Kathy Hochul, the first-ever woman to be elected as the Governor of New York and a proud Irish American, said she will fight for all people in her inaugural address.
“I'm here to fight for the people,” Hochul said in her inaugural address on January 1, 2023.
“Everyone, no matter where they came from, how they got here - to those whose ancestors came here in bondage on slave ships, and others who saw opportunity and saw New York as a shining beacon, drawing millions from every corner of the planet, just like my impoverished grandparents left Ireland as teenagers came through Ellis Island.
“And because of that, we are home to the most diverse population - people of every color, creed, national origin, and orientation call New York home.
"And for the next four years, our sole mission will be to lift up every New Yorker and make a difference in their lives, so their tomorrows will be better than their yesterdays.”
New Yorkers are tough, undeterred, and unafraid. We're also innovators and creators, optimists and realists, dreamers and doers.
But above all, when we are united, there's no stopping us. And there is no fight that is right that we will ever back down from. pic.twitter.com/luV1JKRjYp— Governor Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) January 2, 2023
Hochul became the first-ever female to be elected as the Governor of New York after she beat Republican opponent Lee Zeldin in the November 2022 election.
While she was only elected in November, Hochul, who was previously the Lieutenant Governor of New York, had assumed the role of Governor in September 2021 in the wake of Andrew Cuomo's resignation.
Despite being generationally removed from Ireland, Kathy Hochul - who was born Kathleen Mary Courtney - has frequently said that her Irish heritage was a key part of her upbringing.
Her grandparents John 'Jack' Patrick Courtney and Mary Bridget (Browne) Courtney met in Chicago after leaving the same area of Co Kerry. They later settled in upstate New York where they helped found the still-active Buffalo Irish Center.
A biography on Hochul's website states that she was “born and raised in a blue-collar Irish Catholic family in Buffalo that instilled a deep passion for public service and activism.”
Wonderful meeting with @MichealMartinTD this afternoon.
New York and Ireland share a strong bond, and it’s personal for me as a proud granddaughter of Irish immigrants.
I look forward to working together to combat COVID and come back stronger.🇮🇪 pic.twitter.com/5ZlH7qLToM— Governor Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) September 20, 2021
In a 2021 St. Patrick’s Day video, Hochul pointed proudly to her Irish immigrant roots, noting that "Just over 100 years ago, my father's parents fled a life that was surely destined for poverty in Co Kerry."
She further said in the video: "I will say like all good Irishmen and Irishwomen, I love a good fight, especially if it's for the people of my beloved state.
"We may have poetry in hearts, but we are scrappy. We know how to survive adversity. We never back down from a battle for what is right, even against all the odds.
"And we love the underdog - because the Irish have been underestimated throughout our history.
"I think that pretty much sums up what St. Patrick's Day is all about. Celebrating the Irish American spirit of toughness, perseverance, resiliency, but always with a twinkle in the eye in search of the brighter days and greener pastures that surely lie ahead.
"Those are Irish values, those are American values."