Kathy Hochul: A look back at her policy history

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NEW YORK (WETM) – Set to become New York’s first female governor in just two weeks, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul has spent her two terms in office traveling all over the state.

Recently, she joined in calling on Governor Cuomo to resign saying “it is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers.”

But she’s gone under the radar of many New Yorkers who still don’t know much about the centrist Democrat from Western New York or her political views.

Where does Kathy Hochul stand?

The website OnTheIssues.org is a non-profit that says it aims to provide non-partisan information to voters about politicians, gathering information from newspapers, speeches, press releases and online.

Abortion: Hochul has said she is pro-choice.

In 2011, she was endorsed by the pro-choice organization NARAL (National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws).

“Once in Congress, I will fight alongside NARAL Pro-Choice New York to ensure women have access to safe and adequate health services, without any interference from the federal government,” she said in 2011.

LGBTQ Rights: Hochul supports same-sex marriage and prohibiting sexual-identity discrimination in schools.

While in Congress, “Hochul supported abortion rights and same-sex marriage in one of the state’s more conservative congressional districts.” according to OnTheIssues.

In 2011, Hochul signed the Student Non-Discrimination Act which “prohibits public school students from being excluded from participating in, or subject to discrimination under, any federally-assisted educational program on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity or that of their associates.”

Women’s Rights: Hochul is a supporter of equal rights between men and women.

She signed the proposed Equal Rights Amendment while in Congress. The re-introduced amendment says “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

In an interview with City & State New York about her experience in the #MeToo movement, Hochul said “How could I change men’s attitude towards women? How can I get inside a man’s head and say how can you possibly treat your coworker in such a degrading way? She’s an equal to you. She does not deserve to be commented on. Physically touched. Propositioned in the workplace. That’s not a policy, that’s a request and a hope that we can change male attitudes, and if they don’t change then there will have to be consequences.”

In 2019, Hochul supported a new law from Governor Cuomo that aimed to close the wage gap. “We are committed to closing the gap once and for all in New York, and these new pay equity laws bring us closer to ensuring equality and fairness for all women. We have made significant progress, but we will not rest until every woman is receiving equal pay for equal work.”

Gun Control: Hochul was backed by the NRA in 2012.

When running for reelection for NY’s 27th District in 2012, Hochul was backed by the National Rifle Association and received an A-rating.

However, since then she has backed New York’s Red Flag—which went into effect in 2019—law that aims to prevent people deemed dangerous from buying firearms.

Immigration: Hochul first gained statewide attention in 2007 when she opposed then-Governor Eliot Spitzer’s proposal to allow undocumented immigrants to apply for drivers licenses without producing a Social Security Card.

She has since reversed her position. She told The Journal News in 2021 her decision at the time was based on what her constituents wanted. “Fast forward to today, I realize that this is something that fits in with my earlier work to ensure the rights of citizenship to everyone who is here.”

In her address on August 11, 2021 after Governor Cuomo’s resignation announcement, Hochul was asked about the change in her position. She said, “Early on in my career as a county clerk, I had taken a position which has now evolved, and that evolution coincides with the evolution of many people.”

Healthcare: Hochul supports Obamacare and preserving Medicare.

While in Congress, Hochul didn’t vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act and supported the contraception mandate in the act. In the interview with City & State New York, she said, “If I voted once to repeal that, I’d still be a member of Congress. Absolutely, that became a defining issue in my narrow loss, as well as my support for the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act.”

In her 2012 campaign, Hochul opposed Republican efforts to privatize healthcare and turn Medicare into a voucher system.

Education: Hochul supports free college tuition.

She has backed the new York Excelsior program that aims to make tuition free at SUNY and CUNY schools for middle-class families.

In 2012, she introduced the Workforce-Read Educate America Act to Congress. The bill’s goal was to create partnerships between local businesses and local schools to “provide our students with the sufficient skills to meet the needs of these fast-growing industries.”

Crime: Hochul spearheaded Governor Cuomo’s “Enough is Enough” campaign.

In 2015, during her first term as Lieutenant Governor, Hochul spearheaded Governor Cuomo’s campaign to tackle sexual assaults on college campuses. She traveled around the state to meet with students, faculty and administration as well as service providers and advocates for survivors of rape and sexual assault. 

Minimum Wage: Hochul supports the $15 minimum wage.

Hochul supports increasing the state minimum wage to $15, saying “No one working full-time should be forced to live in poverty.”

She also supports Paid Family Leave, saying “As a mother, I know how difficult it is trying to balance responsibilities at work and at home. No family should have to make the choice between earning a paycheck and caring for a child or ailing parent.”

Environment: Hochul announced an EPA cleanup project at an Attica business in 2012.

In 2012, an Attica glass manufacturer created a mound of garbage consisting of glass fragments. Portions of the pile were burning, concerning Attica residents about air quality, health effects and the possibility of an explosion.

In response, Hochul announced “The EPA will now assume the lead role in the troubling situation at an Attica business, which has left the community exposed to intolerable odors and emissions.”

Kathy Hochul’s complete OnTheIssues page can be found here.

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