NEW YORK (WKBW) — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation Tuesday, effective in 14 days, following an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against him.
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, a Western New York native, is set to take over as governor and will become the first female governor of New York State.
Several elected leaders across the state have responded to Cuomo's resignation. You can read their statements below.
New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul
I agree with Governor Cuomo's decision to step down. It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers.
As someone who has served at all levels of government and is next in the line of succession, I am prepared to lead as New York State’s 57th Governor
New York Attorney General Letitia James
Today closes a sad chapter for all of New York, but it’s an important step towards justice.
I thank Governor Cuomo for his contributions to our state. The ascension of our Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul, will help New York enter a new day. We must continue to build on the progress already made and improve the lives of New Yorkers in every corner of the state. I know our state is in good hands with Lieutenant Governor Hochul at the helm, and I look forward to continuing to work with her.
“I do not condone sexual harassment in any way shape or form,” Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes said.
High ranking state assembly majority leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes says it is a bitter-sweet day because Governor Cuomo was always committed to Buffalo and Western New York.
But peoples stokes had joined many other lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle in calling for Cuomo to step down.
“And my resignation will be effective in 14-days,” Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Peoples-Stokes says she believes it is unlikely his resignation will stop the impeachment process.
“As you may note the governor did say he would leave in 14 days and I really doubt the impeachment process will stop because he's still going to be for 14 days,” replied Peoples-Stokes.
"Two bad options and he chose the lesser of two bad options — resignation,” remarked John LaFalce, former congressman.
LaFalce says Cuomo had no choice as he faced almost “unanimous pressure” from many democrats — including the president of the United States to resign.
“It was difficult for him to survive in that environment and the report of the Attorney General came down upon him as a crushing blow,” noted LaFalce. “I think for the good of the public — it was wise for him to resign.”
But LaFalce says he’s now looking forward to Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul making history.
He’s been a long-time friend and mentor throughout Hochul's political career.
“I spoke with her as recently as this morning and she has a lot to do,” replied LaFalce. “She is literally being bombarded with calls, not only from all over New York State, but all over the United States — just fielding the calls that are coming in is going to be a very difficult task for which she needs considerable staff.”
LaFalce described his relationship with Hochul as “a good friendship. He said he will be attending her birthday party August 18th at her home.
Peoples-Stokes says she does not believe Cuomo remaining in office the next 14 days would a threat to state government.
“I’m not worried about him doing anything that would be harmful to the New York State taxpayers,” replied Peoples-Stokes.
Peoples-Stokes says she’s not sure what finally changed the Governor’s mind to leave.
“Probably was his mother — because as I said earlier, he is a fighter — he’s a scrapper, he’ll scrap ’til the end. But, you known, his father left a great legacy and I think his mother probably would rather see him leave,” speculated Peoples-Stokes.
After announcing his resignation from his Manhattan office, Cuomo left on a helicopter.
I asked Peoples-Stokes if she is worried about the state being held responsible for costs of any civil lawsuits brought against the soon-to-be former governor.
“But I do not think the average taxpayer should be responsible for things that go on in the future particular after the governor has decided he is going to leave and maybe it will happen even quicker than,” Peoples-Stokes responded.
Peoples-Stokes says she is also pleased to see Hochul take the leadership role and expects it to benefit the region.
“I see the future of Western New York as brighter, brighter and brighter,” Peoples-Stokes noted.
City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown
Today is a sad day for the State of New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo has done the right thing and our State will move forward under the leadership of my friend and colleague, Buffalo resident, Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul. I have no doubt that our state’s first female governor will serve us well and make us proud.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz
With today’s announcement New York State has turned the page and will be beginning a new chapter with Kathy Hochul as our 57th governor and the first female governor of our great state. I have known Kathy for decades, having worked with her closely on numerous issues, and I can confirm that she has the work ethic, determination, and skill set to not only succeed in the job but to take the Empire State to new heights. There are many challenges remaining, both in Erie County and statewide, as we continue the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and focus on the recovery and renewal of our economy and communities. Kathy has been involved, active and engaged in these efforts throughout and I now look forward to continuing to work with incoming Governor Hochul, serving our constituents and creating the best New York State possible.
Rep. Chris Jacobs
Andrew Cuomo's resignation is long overdue, and needed to move our state government past the multiple scandals he and his staff inflicted on the citizens of New York. Despite his resignation, criminal investigations of the Cuomo administration must continue to ensure justice is served.
Erie County Democratic Committee Chair Jeremy Zellner
Governor Cuomo acknowledged the governmental and political realities facing him in the aftermath of the Attorney General’s report: As I said days ago, he simply can no longer lead, and his resignation is the right thing to do. Our fellow New Yorkers will come to know what we in Western New York have known for a long time: Kathy Hochul is a consummate public servant and leader who will devote herself to meeting the many challenges we face, from Covid to our economy. We stand ready to support Kathy Hochul, with great confidence in her ability to unite New Yorkers and keep us moving forward and build back NY better.
Assemblymember Charles Lavine
These have been deeply troubling times for New Yorkers. As New York State Assembly speaker Carl E. Heastie has said, “this has been a tragic chapter in our state’s history.”
Speaking ‘truth to power’ is never an easy pursuit. As we begin to move forward, let us recognize the courage, strength and integrity of the women who dared to come forward. Moreover, let us commit ourselves to continuing the battle for the inalienable rights of our sisters and daughters in New York and in every other state.
I have worked with Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul for many years and have the greatest faith in her ability to lead and heal the people of our State.
Assemblymember Jonathan Rivera
With the governor’s warranted resignation now behind us, New Yorkers can now take solace in our collective eagerness to restore credibility to the executive chamber.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul is more than capable of taking on the responsibility of the governor’s seat and to reestablishing dignity to the office. She has spent more than 25 years in government, which began right here in Western New York (and in the 149th Assembly District) with a 14-year stint on the Hamburg Town Board, before becoming Erie County clerk and then a congresswoman. Her experience and travels across the state position her well to understand the needs and issues of all New Yorkers.
Along with my partners in government, I look forward to welcoming the first female governor in the state’s history — a long overdue milestone — working with her to restore trust in Albany, and to push forward on key legislative initiatives that will continue New York’s storied role as a state leader across the nation.
Assemblymember Monica P. Wallace
I appreciate the Governor’s decision to put the good of the State of New York ahead of his own personal interests and resign. When these allegations first emerged, I called on the Governor to step aside for the good of the state and to allow the Lieutenant Governor to take his place. We have an eminently qualified Lieutenant Governor, who I’m confident will be able to hit the ground running. This is an historic moment as we will soon have our first ever woman Governor in Kathy Hochul. Additionally, she will be the first Western New Yorker to serve as Governor in more than a century.
Our state is at a critical moment. We are still in a pandemic, we have children who need to get back to school, tenants and small landlords who need rent relief, and struggling small businesses. All of these issues require our full attention. I look forward to working with soon-to-be Governor Hochul on the many challenges facing New York.
Assemblymember Karen McMahon
Today, Governor Cuomo did the appropriate thing by announcing his resignation which will take effect in 14 days. I look forward to the conclusion of this disturbing chapter and a return to focusing on the multiple challenges facing New York State, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
I have the utmost respect for and confidence in Kathy Hochul and I will be doing all I can to assist her in her transition to the Governorship. Kathy has been a longtime advocate for the people of New York and I know of no one better prepared to be the 57th Chief Executive and first woman Governor of New York State.
Senator Anna Kaplan
The COVID crisis continues to present our community with unprecedented challenges on a daily basis, and in this extraordinary moment, New York needs strong leadership in Government to ensure that we overcome those challenges, and build back better and stronger than ever. I believe that our Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is immensely qualified to step into that role on day one and lead New York to brighter days.
Lieutenant Governor Hochul has often been called an Honorary Long Islander because she spends so much time here fighting for issues that matter to us, and standing up for small businesses in our community. I have no doubt that she will continue to fight for us as our next Governor, and I look forward to working with her to ensure our communities are safe, and our recovery is moving forward.
Assemblymember Steve Hawley
Now that the governor has done the right thing and resigned, we can focus on bettering the lives of the working people of this state once again. This is the third high ranking official that has stepped down due to improper conduct during my tenure, and I hope we can come together and work to assure it’s the last and that conduct like that of Andrew Cuomo’s is never left unchecked. I do want to congratulate Kathy Hochul, who will be our next Governor in two weeks, and hope we can work together in bipartisan fashion to do more for the people of this state than ever before.
Senator Ed Rath
This afternoon's resignation from Governor Cuomo is a welcomed and necessary relief for those New Yorkers he has harmed and those who continue to look to Albany for leadership amid this pandemic. Harassment has no place in our society, especially at the upper levels of state government.
I continue to call on the State Legislature to ensure that other investigations into Governor Cuomo's malfeasance remain ongoing. New Yorkers who lost loved ones in nursing homes deserve answers. While the Governor has already written his book, let us not write off other avenues where he has betrayed his oath of office. If ongoing investigations by the State Assembly reveal further misdeeds, impeachment must remain a viable option. The State Legislature must uphold its duty to hold Governor Cuomo accountable.
I look forward to working with Lieutenant Governor Hochul in her new capacity as the first female Governor in New York State history. As a fellow Western New Yorker, I hope she strives to help New York heal and elevates the voices of upstate New Yorkers long maligned and ignored by downstate leaders. Having served with her at several levels of government, I am confident that her integrity is unwavering. Together, we will continue to navigate the challenges facing all New Yorkers.
Assemblymember Bill Conrad
This resignation allows us to get back to the work that matters most to New Yorkers, and I am eager to support a constructive partnership between the Legislature and our next Executive, Western New York’s own, Kathy Hochul. Incoming Gov. Hochul has served at every level of government and is an experienced and capable leader. She represents a refocusing of the State’s priorities, most notably our collective recovery from COVID-19.
I wouldn’t call Andrew Cuomo’s announcement reason for celebration. Rather, it was the unfortunate due outcome of an irreparably broken trust.
Rep. Brian Higgins
From her earliest days as a local official to her time as my colleague in Congress and her service as Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul’s sole priority has always been the people. Kathy is a public servant of integrity who works hard to listen to and deliver for the communities she represents. She will be an excellent Governor and will make New Yorkers proud.
- Rep Higgins (D - NY26)
Congressman Higgins met with reporters Tuesday at his office at the Larkin Building in Buffalo.
“The best thing we can do over the next 14 days is move in a new direction with a new leader that has enormous potential,” remarked Congressman Brian Higgins.
Higgins says Hochul has prepared herself to lead the state through this dark time.
“This is going to be a very exciting and productive time for our state. Western New Yorkers should be very proud of her,” Higgins stated.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
First and foremost, I want to thank the incredibly courageous women who came forward and shared their stories. They are the true public servants here. New York now has a chance to move forward and build a new culture of leadership. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is an exceptional public servant and will be an excellent governor. I look forward to working together to continue serving the people of our great state.
Senator Chuck Schumer
First, I want to commend the brave women who stepped forward and courageously told their stories. There is no place for sexual harassment, and today’s announcement by Governor Cuomo to resign was the right decision for the good of the people of New York. I have full confidence that Lt Governor Hochul will establish a professional and capable administration. I have spoken with Lt Governor Hochul and look forward to working together to help the people of New York.
Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick
Earlier today, Governor Cuomo made the right decision in sparing New York State a lengthy, costly, and contentious impeachment. His resignation is appropriate, and his departure will allow New York to regain focus on our common enemy, COVID-19, in the ever-changing pandemic landscape brought on by the Delta variant.
I commend and congratulate incoming Governor Kathy Hochul - she has been a tireless advocate for all of us in Western New York and will continue to serve this State with the same tenacity as she has brought to all of her elected positions over the years. I have no doubt she will readily ascend the learning curve from Lieutenant Governor to Governor, and I look forward to working with her and her administration in the future.
Assemblymember Angelo Morinello
While this is a situation that should have never occurred, the governor has acted in the best interest of New Yorkers by stepping down. State government will always be of, by and for the people and I look forward to putting this dark time in New York’s history behind us so we can focus on what really matters, you.
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Today is a somber day for the state of New York, but one that demonstrates our ability to build a more accountable system of government. Governor Cuomo’s resignation opens the door to a restorative future. We all owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the courageous women who came forward and helped pave the way for safer and more inclusive work spaces.
Working with Governor Kathy Hochul, the first woman Governor of New York State, we will continue to address the COVID-19 pandemic, rebuild our economy and face our challenges standing together. Governor Hochul is a dedicated leader, and united, we will get the people’s work done.
Senator George Borello
After months of scandal, Governor Cuomo finally made the right decision today following months of denial and stonewalling.
New Yorkers can breathe a sigh of relief and get back to the important task of recovering from the damage caused by the pandemic and bad policies from this governor.
Despite his apologies, we won’t forget or forgive team Cuomo’s behind-the-scenes attempts to discredit and undermine the reputations of the 11 courageous women who had the courage to come forward. We cannot and will not forget them or what they endured.
We also won’t forget the countless nursing home residents – our parents, grandparents and friends – who lost their lives to his unconscionable policies.
I look forward to working with Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul to make a better and safer state for everyone.
Assemblymember Mike Norris
At last, Gov. Cuomo is allowing the people of New York state to move forward by offering his resignation and ending this dark and difficult chapter in our state’s history.
As a lifelong Western New Yorker, I look forward to working together with our state’s first female governor, Kathy Hochul, to continue to strengthen our region and help our state’s economic recovery.
Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt
Today marks one small step toward restoring honor, decency, and accountability to New York State government. I hope today also brings some measure of justice to the brave women who had the courage to come forward against a powerful and vindictive political figure.
Over the past year, Andrew Cuomo’s credibility completely fell apart. Now, following his overdue resignation, it will never be repaired. The Governor’s pervasive harassment and coverups cast a dark cloud over our State Capitol and took us away from the important work facing this state.
Andrew Cuomo broke the law, lied about it, and shamelessly smeared the women who came forward. His resignation is welcome, but it stops short of the justice his victims and the people of New York deserve. The FBI, the State Attorney General, and other proper authorities must also be allowed to continue their work investigating all of the possible crimes related to our state’s nursing homes crisis and the Governor’s questionable book deal. The Legislature must examine the Cuomo administration’s many failings in public forums as soon as possible so that these abuses of power will never happen under another administration.
We must also acknowledge the fact that the Democrats in the Legislature failed to hold Andrew Cuomo or his administration accountable, despite our repeated calls to do so.
Well after the numerous credible allegations were made against Andrew Cuomo, Democrats in both the Senate and Assembly stood by him, normalizing his behavior and enabling him to cling to power. I hope those in the Legislature - and other powerful figures around the state - reflect on their own actions in response to Andrew Cuomo’s disturbing behavior. The vocal support and the deafening silence of many helped keep Andrew Cuomo in power far longer than he deserved.
In 14 days we will have our first female Governor. I’d like to congratulate Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, a fellow Western New Yorker, on becoming the first woman to assume leadership of this state. My fellow Senators and I look forward to working with Governor Hochul as we continue to tackle the issues of rising crime, our state’s struggling economy, and the resurgence of the COVID-19 virus.
New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie
This has been a tragic chapter in our state's history. Governor Cuomo's resignation is the right decision.
The brave women who stepped forward were heard. Everyone deserves to work in a harassment free environment.
I have spoken with Lieutenant Governor Hochul and I look forward to working with her.
Senator Patrick Gallivan
This is a sad day for the State of New York, but I am thankful that Governor Cuomo has decided to step aside for the sake of the residents of our state. It is clear the governor violated his oath of office and can no longer govern effectively. However, the brave women who stepped forward deserve justice and I believe the various investigations of the governor’s conduct should continue to include the improper reporting of nursing home deaths and the improper use of state employees for personal gain.
Moving forward, I wish Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul success in meeting the challenges ahead. She is a fellow Western New Yorker and a respected colleague in government. I look forward to working with Governor Hochul in making New York a better place to live, work and raise a family.
Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay
Stepping down was inevitable, overdue and the only path forward for Andrew Cuomo. The scandals surrounding the governor’s office have generated one of the darkest periods in state history, and it’s fortunate the governor finally came to the realization that his resignation is clearly in the best interest of New York. What’s next for Andrew Cuomo remains to be seen, with multiple investigations on a number of issues still active.
However, as Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul prepares to become the state’s first female governor, I hope that the transition of power is transparent, bipartisan and allows the state to get back to work, free of distractions, for its 20 million residents.
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli
The Governor has done the right thing. New York is facing many challenges as we battle the ongoing impact of COVID-19. My team and I stand ready to assist incoming Governor Hochul as we move the state forward.
Assemblymember Mike Lawler
It's past due time that Andrew Cuomo resigned from office after 11 years of bullying, thuggery, and now, predatory sexual behavior. His conduct was completely and totally unbecoming of the office of Governor. I'm glad he showed one little moniker of decency by resigning and sparing the people of New York an expensive and prolonged impeachment process. I look forward to working with Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul to serve the people of New York State and Rockland County with dignity, honor, and decency.