There is a huge irony in Tuesday’s announcement that liberal anti-gun Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo is stepping down as the chief executive in New York State in 14 days amid a sexual harassment scandal, and that is he will be replaced by a woman, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, a moderate Democrat from the Buffalo area of Western New York.
At 62, Hochul will become the first female governor of the Empire State. According to Fox News, she is a graduate of Syracuse University, earning her law degree from Catholic University in Washington. She spent 14 years on the Hamburg town council and four years as the county clerk in Erie County. She won a special election to Congress, but was not re-elected in the general election one year later, Fox News reported.
With Cuomo’s announcement, something of a sigh of relief might have been heard over New York, but the governor is not out of legal jeopardy with his departure. He still faces legal threats, according to the New York Times.
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Pressure on Cuomo to quit was coming from across the political spectrum within his own party. President Joe Biden had urged him to resign, as had Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. Following Cuomo’s announcement, Biden told reporters, “I respect the governor’s decision. I respect the decision he made,” according to CNN.
New York’s Democrats have experienced some embarrassment in recent years. Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer left office amid a prostitution scandal and former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman quit in 2018 “after four women accused him of abuse.” Former Congressman Anthony Weiner spent time in prison for “sexting” with a 15-year-old girl, the Associated Press noted.
The New York Post described Cuomo’s resignation as “one of the most stunning downfalls in political history.”
Considered at one time to be a presidential hopeful, Cuomo’s sparkle began to tarnish with his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic when thousands of New York residents died, including senior citizens in nursing homes.
But the sexual harassment scandal brought him down as several women accused him of improprieties, and one has even filed a criminal complaint.
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