Hochul Proposes Term Limits for New York


Hochul at the State of The State address on January 5th

Dan Stark, Student Editor

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has proposed a statewide amendment to enact term limits for New York’s statewide elected offices, specifically the governorship.

New York is one of fourteen states that does not have gubernatorial term limits. Three of the past six governors of the state have served three four-year terms.

The proposal would enact a limit of two four-year terms on the four statewide elected offices in New York- governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and comptroller. 

She defended the proposal in her first State of The State speech last Wednesday. “For government to work, those of us in power cannot continue to cling to it,” she stated. “We need to continually pass the baton to new leaders with different perspectives and fresh ideas.”

Her remarks have been interpreted as a direct rebuke of her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo, a three-term governor who was running for a record fourth term until he resigned the governorship in August 2021. 

The proposal will have to pass the State Legislature before it goes on a ballot for New Yorkers to vote on. Clearing the legislature will be the first hurdle for the proposal, as Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie (D-Bronx) has previously stated he is not “a big fan of term limits.”

Some have already announced their support for the proposal. “If you want to fundamentally change the culture of Albany, you need to limit the amount of time our elected officials are in office,” said State Senator Joseph Griffo (R-Rome), one of the Legislature’s leading advocates for term limits. In a letter to Hochul, he affirmed his support for the plan, while urging her to consider a proposal for term limits in the Legislature.

It is worth noting that Hochul’s proposal only applies to elected terms. This means, hypothetically, she could serve out the remainder of Cuomo’s term and win two full terms in her own right under her proposal.