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Kathy Hochul is the 57th Governor of New York. A lifelong New Yorker, she was born and raised in a blue-collar Irish Catholic family in Buffalo that instilled a deep passion for public service and activism. She continued that fighting spirit as a student organizer, as a young attorney and aide to Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and then as a member of her Town Board, Erie County Clerk, member of Congress, lieutenant governor, and now as governor.
After the Tea Party wave in 2011, Kathy entered a special election in the most Republican congressional district in the state, and against all odds, won as a proud Democrat. Her election, and later – her victory, was viewed as a national referendum on Paul Ryan’s agenda to bankrupt Social Security and Medicare. Despite risking her reelection, Kathy always fought to protect the Affordable Care Act, a woman’s right to choose, and the rights of the LGBTQ community.
In Congress, Kathy proudly received the endorsement of various women’s groups like EMILY’s List and was often targeted by conservative media for her defense of the contraception mandate under Obamacare. Kathy was also endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign and has been a lifelong champion for the LGBTQ community and the fight for equality.
Kathy maintained true to her labor roots and consistently voted to support the working men and women of America. She was a frequent critic of tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires and called for tax cuts for low and middle-income earners.
Fighting for Working Families
Twice elected statewide as Lt. Governor, Kathy fought for working families, and continues to be their champion as governor. She was a strong voice in the successful fight for a $15 minimum wage and Paid Family Leave. Every day, Kathy is working with the state legislature to prioritize making lives better for all New York families – because no one working full-time should live in poverty.
In the age of advanced technology, access to higher education has become increasingly more difficult. With the belief that education is a human right, Kathy fought hard to make SUNY and CUNY schools tuition-free for every middle-class family.
As Chair of the Regional Economic Development Councils, Kathy led efforts to lift up communities across this state and secured a record increase of workforce development funding, so all New Yorkers have an opportunity to find a good-paying job.
Champion for Women
Throughout Kathy’s life, she has committed to empowering women. She joined her mother and aunt in establishing the Kathleen Mary House in 2006, a transitional home for victims of domestic violence. Kathy has consistently placed issues that are important to women on the top of her agenda. Traveling the state, she has leveraged her position as the highest ranking female official in state government to encourage women to be an active voice for change. Kathy wants women to dream big and take risks – and she believes in equal pay for equal work. Kathy supports banning salary history and the state’s record high goal for certifying minority/women-owned business enterprises.
Kathy lead advocacy campaigns for the “Enough is Enough” sexual assault prevention program and worked to pass the strictest laws against sexual harassment in the nation. She prioritizes being a voice for all women as she visits all 62 counties every year.
Kathy has always believed in giving a voice to the voiceless. Kathy credits her upbringing with progressive parents for the values she holds today. Her grandparents were immigrants who fled poverty in Ireland, and her grandfather started his American journey as a migrant worker in the wheat fields of South Dakota. They later became domestics in Chicago and were lured to Buffalo by the promise of good-paying jobs at Bethlehem Steel. Kathy’s father, Jack, was also a steelworker and union organizer and began married life with her mother, Pat, in a tiny trailer in the shadow of the plant.
Kathy holds a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and a JD from Catholic University. She is married to her husband, Bill, and they have two children, Will and Katie.
JD, Catholic University, Washington, DC, 1983
BA, Political Science, Syracuse University, 1980
Governor, State of New York, 2021-present
Former Member, Hamburg Town Council
Candidate, Governor of New York, 2022
Lieutenant Governor, State of New York, 2015-2021
Candidate, Lieutenant Governor of New York, 2018
Representative, United States House of Representatives, 2011-2013
Candidate, United States House of Representatives, District 27, 2012
No caucus information on file.
Former Legal Counsel/Legislative Assistant, Congressperson John LaFalce
Former Vice President for Strategic Relationships, Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company (M&T Bank)
Former Legal Counsel/Legislative Assistant, Senator Patrick Moynihan
Deputy County Clerk, Erie County, 2007-2011
Religious, Civic, and other Memberships
Chair, Governor Cuomo’s Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, present
Chair, New York State Workforce Investment Board, present
Member, Board of Trustees, Immaculata Academy
Member, Hamburg Town Board
Chair, New York State Women’s Suffrage 100th Anniversary Commemoration Commission
Chair, Regional Economic Development Councils
Co-Founder, Village Action Coalition
Co-Founder, Kathleen Mary House, 2006
As Lieutenant Governor from 2015 to 2021, Hochul successfully spearheaded numerous initiatives and lead the administration’s economic development and job creation efforts across the state, working every day to advocate for policies that help all New Yorkers make ends meet.
She also helped New York State manage the COVID-19 pandemic response, while focusing on a recovery that builds back better and more inclusive.
Hochul chaired the statewide Regional Economic Development Councils that have transformed the state’s economy by building upon regional strengths through long-term strategic plans.
She also served as co-chair of the State’s Heroin and Opioid Task Force to hear from experts and community members in search of answers to the opioid crisis and develop a comprehensive strategy for New York.
As Lieutenant Governor, she championed the ‘Enough is Enough’ law to prevent sexual assault on college campuses, spearheaded the State’s Paid Family Leave program, and worked to eliminate the gender wage gap, expand access to affordable child care, and combat sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace and beyond.
She served as chair of the State’s Women’s Suffrage Commission and co-chair of the State’s Child Care Availability Task Force.
From 2011 to 2013, Hochul served in the U.S. House representing New York’s 26th Congressional District. Then Congresswoman Hochul served on the House Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees, traveling to Afghanistan to confer with military leaders and meet with active duty men and women. Her focus in Congress was job creation and bridging the skills gap by bringing together business and academia, and creating opportunities for returning veterans.
Early Career and Education
Hochul served as Erie County Clerk from 2007 to 2011. Before that, Hochul worked for 14 years as a Hamburg Town Board member. She served as liaison to the local economic development agency and worked to attract new businesses and create jobs following the loss of the Western New York manufacturing base.
Hochul holds a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and a law degree from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. She began her legal career working at a large firm in Washington, D.C. and later served as legal counsel and legislative assistant to Congressman John LaFalce and Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. She was instrumental in drafting legislation related to campaign finance reform, immigration reform and combatting drug abuse.
In 2006, Hochul joined her mother and aunt in establishing the Kathleen Mary House, a transitional home for victims of domestic violence.