Kathleen Courtney Hochul, an American lawyer and politician serving as the 57th governor of New York since August 24, 2021 is running against Lee Zeldin for the 2022 New York Governor.
She is a member of the Democratic Party, and is New York’s first female governor, as well as the first governor from upstate New York since the 1930.
Hochul was born Kathleen Courtney in Buffalo, New York, the second of the six children of John P. “Jack” Courtney, then a college student and clerical worker, and Patricia Ann “Pat” (Rochford) Courtney, a homemaker.
Hochul became politically active during her college years at Syracuse University and was famed for leading a boycott of the student bookstore over high prices as well as an unsuccessful effort to name the university stadium after alumnus running back, National Football League draft pick, and cancer victim Ernie Davis.
She successfully lobbied the university to divest from apartheid South Africa, and in spring 1979, the student newspaper The Daily Orange awarded her an “A”, citing the campus changes as evidence for the grade.
She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University in 1980 and a Juris Doctor from the Catholic University Columbus School of Law in 1984.
After graduating from law school, Hochul began working for a Washington, D.C. law firm, but she found the work unsatisfying.
As a result, she worked as legal counsel and legislative assistant to U.S. Representative John LaFalce and U.S. Senator Daniel Moynihan, and for the New York State Assembly, before seeking elected office.
On January 3, 1994, the Hamburg Town Board voted to appoint her to the vacant seat on the board caused by Patrick H. Hoak’s resignation to become town supervisor and she was elected to a full term in November 1994, on the Democratic and Conservative lines. She was reelected in 1998, 2002, and 2006.
However, she resigned on April 10, 2007, and was succeeded by former state assemblymember Richard A. Smith. While on the board, she led efforts to remove toll booths on parts of the New York State Thruway system.