First female New York attorney general appointed by state Legislature

Barbara Underwood officially became the first woman to serve as attorney general in New York after she was appointed to the role in a joint legislative session Tuesday.

Underwood took over as the acting attorney general for New York after Eric Schneiderman resigned earlier this month amid allegations of assault by multiple women.

She will serve in this position until the end of the year. An election for the next attorney general will be held in November. Underwood has previously said she does not anticipate running for a four-year term in November.

On Tuesday, Underwood released a statement thanking the Legislature for the “privilege” of holding the position of attorney general.

“I want to thank the legislature for entrusting me with the privilege of serving as New York’s 66th Attorney General,” she said. “I’ve served in many roles in government throughout my career. But I believe this job — at this moment in history — is the most important job I have ever had.”

New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo hailed the appointment, calling Underwood a “brilliant legal mind” in a statement.

“She is a brilliant legal mind and an extraordinarily qualified attorney who has argued 20 cases before the Supreme Court, and she will provide strong leadership and important continuity in the office of attorney general during these challenging times,” Cuomo said.

Kathy Hochul, the New York state lieutenant governor, highlighted the historic nature of the appointment on Tuesday.

“Congratulations to Barbara Underwood, the first woman to hold the position of @NewYorkStateAG. Another #glassceiling shattered,” Hochul tweeted.

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