Wearing suffragist white, Ms. Hochul stressed that she would be different from Mr. Cuomo, declaring that she would pursue a more collaborative relationship with Democrats who control the Legislature and with Eric Adams, New York City’s new mayor.
She promoted herself as a champion of good governance and proposed to overhaul state ethics commission and to limit term limits for governors. The latter measure, which would limit her power, was seen as a subtle rebuke to the immense influence Mr. Cuomo had over more than a decade in his office.
“For government to work, those of us in power cannot continue to cling to it,” Ms. Hochul said, speaking before a sparse crowd of about 50 people.
The reforms to government and ethics were designed to hold accountable elected officials in a State Capitol where there is a history of corruption and graft.
One of her boldest ideas was to abolish the troubled Joint Commission on Public Ethics. Its members are appointed by the governor or state legislators. Instead, under Ms. Hochul’s plan, a rotating, five-member panel of law school deans or their designees would oversee ethics enforcement.
The address, usually a lively affair that attracts crowds lobbyists and activists to Capitol Hill, was tinged by 2022 touches: masks were used, as well as testing requirements and attendance limits. Many lawmakers could view it remotely. Covid-19 concerns meant that Carl E. Heastie was not present as the Assembly speaker. A crowd of protesters wailing American flags gathered outside the Capitol and protested against vaccine mandates.
Ms. Hochul was acutely aware of possible attacks by Republicans and focused part of her remarks upon new efforts to combat gun violence. These included financing for more police officers, prosecutors, investments into neighborhoods where violent crime is common, and money earmarked to trace the origin of illegal firearms.
Source: NY Times