NY local, state lawmakers react to Cuomo resignation

Cuomo Crisis

NEW YORK — One week after New York Attorney General Letitia James released the results of an independent investigation that revealed Gov. Andrew Cuomo had sexually harassed at least 11 women, the governor announced his resignation.

“New York tough means New York loving, and I love New York and I love you,” the governor said. “I would never want to be unhelpful in any way, and I think given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing, and therefore, that’s what I’ll do,” he said during a Tuesday press conference.

His resignation will take effect on Aug. 24, and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will take over, becoming New York’s first female governor.

Below are the responses of state and local politicians to Gov. Cuomo’s resignation:

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul

“I agree with Governor Cuomo’s decision to step down. It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers. As someone who has served at all levels of government and is next in the line of succession, I am prepared to lead as New York State’s 57th Governor.”

Attorney General Letitia James

“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. We must continue to build on the progress already made and improve the lives of New Yorkers in every corner of the state. I know our state is in good hands with Lieutenant Governor Hochul at the helm, and I look forward to continuing to work with her.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

Make no mistake, this is the result of survivors bravely telling their stories. It was past time for Andrew Cuomo to resign and it’s for the good of all New York.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

“I want to commend the brave women who stepped forward and courageously told their stories. There is no place for sexual harassment, and today’s announcement by Governor Cuomo to resign was the right decision for the good of the people of New York. I have full confidence that Lt Governor Hochul will establish a professional and capable administration. I have spoken with Lt. Governor Hochul and look forward to working together to help the people of New York.” 

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

“First and foremost, I want to thank the incredibly courageous women who came forward and shared their stories. They are the true public servants here. 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. I look forward to working together to continue serving the people of our great state.”

Democratic Nominee for NYC Mayor and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

“The governor’s resignation was necessary for New York State to move forward and continue the critical work of our recovery. I look forward to working in partnership with Lieutenant Governor Hochul on the key issues affecting our city and region at this pivotal moment.”

NY Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (R, NY-11) 

“Today’s resignation by Governor Andrew Cuomo is an important first step forward for our state and its citizens. Lieutenant Governor Hochul has a huge job ahead of her; bringing our state together and dealing with the many challenges we face. Over the years, the Lt. Governor and I have crossed paths on a number of occasions. I wish her well in the days and months ahead and I pledge to work with her, where possible, for New Yorkers.

“While today’s resignation doesn’t heal the trauma and hurt felt by the women over Governor Cuomo’s sexual misconduct or the New Yorkers who lost loved ones in a nursing home due to his poor decisions, it does open the door for the process of healing to begin. There are no excuses for the offenses that these women charged him and hopefully our legal system will deliver the justice they deserve. But, the Governor’s resignation leaves many questions unanswered, including his administration’s alleged coverup in the nursing home scandal and the payday he received by utilizing his staff and state resources to write a book. The legislature must address these issues in a forthright and transparent manner.”

Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1)

“Andrew Cuomo’s statement today is a clear indication he is resigning to skirt all repercussions for his actions as opposed to accounting for his misconduct. He knows he would be impeached. He knows he would be voted out of office. Andrew Cuomo broke the law and criminal repercussions must follow, despite him no longer serving in public office. From his deadly nursing home order and coverup, to his $5.1 million self-congratulatory book deal and serial harassment and abuse of others, he’s been unfit to continue serving for a long period of time.

“Unfortunately, for New Yorkers, we’re left with Cuomo’s Lieutenant who empowered this disgusting behavior while Andrew Cuomo cultivated this toxic culture, leaving a trail of victims in its wake. Kathy Hochul has been silent scandal after scandal, from fatal nursing home policies and coverups to rampant harassment, intimidation, bullying and abuse. In November of 2022, we must rid New York of the Cuomo-Hochul administration and its disgraceful legacy. We need new leadership in New York to end the attacks on our freedoms, our wallets and our safety, and Save Our State.”

“Every New Yorker, regardless of who they vote for, where they live or how much they make, deserves much better than this. The last three Democrat Governors have left office embroiled in scandal. Albany corruption is systemic, fundamental and real. One-party Democrat rule enables this type of malign behavior. It’s not just about Cuomo, it’s about those who continue to preserve the status quo and have failed to learn from the mistakes of the past. Voters in New York need to take back control of how we are governed and set the standards we want for those who are given the honor of serving us.”

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards

“Thank you to all the survivors who came forward. It was not an easy decision to make, but your decision transformed New York’s history for the better. You are the true heroes of New York State, and Queens continues to support you as you move toward your next steps.

“I thank Attorney General Letitia James and her team for conducting a thorough, fair investigation and for giving survivors a platform to speak their truth.

“Today is a sad day for New York, but I am confident we can get back to work. I am ready to collaborate with our State’s first female Governor, Kathy Hochul.”

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said he was “kind of surprised” at the speed in which Gov. Cuomo resigned.

Williams told PIX11 News now the focus is making sure the people who come into leadership will fix the problems that occurred under the recent administration.

“At least for the next year, she’s going to be governor,” Williams said.

WHen asked if he’ll consider running for governor or lieutenant governor, Williams said “it’s always an honor” when he hears his name and still finds it sometimes surprising. Though he did not confirm or deny a possibility of a run, Williams said the focus right now is to assist in the transition process between Cuomo and Hochul.

The public advocate also said he “absolutely” does think impeachment proceedings should continue as multiple events including the book deal and nursing home scandal are being looked at. 

By impeaching Cuomo, it would prevent him from running for different positions in office.

New York Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens)

“Resignation ≠ Accountability”

“I am relieved, grateful and worried at the same time,” Kim told PIX11 News. “I am relieved for the people of New York that we can get back to the people’s work. I am grateful for the women who stepped up courageously so we can get to this outcome today. I’m also worried that we may not have the accountability that we desperately need so we know what went wrong with all the issues.”

Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D)

“The Governor’s resignation is in the best interest of New York. The 11 brave women who came forward and the thorough and fearless investigation from our Attorney General brought us to this moment. Incoming Governor Hochul now faces unprecedented challenges and we must all be ready to help her meet the moment and ensure that Long Island thrives and prospers during her tenure.”

Kaminsky told the PIX11 Morning News he “was stunned” the governor actually resigned as he expected Cuomo to wait until the last moment possible.

“This was about him trying to dictate his exit on his own terms,” Kaminsky said as if someone is impeached in New York, “you’re immediately removed” and you’d basically have to evacuate your home.

Regarding the investigation, Kaminsky pointed out the difference between releasing findings and moving forward with an impeachment vote, so we’ll wait and see where it goes.

As for Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, “these two weeks are going to be very critical for her,” Kaminsky said.

He did note that she’s been crisscrossing the state and learning in recent weeks and months. “She’s been preparing.”

Westchester County Executive George Latimer

“Westchester County, and my administration, stand ready to work with incoming Governor Kathy Hochul when she assumes the governorship later this month.  For years, incoming Governor Hochul has been a welcomed presence in Westchester County.  She is well qualified to lead New York State in this immediate crisis. 

“Also, for all New Yorkers, let us recognize this historic moment – that New York will for the first time in our history have a female Governor.  Times have changed – as they should. 

“We welcome incoming Governor Hochul, and look forward to cooperation between Westchester County and New York State in moving together in the right direction.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone

“The governor did the right thing today by stepping down. I had called for his resignation after taking the time to actually read the report that was put out by AG and the governor’s response. This is a sad day for New York, but the governor did the right thing for the state. He has a legacy that he has built of accomplishment. I have worked directly with the governor on Superstorm Sandy to water quality and infrastructure and countless other issues and I’m concerned about the future of the state, and it is going to be very important moving forward that that record of accomplishment continue in this state. I know lieutenant governor well, she is a good person and I will do everything I can to support this transition.”

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran

 “Governor Cuomo’s decision to resign will help New York State refocus on the business of the people. I look forward to working with Kathy Hochul as the next Governor to move Nassau County forward.”

Sen. Peter Oberacker (R)

“The door is open for a new beginning, and it is time to refocus our efforts on boosting our small businesses, improving the lives of individuals and families, and answering to those who elected us – that’s what New Yorkers deserve.”

Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt

“Today marks one small step toward restoring honor, decency, and accountability to New York State government. I hope today also brings some measure of justice to the brave women who had the courage to come forward against a powerful and vindictive political figure.

Over the past year, Andrew Cuomo’s credibility completely fell apart. Now, following his overdue resignation, it will never be repaired. The Governor’s pervasive harassment and coverups cast a dark cloud over our State Capitol and took us away from the important work facing this state.

Andrew Cuomo broke the law, lied about it, and shamelessly smeared the women who came forward. His resignation is welcome, but it stops short of the justice his victims and the people of New York deserve. The FBI, the State Attorney General, and other proper authorities must also be allowed to continue their work investigating all of the possible crimes related to our state’s nursing homes crisis and the Governor’s questionable book deal. The Legislature must examine the Cuomo administration’s many failings in public forums as soon as possible so that these abuses of power will never happen under another administration.

We must also acknowledge the fact that the Democrats in the Legislature failed to hold Andrew Cuomo or his administration accountable, despite our repeated calls to do so.

Well after the numerous credible allegations were made against Andrew Cuomo, Democrats in both the Senate and Assembly stood by him, normalizing his behavior and enabling him to cling to power. I hope those in the Legislature – and other powerful figures around the state – reflect on their own actions in response to Andrew Cuomo’s disturbing behavior. The vocal support and the deafening silence of many helped keep Andrew Cuomo in power far longer than he deserved.

In 14 days we will have our first female Governor. I’d like to congratulate Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, a fellow Western New Yorker, on becoming the first woman to assume leadership of this state. My fellow Senators and I look forward to working with Governor Hochul as we continue to tackle the issues of rising crime, our state’s struggling economy, and the resurgence of the COVID-19 virus.”

New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli

“The Governor has done the right thing. New York is facing many challenges as we battle the ongoing impact of COVID-19. My team and I stand ready to assist incoming Governor Hochul as we move the state forward.”

NYC Councilmember, chair of NYC Health Committee Mark Levine

“I am looking forward to finally having effective State leadership on COVID in New York. Can’t overstate how desperate we are for this.”

White Plains Mayor Tom Roach

“The conduct of the Governor as detailed in the Attorney General’s report has no place in our society, much less at the highest level of government in New York State. His resignation represents an affirmation of the women who bravely spoke up and called out the Governor’s behavior.

I have worked with Lt. Governor Hochul throughout her tenure and have found her to be smart, dedicated, and tireless. She has traveled the length and breadth of New York, regularly meeting and talking firsthand with residents, business owners, and local government officials on issues of concern to us all. Our state will be in good hands under her leadership. “

Former NYC Democratic Mayoral Candidate, former NYC Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia

“Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul will break the glass ceiling by becoming New York’s first female governor. A historic moment for our state and for all the women and girls who will see themselves represented at the highest level for the first time.”

Assemblyman Ed Ra (R)

“This is what’s right for our state. While Andrew Cuomo’s resignation does not absolve him in any of his ongoing criminal investigations, it does allow our government to move forward. Republicans and Democrats need to work together to ensure this is a new era of bipartisanship, reform, and progress that New Yorkers can be proud of. I’m sending my best wishes to Kathy Hochul today.”

Tweet from Representative Claudia Tenney (R)

“I now renew my earlier tweet to change the name of the expensive bridge over the Hudson.”

Representative Elise Stefanik (R)

“This resignation is long past overdue. Governor Cuomo needs to be arrested and prosecuted for sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual abuse. Governor Cuomo also needs to be arrested and prosecuted for his criminal acts covering up the tragic deaths of our most vulnerable seniors in nursing homes.”

Assembly Minority Leader Wil Barclay

“Stepping down was inevitable, overdue and the only path forward for Andrew Cuomo. The scandals surrounding the governor’s office have generated one of the darkest periods in state history, and it’s fortunate the governor finally came to the realization that his resignation is clearly in the best interest of New York. What’s next for Andrew Cuomo remains to be seen, with multiple investigations on a number of issues still active.”

Senator John W. Mannion (D)

“Andrew Cuomo’s decision to resign was the right thing to do, but it was only made necessary by his failure to do the right thing so many times before. It is my hope that the legislature will continue to investigate the outstanding questions surrounding the corruption of his administration because real change cannot come without full understanding of the problem.”

Senator Brad Hoylman (D)

“I’m grateful that this sad chapter in New York’s history is coming to an end thanks to the inspirational courage of the women who came forward to share their stories in the Attorney General’s report. I look forward to working with incoming Governor Kathy Hochul to address the severe problems facing our state, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on New York’s most vulnerable. It’s my sincere hope that a change in leadership in Albany will mark a new era of cooperation and collaboration between the Legislature and the Governor for the betterment of all New Yorkers.”

Representative Pat Fahy

“Governor Cuomo made the right decision today. I commend him for putting the interests of New York State first and preventing a drawn-out and expensive impeachment process. As difficult as this may be — as elected officials, we are held to a higher standard, and through holding one another accountable under the law — we demonstrate that our democratic institutions’ matter.”

Senator John E. Brooks

“This has been a very difficult period for the people of New York and we have much to do as we continue to battle COVID, rebuild our economy, prepare for a new school year, address concerns with the MTA, protect our environment, and so much more. All of us in the state legislature must come together and work with soon-to-be Governor Hochul in putting people and not politics first.”

Congressman Brian Higgins

“From her earliest days as a local official to her time as my colleague in Congress and her service as Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul’s sole priority has always been the people. Kathy is a public servant of integrity who works hard to listen to and deliver for the communities she represents. She will be an excellent Governor and will make New Yorkers proud.”

Senator Patrick Gallivan (R)

“This is a sad day for the State of New York, but I am thankful that Governor Cuomo has decided to step aside for the sake of the residents of our state.  It is clear the governor violated his oath of office and can no longer govern effectively. However, the brave women who stepped forward deserve justice and I believe the various investigations of the governor’s conduct should continue to include the improper reporting of nursing home deaths and the improper use of state employees for personal gain.”

Assemblymember Pat Burke

“Andrew Cuomo’s resignation was the necessary step to restore trust between New Yorkers and their government. It’s a sad day to see another Governor’s career end in scandal but it’s also a historic day as we welcome New York’s first female Governor, Kathy Hochul! Let’s Go Buffalo! Let’s Go New York!”

Former Governor George Pataki (R)

“This is a sad day for New York but Governor Cuomo needed to resign. The process Attorney General James undertook was not unfair but thorough, professional and balanced. I wish Lieutenant Governor Hochul great success, her success is essential for the people of the State I love.”

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