MECO — Republicans and Democrats will always have disagreements about policy issues. If we did not, we would not need different parties in our political system.
The same can be said when it comes to the governor and the state Legislature. We are co-equal branches of government with a different focus on governance.
But when a single person who holds office in one branch fails to act honestly and to behave appropriately with his staff, the time comes for the other branch to hold him accountable. If warranted, the Legislature must remove him from power.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo was already in trouble with many people because of his hubris of heavy-handed leadership throughout the pandemic, with a liberal and dictatorial use of emergency powers followed by little accountability. A more harmful issue emerged when the people learned his office deliberately withheld information relating to the deaths of nursing home residents to potentially blunt a federal investigation.
As if that incident were not enough, we are continuing to hear stories that throughout his political career he reportedly sexually harassed young women who worked directly for him. Let alone his reputation for bullying and berating colleagues and political enemies, this type of behavior is unacceptable.
It demeans the office of the governor and prevents good governance during the critical time of formulating the state budget. The continued defiance that he will not resign, accept responsibility and relinquish his powers means it becomes the job of the Legislature to find justice.
A Legislature’s responsibility is the equal representation of the people throughout the state to make laws. It also serves to check the co-equal branches of the executive and judiciary when necessary to hold them accountable.
So while the Assembly Democrats are slowly moving toward an investigation that may lead to an impeachment vote, I doubt that their motive is justice for the victims of this governor’s actions. They simply want to maintain policy leverage for a progressive budget.
My biggest concern in this due process comes from the fact that the Assembly Judiciary Committee is slow-rolling its own investigation by hiring outside lawyers. If committee members were serious, they would immediately empanel a bipartisan impeachment commission with subpoena powers to hear witnesses in public.
We don’t need any further delays. It is time to act now and assert our Legislative authority.
State Assemblyman Robert Smullen, R-C-I-SAM-Meco, represents the 118th Assembly District, which includes Hamilton and Fulton counties as well as parts of Herkimer, Oneida and St. Lawrence counties.