CAPITOL – Two additional Capital Region legislators called on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to resign on Sunday, after two additional female former staffers came forward with charges of inappropriate behavior.
Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, D-Round Lake, and Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh, R-Ballston, separately joined the growing calls for Cuomo to depart voluntarily from his leadership role, due to both the sexual harassment allegations and concerns that data on COVID deaths tied to nursing homes last year was manipulated to minimize the total.
Monday afternoon, Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay, R-Pulaski, announced he would circulate a resolution calling for the Assembly to begin impeachment proceedings.
“Our state needs a leader it can trust now more than ever, and the governor has demonstrated many times over that he cannot be trusted to serve the people honestly,” said Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-Schoharie, one of the first to support the impeachment idea.
Walsh was among the Assembly members standing with Barclay during a press conference at the Capitol, and an Assembly Republican press release listed Walsh, Robert Smullen, R-Meco, and Matthew Simpson, R-Brant Lake, as among impeachment supporters.
“Although the allegations of misconduct continue to accrue, the governor has made it clear he has no intention of resigning,” Walsh said.
Impeachment in New York begins with action by the Assembly, where none of the major leaders among the Democrats who control the chamber has called for impeachment. The Republicans are in the minority in the 150-seat chamber, 43 to 106.
Woerner spoke out in favor of resignation soon after Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins called for Cuomo’s resignation, citing the allegations against Cuomo and questioning his ability to govern effectively.
“Enough is enough,” Woerner posted on Twitter. “Too many allegations and too many investigations. Good governing takes focus, clear thinking and integrity. I question the governor’s ability to govern well going forward in light of all that has come out and I call for him to resign.”
The new calls for Cuomo’s resignation or impeachment come in the middle of the legislative session, with a new state budget due to be adopted in less than a month.
Before coming out in favor of impeachment on Monday, Walsh on Sunday called for Cuomo to resign.
“For the past several weeks allegations, accusations and investigations have been piling up. With no end in sight, it is time for the governor to do what’s best for New Yorkers and step aside,” Walsh said in a press release. “From implementing a budget that does right by our state in one of the most fiscally challenging years in recent history to vaccine distribution and COVID-19 recovery, the road ahead is a tough one. As legislators, we have a lot of work to do and the recent string of distractions have impeded our ability to focus on the matters at hand. Enough is enough. It is time for the governor to resign.”
Cuomo said explicitly during a news conference on Sunday that he would not resign.
Assemblyman Phil Steck, D-Colonie, who represents part of Schenectady County, has previously called for Cuomo’s resignation. He has also posted recently that he doesn’t believe Cuomo will resign unless the Assembly puts impeachment on the table.
A larger group of Capital Region legislators including Democrats like state Sen. Michelle Hinchey, D-Saugerties, and Assembly members Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, and Patricia Fahy, D-Albany, voted with all Republican legislators last Friday to revoke Cuomo’s pandemic emergency powers. Cuomo on Monday signed the bill.
Hinchey, Woerner, Walsh, Steck, Santabarbara and Fahy have all said the sexual harassment allegations — now made by five women — require an independent investigation. State Attorney General Letitia James is currently conducting an investigation.