Elected officials from North Country more than ready for change in Albany

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The resignation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo signals a historical change in New York as Lt. Gov. Kathy Holchul prepares to become the state’s highest elected official.

With the pandemic, the economy and the state budget to focus on, lawmakers say new leadership is needed. On social media, Holchul announced she’s ready to take the reins of state government.

She wrote, “As someone who has served all levels of government and is next in line of succession, I am prepared to lead as New York State’s 57th governor.” 

Lawmakers in the North Country say it’s a sad chapter in state history but that Cuomo’s resignation is best for state government.

“She certainly brings a lot to the table and I’m looking forward to seeing someone move forward, move us ahead, and get the people’s work done that isn’t going to be encumbered by the baggage of scandal and everything that’s been swirling around this governor,” said New York State Senator Dan Stec, a Republican.

Republican U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik wasn’t immediately available for comment but said in statement, “Every New Yorker must know that there is equal justice under the law – no matter if you are the most powerful figure in New York or an everyday New Yorker.”

Democratic Assemblyman Billy Jones says Hochul will be an advocate for New Yorkers in the North Country. 

“I know her very well. She’s a hard worker. She travels to every corner of the state monthly. And certainly, she will be looking out for the best interests of what we need here in the North Country, I think,” he said.

SUNY Plattsburgh political science professor Harvey Schantz says it’s rare to see governorship change in a state that doesn’t have term limits. In the past three to four decades, New York has had only five governors – all men.

“There’s going to be a change of a culture in Albany. This is a distinct historical period,” said Schantz.

He noted New York now has a woman in several top political positions – Attorney General, state Senate Majority Leader and now Governor.

“They used to say the biggest deals in Albany are made by three men in the room. Now there’s maybe one man in the room,” said Schantz.

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