About Kathy Hochul

Call to Service

Former Congresswoman Kathy Hochul enthusiastically accepted Governor Cuomo’s call to return to public service by running as his choice for Lt. Governor. She is currently traveling across New York, listening to the concerns of citizens, elected officials, small business owners and farmers. Once elected, Kathy plans to focus her attention on continuing the success of the Governor and work with the Regional Economic Development Councils to attract and retain business to create much-needed jobs, and address the skills gap to ensure our citizens, particularly in pockets of poverty, have access to the higher-paying jobs. She will partner with the Governor to promote his agenda to make New York the most progressive and fiscally sound State in the Nation. She will also continue the work she began as a Member of the House Armed Services Committee to help our returning veterans adapt to civilian life.

Kathy will also champion the Women’s Equality Agenda to ensure the daughters of this State have the same rights as men, and that their unique challenges are addressed. If elected, Kathy will be the first female Democratic Lt. Governor since 1978.

Tenure in Congress

Kathy served in the House of Representatives from New York’s 26th Congressional District, where she earned a reputation for taking on the tough fights for Western New York and working with Democrats and Republicans to strengthen our economy, create good-paying jobs, relieve the burden of student debt, fight for farmers and small businesses, and take care of our veterans.

She has a history of taking on rightwing extremists. Despite running in the most Republican district in the State, Kathy campaigned hard against the Paul Ryan budget and in support of Medicare. Her stunning victory was a national story and reinvigorated the Democratic Party.

According to the National Journal, “…Kathy Hochul’s win..provided the Democrats with their first really good night in 3 years, and made Republicans squirm even more… Hochul’s hammering of Ryan’s Plan of converting Medicare to a voucher system struck fear in the hearts of a good chunk of the 235 Republicans who voted for the Ryan budget.” Hochul also attacked the cuts to education, R&D funding for Universities to nurture start-ups, food stamps and other measures to help our citizens in need.

In Congress, she was supported by EMILY’s list, maintained a pro-choice record, and was targeted by the national Conservative media for her defense of the contraception mandate under the Affordable Care Act.

Kathy advocated for marriage equality even when the idea did not receive support in her district, and she joined Democrats in signing a legal brief challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Kathy maintained true to her labor roots in Congress, casting votes to support the working men and women of America. She was a frequent critic of tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires and called for tax cuts for low and middle income earners. She was given a privilege usually reserved only for party leadership to give the closing argument against the Speaker Boehner debt ceiling bill during the summer of 2011, after being in Congress less than two months.

Kathy was also the only Member of Congress outside the leadership to be invited to join the President before his September, 2011 outline of priorities for getting a Jobs Act through Congress. She publicly supported his plan for shifting tax advantages—from large companies to small businesses, to stimulate further job creation.

Erie County Clerk

Prior to her time in Congress, Kathy was the highest-ranking female elected official in Erie County while serving as County Clerk from 2007-2011. She has strong executive experience in overseeing a large bureaucracy, handling budgets, personnel and technology for seven DMV operations and the functions of the County Clerk’s office in a county of just under one million residents.

During her tenure as Clerk, she successfully fought fee increases proposed for new license plates, stating that during the recession, people were struggling and should not have to endure higher fees. She was recognized for bringing innovative technology to the operations, creating among the first in the State, the ability for lawyers to file court pleadings online and paved the way for electronic filing of land records. Kathy dramatically improved the experience at the Department of Motor Vehicles, taking a customer-oriented approach while saving millions for her constituents.

Hamburg Town Council

In all of her positions in public office, including her 14 years as Town Councilmember, Kathy has always fought for the underdog, while demonstrating willingness to take on hard fights and challenge the status quo. The Buffalo News dubbed her the “stop the tolls pioneer,” for her years of fighting toll increases and the tolls themselves in a hard-hit, economically depressed area. Ultimately, the toll barriers around the City of Buffalo were removed. She fought to make the NYSDOT more responsive to local concerns, took on Exxon when Buffalo had the highest gas prices in the country in a time of record corporate profits, CSX railroad, and large telecommunications providers and established strict laws on the placement of cellular towers – all while serving as a local Councilwoman.

Capitol Hill Staffer

Following law school and time at a large firm, Kathy gave up private practice for public service. Kathy was asked to serve as a legal counsel and legislative assistant to Congressman John LaFalce (D-NY) and later to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. While a staffer for Senator Moynihan, she worked on the last major immigration reform enacted — The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which provided amnesty to over 7 million new Americans. She also had a major hand in drafting the $1.4 Billion Anti-Drug Bill of 1986, creating a formula to allocate almost one quarter of the funds to NYS—primarily for prevention and treatment programs for crack cocaine and heroin users in NYC. Kathy also drafted a major campaign finance reform bill which would have provided public financing for federal races to remove the influence of money and equalize the access to elective office.

Personal Life

Kathy holds a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and a JD from Catholic University in Washington, DC.

She has been married to her husband, Bill since 1984, and is the mother of Will and Katie.

Kathy credits growing up in a progressive environment for the values she holds today. Her paternal grandparents were immigrants who fled poverty in Ireland and her grandfather started his American experience as a migrant worker in the wheat fields of South Dakota. Her grandparents became domestics in Chicago and were lured to Buffalo by the promise of steelworker jobs at the new Bethlehem Steel plant. Kathy’s father, Jack, was also a steelworker and union organizer and began married life with her Mother, Pat, in a tiny trailer in the shadow of the plant.

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