Kathy Hochul
Kathy HochulREUTERS/Cindy Schultz

New York’s Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul, was sworn in Tuesday as Governor, replacing disgraced Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Hochul, 62, a native of Buffalo, served as Lieutenant Governor since 2015, and was next in line to serve as governor after Cuomo announced his resignation two weeks ago. She is the first woman to serve as Governor of New York State.

Hochul’s predecessor stepped down amid accusations of sexual misconduct. The State Attorney General filed a report which found that Cuomo had sexually harassed 11 women.

Ahead of the transfer of power, Cuomo released a pre-taped televised statement, criticizing the handling of accusations against him.

While Cuomo has expressed regret for making the women in question uncomfortable, he has denied any criminal wrongdoing.

“You know me: I am a fighter, and my instinct is to fight this, because it is unfair and unjust in my mind,” Cuomo said in his statement Monday night.

Cuomo also used his video statement to call on lawmakers to take steps to combat the rise in crime in New York, and chided fellow Democrats who backed calls to defund law enforcement agencies.

“We must keep people and businesses thriving in this state, crime must be controlled. And we have to be smart about it. No governor in the nation has passed more progressive measures than I have. But I disagree with some people in my own party who call to defund the police. I believe it is misguided, I believe it is dangerous.”

“Gun violence and crime are savaging inner cities. Look at New York City. Most of the victims are poor, black, and brown. Reforming police must be the goal. Ending discrimination by the police. Ending the unnecessary use of force – and then building back trust and respect between the police and the community they serve.”