BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Kathy Hochul might not be a household name downstate, but she is a well known figure in Western New York.
It is where she launched her political career.
“Kathy Hochul, who was Syracuse University student, was an intern in the Buffalo Speaker's office,” recalled David Swarts, president & CEO, Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.
In 13 days, Buffalo-born Lt. Governor Hochul will become the next governor of New York State.
And those who know her well say she has an impressive political timeline.
Hochul received her diploma from Syracuse University in 1980, after graduating from Hamburg High School in 1976.
And even in high school she began service work on the ‘girls service club’.
Hamburg High School just got more popular — students can now say the governor is a graduate of their school.
“She's a very determined focused individual. She's an incredible campaigner,” Swarts noted.
Swarts is a former Erie County Clerk. By the time he appointed her chief deputy in the clerk's office, Hochul — an attorney — already worked on the staff for Congressman John LaFalce and served on the Hamburg Town Board.
“When people get to know Kathy, they'll come to the conclusion that she's the right person for the job,” Swarts stated.
Former Congressman LaFalce says he is a very good friend and mentor to Hochul.
His advice to Hochul is to pick the best possible staff she can find.
“You can't be much better than your staff in order to be a good governor — a good congressman — you need an excellent staff, so that's the first thing that I would counselor her to do,” LaFalce said.
Hochul served as Erie County Clerk, was elected to Congress in a special election in 2011. She lost reelection to Congress in 2012, but by 2014 she was lt. governor.
“The one thing no one should do is underestimate Kathy Hochul and one should take her kindness for weakness,” remarked State Senator Tim Kennedy.
Senator Kennedy says he believes Hochul will do a tremendous job, calling her bold, thoughtful and driven.
“But you know what she is kind and she is empathic and she does care about the people and she has a balanced way of doing things,” Kennedy reflected.