New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned on Tuesday following an inquiry that found he sexually harassed 11 women.
The investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James said that Cuomo violated US and state laws as he groped, kissed, or made suggestive comments to the women. Cuomo had faced mounting pressure for him to step down, from President Joe Biden and other fellow Democrats. "The best way I can help now is if I step aside and let the government get back to governing," acknowledged Cuomo. "I take full responsibility for my actions. I have been too familiar with people. My sense of humor can be insensitive and off-putting. I do hug and kiss people casually, women and men."
However, Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing. "In my mind, I've never crossed the line with anyone, but I didn't realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn. There are generational and cultural shifts that I just didn't fully appreciate and I should have no excuses."
Cuomo, who was once seen as a possible US presidential candidate, had served as governor of New York since 2011. Fil-Am Democratic leader and New York resident Loida Nicolas Lewis has mixed feelings about his resignation. "During the time of the pandemic... he kept us sane; he kept us on a steady ground," said Lewis.
She added, "I was saddened that he is resigning, but I also understand that old behaviors are no longer acceptable especially how men treat women." Lewis said that Cuomo had no other choice but to step down from his post. "If he doesn't resign, he will be impeached by the New York State Assembly... so he had really no choice; he had to do a Nixon exit."
Other Fil-Am New Yorkers also feel that Cuomo's resignation, though disappointing, was necessary. "Nobody is above the law and justice must prevail," said Edwin Josue. For Ram Buena, "Nobody’s indispensable. Siguro may bagong leader na papalit, baka mas lalong gumanda ang New York (Maybe there's a new leader who will replace him, that would be better for New York)."
Cuomo's resignation will be effective on August 24th. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is taking over until December 2022, when Cuomo's third term in office ends. Hochul will become the first woman to lead the state of New York in 233 years. For Lewis, Hochul faces a challenge. "Now is the chance, if she is really good, to show New York citizens that a woman is as good as a man in running New York State," said Lewis.