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Hochul calls allegations against Cuomo 'sickening,' vows 'a very different environment'

Hochul also told NBC's "Today" show that she plans to run for a full term as governor next year.

WASHINGTON — New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who is set to become governor in less than two weeks, expressed disgust Thursday over the sexual harassment allegations that nearly a dozen women have made against outgoing Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

In an interview on NBC’s “Today” show, Hochul was asked if she ever witnessed the alleged behavior or confronted Cuomo, who has denied the sexual harassment claims.

“I've not been in the rooms when this has happened, and it is actually sickening to me to see this surface, and my heart goes out to the young women in particular who have been toiling in this environment,” Hochul said.

New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks at the state Capitol, Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021 in Albany, N.Y.Hans Pennink / AP

“They need to know they are welcome in my administration," she continued. "I will respect them, and I have worked as an administrator and executive in many situations and have had many staffs, and every one of these individuals that have worked for me —and I treat them all as families — they would attest that there will be a very different environment here just because of who I am.”

Hochul, a Democrat who will be the first woman governor in New York’s history, said it’s “no secret” that she has not been close to Cuomo given that she has spent the last six years traveling all over the state to promote the administration's agenda.

She emphasized there will be “no more distractions” in her administration, but declined to weigh in when asked if the legislature should still proceed with impeachment proceedings against Cuomo, who announced his plan to resign on Tuesday.

Asked if she would support mask mandates in schools, Hochul said she believes "there will end up being mask mandates,” adding that circumstances could change and that she is watching the Covid infection rate “like a hawk.”

Hochul will finish Cuomo’s term and said she plans to run for a full term as governor next year.