Marijuana Policy Project
Curved Papers

More Than 50 New York Lawmakers Want Gov. Andrew Cuomo to Resign

From left: MRTA sponsors Sen. Liz Krueger and Sen. Alessandria Biaggi

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's chief rivals in the pursuit of marijuana legalization in New York were among the first New York lawmakers to call on him to resign due to charges of sexually inappropriate behavior and the nursing-home scandal. Now, more than 50 fellow Democrat have joined them.

"Our state is rightly crying out for truthful, transparent government," State Sen. Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat, tweeted. "The people's business is too pressing to continue to be derailed in this way." 

Krueger is the lead sponsor of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), which Cuomo opposes. Instead, he proposed a more moderate alternative, the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act (CRTA), which is part of Cuomo's proposed state budget.

Cuomo stands accused by six women. The latest woman to come forward, a former Cuomo staffer, says he groped her. Cuomo's also charged with under-reporting nursing home deaths in New York and returning sick patients from hospitals to nursing homes during the first three months of the pandemic, which hit New York especially hard

Another sponsor of the MRTA, Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, added to Krueger's call for Cuomo to step down during his third term as New York governor. 

"I'm a surviver of sexual abuse," the Bronx Democrat told NBC New York on March 1. "It's disturbing on a level that I don't fully have words for. To say that it was playful or he was acting like a mentor by asking questions to Charlotte Bennett, such as, 'Do you have sex with older men?' or 'Do you have sex outside of your relationship?' - first of all, there's no gray area with any of that language or any of those questions. It's clearly inappropriate, anyone knows that. In this context, the words that the governor said to Charlotte Bennett were in a workplace. Not only were they in a workplace, they were inside of the governor's office inside of the Capitol in Albany. It's abusive because he knew that Charlotte was a survivor and he took advantage of that information. Essentially, he was grooming her."

Biaggi previously worked as an aide to the governor, but did not report any incidents with Cuomo. She tweeted on March 7:

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Majority Leader Carl Heastie, both Democrats, agree with Krueger and Biaggi regarding Cuomo's resignation.

On March 11, after the sixth woman came forward, a group of more than 55 New York Democratic lawmakers signed a letter calling on the governor to step aside and be replaced by Lt. Gov. Kathleen Hochul. The statement reads, in part:

"As legislators and as New Yorkers we must decide what is best for the future of New York State. The budget, the fight against Covid-19 and restarting the economy all demand clear and trustworthy leadership. In light of the Governor's admission of inappropriate behavior and the findings on altered data on nursing home Covid-19 deaths, he has lost the confidence of the public and the state legislature, rendering him ineffective in this time of most urgent need... It is time for Governor Cuomo to resign."

Regarding the 15,000 nursing home deaths, Biaggi tweeted directly to Cuomo:

Biaggi is part of the progressive wave in New York politics. Both she and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won their races in 2018, defeating moderate Democrats. Rep. Jamaal Bowman did the same in 2020. Cuomo is the next on their list to go.

 

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.