Hochul was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. Hochul received her bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and her Juris Doctor from Catholic University. Hochul began her career working for a law firm in Washington D.C. and later as a legal counsel and legislative assistant to U.S. Representative John LaFalce, U.S. Senator Daniel Moynihan, and the New York State Assembly. Hochul began her political career serving on the Hamburg Town Board from 1994 to 2007. Hochul was appointed to Erie County Clerk in 2007 and was reelected in 2010 on the Democratic, Conservative, Independence, and Working Families Party ballot lines. In 2011, Hochul won the special election to fill the seat in New York’s 26th congressional district and later lost her reelection to the position in 2012. Hochul was named Governor Andrew Cuomo’s choice for lieutenant governor during his reelection in 2014, and both were reelected in 2018. Governor Cuomo annouced his resignation on August 10, 2021, after his sexual misconduct scandal, and Hochul is set to succeed him as the first female governor of New York on August 24th.
Hochul was appointed by Governor Cuomo to co-chair the Heroin and Opioid Abuse Task Force and spearheaded the Enough is Enough campaign which aimed to combat sexual assault on college campuses. Hochul also established the Kathleen Mary House, a transitional home for victims of domestic violence, with her mother and aunt.
Hochul has previously received criticism for opposing a proposal to grant licenses to undocumented immigrants in New York and for stating that she would have undocumented immigrants arrested if they applied for one in Erie County. Hochul has since reversed her position on the issue, as she supported the Green Light Law in 2019 which allowed undocumented immigrants to apply for New York driver’s licenses.
Hochul was elected as chair of the New York State Women’s Suffrage 100th Anniversary Commemoration Commission and is pro-choice.
During her 2012 congressional campaign, Hochul stated that she supported raising taxes on those making more than $500,000 pert year and opposed new free trade agreements. Hochul believes that free trade agreements such as NAFTA have suppressed U.S. wages and benefits and caused job loss.
Hochul supports the Affordable Care Act and has previously received criticism from her congressional district for saying that she would not vote to repeal it.