‘An important step’: Women’s groups react to Kathy Hochul becoming first female governor of New York

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FILE – Lieutenant Governor of New York Kathy Hochul speaks at a ribbon cutting ceremony in the Bronx borough of New York, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces possible impeachment following findings from an independent investigation overseen by state Attorney General Letitia James. If the governor resigns or is impeached, Hochul stands poised to become New York’s first female governor in a state whose last three male governors have been marred by scandal. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — For the first time in New York’s history, a woman will lead the state as governor.

Kathy Hochul will take over as the 57th governor of the Empire State in less than two weeks, an exciting moment for many women across the area.

“Any time a women is able to break through a glass ceiling that seems just completely unbreakable is cause for celebration,” said Jennifer Gabriel, the Executive Director of the National Women’s Hall of Fame. 

“Obviously this has been a difficult time for our state and for our nation, as we have seen what’s going on, but now that we know the outcome and we can move forward, it’s time to celebrate soon-to-be Governor Hochul.”

Gabriel said this is a big step forward for those who have fought for years for equality and women’s rights, including women like Elizabeth Katie Stanton, who lead the women’s rights movement in the 1800s, and Marcia Greenberger, the founder of the National Women’s Law Center.

“It’s provided a platform upon which we can stand and celebrate and keep fighting and keep working towards a more equitable world, not just for women but for all people who have marginalized in their lives,” Gabriel said. 

Many believe having a female governor will inspire future generations of women down the road. 

“It does make a difference for people to see people who look like them, doing important things. If you only see people who don’t look at all like you, you don’t think to aspire to that, and so I think it’s an important step,” said Barbara Grosh, the President of the League of Women Voters of the Rochester Metropolitan Area. 

Grosh said this is also an indication of how hard women have worked over the years. 

“What it means for us is that women stood up for themselves. Women were believed. Women were in positions of power to take women seriously, so we’re actually encouraged by the fact that we got this far,” Grosh said. 

Kathy Hochul brings some exciting ties to her position as governor as well. She’s a Buffalo New York native, meaning she will be the first governor in nearly a century to be from outside of New York City or its neighboring counties.

“It’s exciting for the region,” Gabriel said. “To have someone who is able to be on a national platform be able to really highlight the beauty of New York, the diversity of New York and all the different regions that makes us special, is really spectacular.”

Kathy Hochul isn’t the only one making history in two weeks. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins is set to become New York’s first Black female Lt. Governor. 

“It’s incredible to be able to see people who otherwise have been marganilized in their worlds and to be able to rise up,” Gabriel said. 

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