Western NY Democrats join list of lawmakers asking the governor to step aside

Photo courtesy of Senate Media Services
Sen. Sean Ryan speaks on the floor of the Senate on Feb. 8, 2021. Ryan, and New York State Assembly members Monica Wallace, Karen McMahon, Jon Rivera, and Bill Conrad released a joint statement, saying “The New York State Constitution allows for the governor to temporarily step aside and for the lieutenant governor to serve as acting governor.”

As legislators throughout the state release statements asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to step down, five Western New York legislators have added their names to the list.

Senator Sean Ryan along with Assembly members Monica Wallace, Karen McMahon, Jon Rivera, and Bill Conrad, all Democrats, released a statement on Friday, March 12 voicing their concern for Cuomo’s ability to lead.

“The New York State Constitution allows for the governor to temporarily step aside and for the Lieutenant Governor to serve as acting governor,” reads the joint statement from the Western New York Democrats.

“As more and more disturbing allegations continue to be made every day, it has become obvious that he is unable to govern effectively at this time,” they said.

The rise in calls from state legislators for Cuomo’s resignation follow recent allegations of sexual harassment by six different women who have either worked with or encountered Cuomo in a social setting. 

The Washington Post  published a story last week that described Cuomo’s administration as a “toxic work environment” for young women, as each has come forward recalling moments of alleged physical or verbal harassment. 

The Western New York delegation joins five delegates from Long Island released a similar statement on March 12, saying the allegations against Cuomo were “ beyond troubling,” and once again suggesting he step aside.

In the first three months of the year, Cuomo has not only faced these allegations, but a scandal regarding underreported deaths in the state’s nursing homes during the outbreak of the coronavirus last year. 

“The multiple investigations of Governor Cuomo and his administration have become a distraction to governance. Governor Cuomo should step aside while these important investigations are conducted,” said the legislators of Western New York.

An investigation has been initiated by the office of the Attorney General, Letitia James. As of March 9, James appointed former federal prosecutor, Joon Kim, and employment discrimination attorney, Anne Clark, to investigate the allegations. 

Cuomo has since made attempts to apologize for his behavior, waving off his actions as light-hearted jokes and banter. He additionally refused to resign. However, the state Assembly last week opened an investigation to decide whether they will proceed with a formal impeachment process. 

Should Cuomo remove himself, or be removed, from office, he would be replaced by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who the Western delegates endorsed in their statement.

“We have the greatest confidence in Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul and know that she will be able to effectively govern the State of New York as we continue the work to pass a state budget and address the pandemic.”