his full support for her administration.
As for more policies and procedures, Hochul says we can expect more to come soon.