Updated: August 23, 2021 07:46 PM
Created: August 23, 2021 05:59 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — In his last speech on his last day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the sexual harassment report that forced him out was a political hit job. He also offered one more piece of advice on vaccines and masks before he left.
The governor said he was resigning two weeks ago after the state attorney general's report documented the sexual harassment stories of 11 women. Cuomo has always denied he harassed and groped women and said he's been treated unfairly.
"The attorney general's report was designed to be a political firecracker on an explosive topic," Cuomo said. "And it worked."
In his speech, the governor blamed a political and media frenzy that caused a rush to judgment.
He marked his territory on issues like defunding the police.
"I believe it is miss-guided. I believe it is dangerous," he said.
And attacks (although he wasn't specific) on private business.
"We can address income inequality without ending incomes," he said.
And he offered advice on COVID and schools.
"Teachers must be vaccinated for their protection and for our children’s protection. Masks must be required in high-risk areas and private businesses must mandate proof of vaccination for large gatherings," Cuomo said.
Cuomo said that won't happen without a new law.
Brean: "Is that a law you would vote for?"
Sen. Jeremy Cooney: "Well of course I haven't seen any specific legislation."
I polled a number of our local lawmakers including Sen. Jeremy Cooney. He represents the west side of the city and county.
Everyone I spoke to said they would consider emergency powers for soon-to-be governor Kathy Hochul with strings attached.
Cooney: "The legislature has a special role that makes sure these powers are not superstar powers."
Assemblyman Josh Jensen, (R) Greece: 'It would have to be very specific with some check by the legislature."
Brean: "Do you think the governor has been treated fairly?"
Jensen: "I think the governor has been treated on the basis that his actions deserve."
Brean: "Do you believe the governor was treated fairly?"
Brean: "Has the governor been treated fairly do you think?"
Sen. Samra Brouk (D) Rochester, Penfield: "If I'm honest I think we're done with that chapter of New York State history."
At her news conference two weeks ago, Hochul said she and Cuomo are not close and no Cuomo staffer accused of being unethical will be on her staff.
Brouk: "And we have a woman stepping into this rule who has really taken a stance to say that is not how she plans on running the executive branch under her time."
Sen. Samra Brouk represents the east side of the city and county all the way down to Naples.
Hochul will be the first female governor of New York.
Brouk: "It's historic also for western New York. We have the first governor in many lifetimes healing from our region which means we bring that perspective to the governor's mansion."
Cooney says he's already talked with Hochul on the phone about "issues of concern like the reopening of schools, like the final legalization of adult-use recreational marijuana. which is completely stalled under the Cuomo administration."
"My hope would be is that we will have a governor for the remainder of Andrew Cuomo's term who rejects the standard operating procedures of fear, intimidation bullying," Jensen said.
Hochul is officially sworn into office at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. She has a ceremonial swearing-in at 10 a.m. Tuesday. Her first speech as governor is Tuesday afternoon.
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