ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — Multiple elected leaders representing Western New York have called for Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign or step aside amid mounting accusations of sexual harassment.
Friday afternoon Senator Tim Kennedy (D - Buffalo) released the following statement:
The growing number of allegations of assault, harassment, and inappropriate behavior by the Governor are disturbing. I commend the women who have come forward for their courage. They deserve justice, which begins with a thorough investigation. I strongly support the ongoing investigation led by Attorney General James, the investigation led by the Assembly Judiciary Committee, and the inquiries by relevant District Attorney offices, however I personally believe these allegations have made it impossible for the Governor to effectively serve the people of New York, and I believe he should resign.
Kennedy joined fellow state Democrat, Assemblyman Patrick Burke of Buffalo, in calling for Cuomo to step down.
Later Friday, New York State Senator Sean Ryan (D - Buffalo), and New York State Assemblymembers Monica Wallace (D - 143rd District), Karen McMahon (D - 146th District), Jon Rivera (D - 149th District), and Bill Conrad (D - 140th District) released the following joint statement calling on the governor to step aside:
The New York State Constitution allows for the Governor to temporarily step aside and for the Lieutenant Governor to serve as acting Governor. The multiple investigations of Governor Cuomo and his administration have become a distraction to governance and Governor Cuomo should step aside while these important investigations are conducted. Independent investigations by the Attorney General and the New York State Assembly must continue to uncover all the facts – but 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. We have the greatest confidence in Lieutenant 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.
More than 55 New York State Democratic elected leaders have now called for the state leader of their party to leave his post. New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced Thursday he was authorizing a judiciary committee to begin an impeachment investigation into Cuomo.
Friday morning Congressman Brian Higgins also issued a statement calling on the governor to resign.
Early Friday evening, New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand joined the growing list of elected leaders calling on the governor to resign.
At least six women have come forward accusing Cuomo of inappropriate conduct. The most serious accusation comes from an aide to the governor, who claims he reached under her blouse and began to fondle her after calling her to the governor's mansion last year. Cuomo denies the allegation.
The Albany Police Department is investigating the groping allegation.
During a conference call Friday afternoon, Cuomo addressed the allegations and calls for his resignation saying he would not resign.
As I have said before, and I firmly believe, women have a right to come forward and be heard, and I encourage that fully. But I also want to be clear – there is still a question of the truth. I did not do what has been alleged. Period.
The governor continued on to say the investigations should be completed so the facts are revealed and he will not argue the issue in the press.
Let the review proceed, I'm not going to resign. I was not elected by the politicians, I was elected by the people.