Cuomo resigns; Bronx officials eager to look ahead

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, 63, tendered his resignation today, effective Aug. 24, 2021.
Photo Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

On Tuesday morning, an embattled Andrew Cuomo resigned from his post as New York governor, ending his decade-long run in the wake of the state attorney general’s report — that found that the Democrat sexually harassed 11 women — and looming threats of impeachment from members of the state Legislature.

Cuomo’s resignation will take effect on Aug. 24 and ends a turbulent third term which included public feuds with former President Trump and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. More recently, another investigation by Attorney General Letitia James found that Cuomo’s administration undercounted nursing home deaths from COVID-19 by 50%.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, a former congresswoman before becoming Cuomo’s running mate in 2014, is next in line and will become the state’s first female governor once Cuomo, 63, officially exits the seat.

In the fallout of a once-unthinkable resignation, Bronx Democrats in the state Legislature called Cuomo’s decision the appropriate action and expressed praise and support to the incoming governor and the independent investigation by James’ office.

“Governor Cuomo committed disturbing acts of sexual assault and harassment towards multiple women. His conduct was not only monstrous and predatory, it violated state and federal law,” said Assemblyman Kenneth Burgos, a Democrat who represents District 35. “The Governor and his senior aides created a hostile environment that allowed women to be violated and bullied in the workplace.”

Burgos said, of the incoming Hochul, “As we begin the healing process, we now must rally and stand behind our new Governor Kathy Hochul. It is a critical time for our state and we must work together to bring much-needed COVID and rent relief, and address the rising gun violence across our communities.”

State Sen. Gustavo Rivera, a Democrat who represents District 33, who repeatedly called for full accountability against Cuomo for his transgressions while in office, hopes the next governor can address issues such as rising cases statewide of the COVID-19 Delta variant.

“Let us remember, there are investigations by the Southern District of the US Attorney’s office into the administration’s actions surrounding an undercount of deaths in New York’s nursing homes and by the Assembly Judiciary Committee into the sexual harassment accusations as well as the misuse of state resources to write and publish his ridiculous book,” Rivera said. “Andrew Cuomo should also be held responsible for these egregious actions despite leaving the office of the Governor.”

Rivera added, “I wish Kathy Hochul success as she prepares to be the first woman to serve as Governor of the State of New York and want her to know she has my full support in this endeavor. We have too much work to do. She faces many challenges that were neglected by Governor Cuomo while he focused on his political survival.”

Democratic state Sen. José Serrano, who represents the Bronx’s 29th Senate District, said that the former governor’s resignation allows the city to turn the page and focus on issues affecting New Yorkers across the state.

“Governor Cuomo’s resignation will allow us to turn the page and move forward to advance the issues important to the people of our state,” Serrano said. “Many thanks to the courageous women who shared their experiences, helping to create safer workplaces across our state and nation.”
I look forward to working with Governor Kathy Hochul as we continue to address the COVID-19 pandemic. I have every confidence that she will capably carry out her duties as she steps into her new role as the first female Governor of New York.”

The governor’s seat will be on the ballot in 2022. Progressive state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, of District 34 — who once worked in Cuomo’s office and pushed for the start of impeachment proceedings  — did not issue a public statement regarding Cuomo’s resignation by press time. Biaggi has long been an outspoken critic of the governor.

Longtime Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, of District 82, said the Cuomo saga ends a very sad chapter in New York politics and should serve as a lesson learned that “no one is above the law.”

“I hope it validates the women who so courageously came forward,” Benedetto told the Bronx Times. “Let this be a teachable moment for us all. Thanks to the work of the #MeToo movement, boundaries have long shifted and women are not required to accept jokes, comments or to be touched without their expressed permission.  I commend the brave women who had to come forward to remind us of this fact.”

Speaker of the Assembly Carl Heastie said Cuomo’s resignation ends a “tragic chapter” in the state’s history and said he’s spoken to Hochul on their work ahead.

Reach Robbie Sequeira at rsequeira@schnepsmedia.com or (718) 260-4599 and Christian Falcone at cfalcone@schnepsmedia.com or (718) 260-2541.

For more coverage, follow us on Twitter @bronxtimes and Facebook @bronxtimes.

 

More from Around NYC