Up Close: Former Gov. Paterson sheds light on Cuomo-Hochul transition

Bill Ritter Image
Monday, August 16, 2021
Up Close: Former Gov. Paterson
Eyewitness News Up Close - 08/15/21

NEW YORK (WABC) -- In this episode of Up Close, we break down the resignation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the responsibilities that his successor, Kathy Hochul, will inherit in less than two weeks.

One person who may have the best perspective of what lies ahead for Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul is former New York Gov. David Paterson.

Paterson was the lieutenant governor when Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned after a prostitution scandal a year into his term.

The former governor knows Hochul and what lies ahead when Andrew Cuomo leaves office in 12 days.

"I was surprised, I thought the governor was going to fight this," Paterson said. "I thought he was already taking aim and trying to disgrace some of the people who were investigating him. So when he resigned on Tuesday at about noon, I was very surprised by this."

Paterson is the first and only African American to become governor of New York when when Spitzer resigned in 2008.

But with Cuomo still in office, Paterson says those who work with him are still trying to wield power -- but barking at those who helped push him out.

WATCH | Full interview with Gov. Paterson on Up Close:

Former Gov. Paterson discusses Cuomo's resignation and what Kathy Hochul faces next on this week's edition of "Up Close."

"He said the best way for him to help government is for him to leave at this point, but some people around him seem to think before they leave, the best thing they can do is try and hurt people, which is what they did all along and I think that's outrageous," Paterson said.

As for Hochul, former Gov. Paterson says she's in a place where she could bring New Yorkers together, and one way to do that is by appointing a lieutenant governor who can make a difference.

"She's gotta - I think - take advantage of the court decision I won, some years ago to appoint a lieutenant governor," Paterson said. "Appoint a lieutenant governor, probably someone from downstate, and how about this for an idea -- what if she appointed a woman for lieutenant governor and New York State will be the first state in the union to have a number 1 and number 2 who are both women."

As for the 14 days Hochul has to get ready to be governor, Paterson says she's lucky she has that time to get a staff together, talk to people and figure out how to prioritize her time so she hits the ground running.

When Paterson took over, he had about an hour.

ALSO READ | Kathy Hochul says mask mandates in NY schools are likely

The incoming New York governor stressed that she plans to work with school district officials as well as parents and teachers on the issue of mask requirements.


* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* Follow us on YouTube

* More local news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts Submit a News Tip