Barbara Underwood was appointed as New York Attorney General by state lawmakers Wednesday afternoon, becoming the first woman to serve in the role.
Underwood has spent 11 years in the office and was elevated from solicitor general to Acting AG after Eric Schneiderman’s resignation once domestic violence allegations surfaced.
"It's a tremendous honor and I pledge to serve the great people of the state of New York with honesty, integrity and all the skills that I've acquired in all my decades of public service," said Underwood, moments after.
The depth of Underwood's experience and her decision to not run for the job made her an appointment both Republicans and Democrats could support.
"I think the most important thing I can do right is now is keep going. The work this office does is important," Underwood said.
From Gov. Andrew Cuomo:
"I commend the Legislature for its sound and prudent decision to appoint acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood. 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. I am proud to have first appointed Barbara as Solicitor General, and I look forward to continuing to work with her through the remainder of her term to fight for New Yorkers and stand up to an administration in Washington that wants to take us backwards."
Since Underwood will not seek a full term, and a full slate of candidates are gearing up. Democrats Tish James, Zephyr Teachout and Leecia Eve are vying for the nomination. On the Republican side are Wall Street lawyer Manny Alicandro, former George Pataki aide Joe Holland, Rockland County Attorney Thomas Humbach, and Keith Wofford, an attorney originally from Buffalo who now lives in New York City. Both party conventions are this week.
Back in Albany, lawmakers insisted they needed to act on the vacancy, given the constitutional role outlined for the legislature when the AG’s office is open.