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Monday marks New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's final day in office

Andrew Cuomo
Posted at 2:39 AM, Aug 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-23 12:26:37-04

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wound down his decade as state governor on Monday by delivering a farewell address to the state.

"We didn't always get it quite right. But I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that every day, I worked my hardest, I gave it my all, and I tried my best to deliver for you. And that is the God's honest truth," Cuomo said.

Cuomo will resign at 11:59 p.m. Monday, allowing Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul to take over in a transfer that will break another glass ceiling for women in state politics.

The transition between Democrats comes just under two weeks after Cuomo announced he would resign rather than face a likely impeachment battle over sexual harassment allegations.

A report published earlier this month by state Attorney General Letitia James accused Cuomo of sexually harassing 11 women during his time in office, many of them staff members and subordinates. While Cuomo has repeatedly denied allegations of inappropriate touching or groping, he did "accept full responsibility" in announcing his resignation earlier this month.

“'New York tough’ means New York loving, and I love New York, and I love you, and everything that I have ever done has been motivated by that love, and I would never want to be unhelpful in any way,” Cuomo said. “And I think that given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing.”

Cuomo had planned to run for a fourth term next year. Instead, he is to leave his office at 11:59 p.m.

During his farewell remarks on Monday, Cuomo thanked New Yorkers for helping make the state "the progressive capital of the country."

"Every time, people of New York have done the right thing," Cuomo said, noting that New Yorkers choose "hope over fear, love over hate" and "unity over division every time."

He also called on the state assembly to pass a law requiring all schools to require teachers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. He also called on private businesses to enact mandates requiring proof of vaccination for large gatherings.

Hochul will become New York’s first female governor when she takes her oath in private moments after midnight.

"I believe she will step up to the challenge, we all wish her success," Cuomo said during his farewell remarks Monday.

In a press conference shortly after Cuomo announced his resignation, Hochul said she aimed to bring "full transparency" to the governor's office.

"No one will describe my office as a toxic work environment," Hochul said.