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."
I stand with Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins in calling for the Governor to resign. Our state is rightly crying out for truthful, transparent government. The people's business is too pressing to continue to be derailed in this way.— Senator Liz Krueger (@LizKrueger) March 7, 2021
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:
.@NYGovCuomo, your threats and deflections are never going to stop us.— Alessandra Biaggi (@Biaggi4NY) March 7, 2021
Resign, so that we can focus on the important business of the state, and not the daily drumbeat of the consequences of your bad behavior.
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:
15,000 New Yorkers died in nursing homes. You lied to the legislature & the public about the # of deaths, after giving those nursing homes legal immunity.— Alessandra Biaggi (@Biaggi4NY) March 9, 2021
Multiple Investigations are underway, for good reason.
Not what I would call competence. https://t.co/iMPpKCfu0z
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.