BUFFALO, N.Y. — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that he is resigning following sexual harassment allegations made against the governor.
Cuomo made the announcement one week after the New York State Attorney General's office released the findings of the independent investigation into those allegations. With the governor stepping down, Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul is set to become New York State's first female governor in two weeks.
Since the governor made the announcement Tuesday morning, local lawmakers are speaking out.
Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes held a press conference saying she believes the governor made the right choice, adding that she is an enthusiastic supporter of Hochul.
"Millions of tax dollars have already been spent," Peoples-Stokes said. "The state legislature has been consumed by this - particularly after the Attorney General's investigative report was released. The attention on a lot of issues that are super important to people that I represent, and people who live all across the state, has somehow not had in the last few weeks the attention that is owed and deserved."
You can watch the full interview with Peoples-Stokes below:
Kathy Hochul released the following statement:
"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 released a statement saying the governor resigning is an important step towards justice:
"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."
Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay released a statement saying the outcome was inevitable, adding that he hopes the state is able to get back to work without distractions:
"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."
Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt released a statement congratulating Hochul, saying he is looking forward to working with her.
Ortt's statement reads in part, "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 Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released a statement saying the governor did the right thing:
"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."
Assemblyman Mike Norris released a statement saying he looks forward to working with Kathy Hochul:
"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."
Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) released a statement saying Cuomo's resignation is long overdue:
"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."
Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C, Elma) released a statement saying it's a sad day for New York State, but adding that he looks forward to working with Hochul:
"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."
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer released a statement saying the governor made the right decision:
"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."
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand released a statement saying New York State can now move forward:
"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."
Legislator Kevin Hardwick released a statement saying Cuomo's resignation is appropriate, adding that his departure will allow the state to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic:
"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."
Assemblyman Angelo Morinello (R,C,I-Niagara Falls) released a statement saying Cuomo acted in the best interest of New Yorkers by stepping down:
"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."
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) released a statement saying Hochul will make New Yorkers proud:
“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.”
Assemblymember Jonathan Rivera released a statement saying he believes Kathy Hochul is capable of taking on the position of governor. Rivera said in part:
"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."
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz released a statement saying there are still many challenges ahead, but believes Hochul will succeed in this new role:
"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.”
Senator Ed Rath released a statement calling on the state legislature to continue to investigate the governor's book deal and New York's COVID nursing home deaths. The statement reads in part:
"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 Karen McMahon released a statement saying she will do all she can to help Hochul transition into the role of governor:
“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.”
Assemblymember Monica Wallace released a statement saying she appreciates the governor's decision to step down:
"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.”
Statement from Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins released a statement saying the governor's resignation opens the door to a restorative future. The statement reads in part:
"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."
Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) released a statement congratulating Hochul, and saying the state can now focus on bettering the lives of New Yorkers once again:
“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.”
NYGOP Chairman Nick Langworthy released the following statement:
“New Yorkers can breathe a collective sigh of relief that Andrew Cuomo will no longer be able to wield the immense power of the governor’s office to commit his corruption and abuse, but make no mistake, this resignation is simply an attempt to avoid real accountability for his numerous crimes. Thousands of lives have been destroyed by Andrew Cuomo and the legislature must continue to move forward with impeachment to ensure he can never run for office again.
“Whether it was his numerous pay-to-play and corruption scandals, his deadly nursing home coverup or his $5 million book deal, the New York Republican Party has traveled across the state to expose the real Andrew Cuomo, even when it was a lonely solo mission. We will not rest until the entire stench of the Cuomo Administration is wiped clean from state government and we usher in a new era of integrity and common sense under a Republican governor in 2022.”
NYS Assemblymember Monica Wallace had this to say about Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul.
"I've worked with Kathy Hochul for several years now, she's tremendous, she is eminently qualified for this position," said Wallace.