Parties weigh in on Cuomo resignation

GHENT—On August 10, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation during a press conference. He said he would leave office August 24 and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will take over as governor.

The Columbia County Democratic Committee issued a statement praising Lt. Gov. Hochul’s “long and distinguished career working on behalf of our county and the people of the State of New York.” The statement goes on to describe her as a tireless advocate for Upstate New York.

The committee also pointed out that as governor, Ms. Hochul “will break another glass ceiling, becoming New York’s first female governor. We believe it is long overdue.”

New York State Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul addressed Columbia County Democrats at the Chatham Brewing Company July 27. Photo contributed

On August 3, an independent investigators appointed by state Attorney General Letitia James released their report into the multiple allegations of sexual harassment by Governor Cuomo. According to a press release from the attorney general’s office, the investigators concluded that the governor did sexually harass multiple women, including former and current state employees, by engaging in unwanted groping, kissing, and hugging, and making inappropriate comments.

Further, the governor and his senior staff allegedly took actions to retaliate against at least one former employee for coming forward with her story. The investigators said the Executive Chamber fostered a “toxic” workplace that enabled “harassment to occur and created a hostile work environment.”

Attorney General James, a Democrat, said that the governor’s resignation “closes a sad chapter for all of New York, but it’s an important step towards justice. I thank Governor Cuomo for his contributions to our state. The ascension of our Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul, will help New York enter a new day.”

Statements from local and federal officials started circulating on Tuesday after the governor’s announcement.

“First and foremost, I want to thank the incredibly courageous women who came forward and shared their stories,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D). “New York now has a chance to move forward and build a new culture of leadership. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is an exceptional public servant and will be an excellent governor.”

In a press release, state Senator Daphne Jordan (R-43rd) said, “Andrew Cuomo has revealed himself as a bully, thug, creep, and coward…. His—and his staff of enablers’—incompetence, criminality, cover-ups, and corruption must be investigated by local, state, and federal law enforcement. The courageous women that Cuomo sexually harassed and abused who came forward to share their experiences and hold him accountable deserve our admiration and true justice, both in criminal and civil court. In addition, we must never forget the more than 15,000 senior citizens we tragically lost because of Cuomo’s reckless, foolish mandate that forced nursing homes to take in Covid-19 positive patients.”

She also said that she offers incoming Governor Hochul “my best wishes and prayers.”

Assemblyman Jake Ashby (R-107th) said in his statement, “The news of Gov. Cuomo’s resignation will hopefully mark the start of our government operating in an effective and bipartisan manner.” He went on to say, “Another important issue facing our state is the need for the Assembly to formally impeach Gov. Andrew Cuomo. My office has received hundreds of calls and emails expressing their support for the governor being impeached. It is our duty as state legislators to remain steadfast in our push to bring forth the resolution to impeach Gov. Cuomo.”

Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-106th) said in her statement that the governor “did the right thing for the people of New York by stepping down following the devastating findings included in Attorney General Letitia James’ report released just a week ago.”

She hoped this was a new chapter for the state “where women’s voices are heard the first time they speak, where women’s bodies are respected and not objectified, and where power is about lifting people up, not putting them down.”

She also said she looks forward to working with Lt. Governor Hochul, saying, “In the last seven years, my friend Kathy Hochul has logged more miles across New York than pretty much anyone in history.”

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