WATERTOWN — In opposition to the governor and his emergency powers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Assemblyman Mark C. Walczyk has started a movement dedicated to “kicking the crown.”
Assemblyman Walczyk launched his opposition campaign, dubbed “Kick the Crown,” on Jan. 15 in direct response to what he says is executive overreach by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
“I think New Yorkers are very frustrated with executive overreach, with the governor’s micromanaging of our lives, and that really has called for this kind of response,” he said Tuesday.
He said after months of debate in the state Legislature over whether Gov. Cuomo’s emergency executive powers — afforded to him at the beginning of the pandemic — should be revoked, no progress has been made.
“Now it’s time to turn to the highest office in the land, and that’s the office of the citizen,” he said.
Assemblyman Walczyk said his goal is to encourage New York’s citizens to understand how the checks and balances in government are meant to operate, and how executive overreach degrades democratic principles.
The campaign’s name has ties to the New York state seal, and its revolutionary past. On the state seal, there’s an image of Lady Liberty standing to the left. By her feet lies a crown, which is meant to represent King George III, former king of Britain.
“I think that’s such a cool piece of history that symbolizes so much,” he said.
Assemblyman Walczyk said some people have a nickname for the governor, “King Cuomo,” in reference to the fact that “this guy is acting like a monarch.”
“I think Lady Liberty kicking the crown is a really strong New York symbol,” he added.
The campaign’s website, kickthecrown.com, lists various examples of executive orders that the assemblyman believes are examples of executive overreach by Gov. Cuomo. The list includes the stay-at-home order that closed most nonessential businesses in March, the mandatory quarantines for travelers and the health information forms they are required to complete, school closures and the limits on the size of social gatherings.
The site also hosts a merchandise store, a petition and a directory of New York state legislators.
Supporters of Kick the Crown are encouraged to call their state legislators to push them to vote to rescind the governor’s executive powers, and sign the petition calling for the same. According to the webpage, 159 people have signed the petition as of Tuesday afternoon, and 20 people have found their legislators’ contact information on the site.
The initiative is supported by Assemblyman Walczyk’s campaign committee, Friends of Mark Walczyk.
The assemblyman confirmed proceeds from the online merchandise store go back to that committee.
He said the campaign currently has the support of most Republicans in state government, including Assembly Minority Leader William A. Barclay, R-Pulaski. But Assemblyman Walczyk said he believes the issue isn’t a partisan one.
“I’ve heard people on both sides of the aisle make arguments that are right inside the lines of Kick the Crown’s argument,” he said. “Executive overreach, too much power to the executive, too much power to the president, too much power to the governor. That isn’t how we set up this republic.”