Kathy Hochul has become the first female governor of New York.
The 62-year-old was sworn in as governor in a brief, private ceremony in the New York State Capitol overseen by the state’s chief judge, Janet DiFiore on Tuesday.
Hochul will take over as the top politician in the fourth most populous US state after Andrew Cuomo resigned over sexual harassment allegations – which he denies.
Described by her predecessor as “smart and competent”, Hochul is a centrist Democrat from the Buffalo area of New York state.
She joined the governor’s team in 2014 and has held the largely ceremonial role of lieutenant governor.
Ms Hochul is from a family of steelworkers, and her grandparents fled poverty in Ireland before making New York their home.
One of six children, she gained an undergraduate degree from Syracuse University, and a law degree from Catholic University of America. From there, she started off working as an aide on Capitol Hill and worked in local positions before being elected to Congress.
Ms Hochul has been an advocate for women facing domestic and sexual violence throughout her career. She led Mr Cuomo’s “Enough is Enough” campaign to fight sexual assault on college campuses.
In 2006 she also established the Kathleen Mary House, a transitional home for victims of domestic violence, with her mother and aunt.
In 2008, the governor-to-be caused controversy when serving as the Erie county clerk, after she opposed then-Governor Eliot Spitzer’s plan to give driving licences to undocumented immigrants.
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