Gov. Hochul under pressure to replace Cuomo’s Health Commissioner

Photo courtesy of the Governor’s Office
State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, left, delivers a COVID update with former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Rep. Lee Zeldin is calling on Gov. Kathy Hochul to fire State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, launching a petition at 

Zeldin, R-Shirley, who is the presumptive Republican nominee for governor in 2022, has called for Health Commissioner Howard Zucker to be fired as Hochul begins to install her own cabinet after taking the oath of office last week.

Shortly after Hochul took office on August 24, Zeldin  issued the following statement on Twitter:

“After Andrew Cuomo, no one is more responsible for New York’s deadly nursing home order and coverup than New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, yet Governor Hochul is still keeping him around. Zucker needs to also be held responsible for the preferential COVID testing given to the Cuomo-Hochul administration’s family and friends, which were performed at private residences, conducted by state Health Department officials, and then moved to the front of the line at the state laboratory. Anyone who enabled Cuomo’s wrongdoings should be fired immediately. As for Kathy Hochul, she still needs to come clean to New Yorkers whether she was complicit, or out to lunch, but, regardless, Howard Zucker should’ve been out the door on day 1.”

Zeldin added that Hochul needs to fire Zucker if “…she is serious about transparency and accountability,” and called it the “Cuomo-Hochul” administration in an attempt to link her with unpopular former governor Andrew Cuomo and take support away from her. This is because Zeldin will likely be running against her for governor in 2022.

Gov. Hochul promised to correct many of Cuomo’s mistakes in her first address as governor. She explained that even though she is not well-known like Cuomo, she has traveled through all 62 counties of New York and added, “As a result of all this, I’ve embraced and internalized the hopes and dreams of 20 million people who share the name New Yorkers,” she said. “And I want you to know you are heard, and I am ready to get to work as your governor to solve the big problems that this state faces.” 

With the school year starting for most of New York’s students, Hochul is seeking to prevent the spread of COVID among students and teachers, which is one of her top priorities. Hochul’s administration reported almost 12,000 new deaths from COVID-19, which the former governor never recognized. While representatives from both parties have been praising Hochul for revealing this information, they are now blaming Howard Zucker for covering this information up. 

Zeldin isn’t the only lawmaker calling for Zucker to be fired. State Sen. Rachel May, D-Syracuse, has also criticized Zucker, saying in a tweet, “Even when he said he was giving us the full information, he really wasn’t, so this is just one more piece of data he wasn’t being straight with us about.” 

Furthermore, Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, said Hochul will be tainting her administration if she does not fire the former health commissioner, stating “It is clear to me at this point that Governor Hochul absolutely has to fire commissioner Zucker. She should fire him or she will own this as much as her predecessor.”

Zeldin tweeted on August 27: “Howard Zucker was the Cuomo-Hochul Admin’s point man pushing the deadly nursing home order & coverup, & COVID testing preferential treatment for family & friends, yet Hochul has so far kept him. SIGN THE PETITION at to fire him ASAP! RT to spread the word!”