Pataki’s advice to Hochul on eve of inauguration: hit the ground running

Local News

ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) – When George Pataki delivered his inaugural address upon becoming Governor of New York in 1995, he says he wanted to stress two things: change and unity. And he says both are just as important now as Kathy Hochul prepares to take the oath of office to become the state’s 57th governor.

“In these ridiculous political times, where Republicans and Democrats don’t talk to each other, let alone try to get along, I think all of us should just say, ‘We have a new governor. (It) doesn’t matter if she’s from Western New York or New York City. (It) doesn’t matter if she’s a Republican or Democrat. We want her to succeed,'” said Pataki, the state’s last Republican governor.

Hochul, the Democrat from who grew up in Hamburg, will become the state’s first female governor just after midnight Tuesday. She takes over upon the resignation of Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo steps down just weeks after the New York State Attorney General released a report which concluded he sexually harassed women. In a 15-minute farewell speech shared Monday, he claimed that report was, “designed to be a political firecracker on an explosive topic.”

“Kathy Hochul will become governor,” Cuomo said. “And I believe she will step up to the challenge. We all wish her success.”

Hochul’s swearing-in will be a private event held behind closed doors. She will be sworn-in a second time Tuesday around 10 a.m. during a more public event before delivering a virtual address later in the afternoon.

Pataki remembers his Inauguration Day as “one of the most exciting days” of his life.

“It was a great day from a ceremonial and a ‘pomp and circumstance’ aspect,” he said. “But then, I didn’t want to just hold a title. I wanted to do things.”

“I think (Hochul) is ready to hit the ground running,” Pataki added. “I think that’s one of the things that I would, from my experience, recommend to her: to just have an agenda and an initiative that people can get behind right away so that it’s not just the changing of a person, but it’s also the beginning of a new era.”

Chris Horvatits is an award-winning reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2017. See more of his work here.

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