L.I. Senate Democrats are unified in calling for Cuomo to step down

Photo courtesy of NYS Senate Media Services
Senator James Gaughran speaks on the floor of the Senate in the state Capitol on Feb. 10, 2021. Gaughran is one of five Democratic senators in the Long Island delegation which has issued a joint statement asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to step down in light of six allegations of sexual harassment.

The five Senate Democrats representing Long Island have issued a statement condemning Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent sexual harassment allegations and have called on him to step down.

The delegation includes Anna Kaplan, John Brooks, Todd Kaminsky, Kevin Thomas, and James Gaughran, who released their joint statement on Friday, March 12, asking that Cuomo step down amid allegations of sexual harassment from six different women.

“The recent allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against the Governor are beyond troubling and describe a disturbing pattern of behavior that also now includes a potentially criminal act,” the statement reads. 

The women accusing Cuomo have stated that they were either physically or verbally harassed while working for him or during brief encounters. The accusers include former aides Lindsey Boylan, Charlotte Bennett, and Ana Liss, a mutual attendee at a wedding, Anna Ruch, and a former consultant to Cuomo, Karen Hinton. 

The sixth, most recent accuser remains nameless, but was also a former aide in Cuomo’s office. 

A great deal of New York state lawmakers have made statements regarding Cuomo’s allegations over the past two weeks. Additionally, a formal investigation is being launched by the office of Attorney General Letitia James. A majority of lawmakers are asking that Cuomo step down. 

The Long Island delegation of the State Senate has asked the same in their statement.

“The gravity of these claims makes it clear to us that the Governor cannot lead the state while faithfully responding to multiple investigations. This is especially true in light of the impending state budget deadline, the need to continue guiding the state through the pandemic, and the fragility of the state’s economic recovery,” said the delegation.

“The New York State Constitution demands that if the governor is ‘unable to discharge the powers and duties of the Office of Governor, the lieutenant governor shall act as the governor until the inability shall cease.’ We call on the governor to step aside at least until such time that the Attorney General’s investigation is complete. We are confident that the lieutenant governor will ably serve the people of New York.”

On March 12, State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie authorized the Assembly Judiciary Committee to begin an impeachment investigation into Cuomo. Should the governor step down or be impeached and removed from office, he would be replaced by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.