OPINION

OPINION: SEN. TOM O'MARA: New York needs and deserves better

N.Y. State Senator Tom O'Mara

Despite the incredible challenges and vital work facing New York State to try to rebuild local communities and economies after an unprecedented year and a half of COVID-19 upheaval and ongoing uncertainty, New York State government is now stymied by a Governor who refuses to do the right thing.

N.Y. Senator Tom O'Mara

As of the writing of this column, while the calls for him to go keep coming from all corners of this state and nation, Governor Andrew Cuomo still refuses to resign.

And he keeps right on lying.

This governor and his public relations team have been fond of quoting the American patriot Thomas Paine at times during their “award winning” pandemic briefings. Maybe it’s time they reminded themselves of these words from Paine, “A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right.”

Last week, New York State Attorney General Letitia James’ findings that Governor Cuomo violated state and federal laws surely blew the cover off the long-standing and infuriating habit by the governor and his minions to try to make their actions over the past 18 months appear right when, in reality, they were so brazenly and disturbingly wrong.  

The Attorney General’s report on her office’s months-long investigation should have marked the end of the Cuomo administration and a disgusting chapter in New York State government. This thorough, independent investigation makes it clear that Andrew Cuomo is not fit to hold public office. You can read the full report for yourself on the Attorney General’s website at: www.ag.ny.gov.

It leaves Governor Cuomo standing, no matter how he will try to lie about it now, without a shred of credibility, honesty, integrity, or trustworthiness. 

Governor Cuomo needs to resign. That’s become clear to most reasonable people and, according to one poll, at least six out of 10 New Yorkers.

He’s the only one who doesn’t realize it, a fact that speaks volumes about his state of mind and obsession with power.

Many of my legislative colleagues and I – from both sides of the aisle, by the way -- began calling for Governor Cuomo’s resignation months ago when it was becoming clear that this governor and members of his inner circle covered up the COVID-19 nursing homes tragedy for personal and political gains, while throughout this pandemic engaging in other alarming abuses of power and potentially criminal actions.   

In addition to the latest report from the Attorney General detailing the governor’s violations of state and federal sexual harassment laws, remember that other state and federal investigations remain ongoing.

The Attorney General, for example, continues to investigate the nursing homes cover-up and its connection to the $5.1-billion contract the governor received to write his now infamous pandemic memoir through which he portrayed what we now know was an intentionally false and favorable narrative on the Cuomo administration’s handling of COVID-19 in our nursing homes and disgustingly downplayed, for political and personal gain, the deaths of nearly 16,000 seniors.

This very same cover-up remains under investigation by the FBI and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District in Brooklyn.

Following the Attorney General’s latest report, criminal investigations are being considered by district attorneys in several New York counties, upstate and downstate.

Finally, the Democrat leadership of the New York State Assembly appears, finally, after several months of foot dragging, to be moving forward on Articles of Impeachment. If the Assembly moves to impeach Andrew Cuomo, he will be forced to vacate the office of governor until the conclusion of a Senate trial, which would decide his fate.

The governor and the members of his inner circle, who have been complicit in Cuomo’s lies and covering up his unlawful behavior, need to be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. 

I believe they will be.

Still, Governor Cuomo tries to hold on to power now with more lying, by trying to convince us that all of this was just a series of misunderstandings by his victims, that it’s all politically motivated, that he hasn’t done a thing wrong.

As Governor Andrew Cuomo continues desperately trying to remain in office, he clearly is living in an alternate universe fabricated upon his sociopathic lying that only he believes to be reality. 

If Cuomo were the CEO of a public company, he would have been removed long ago for far less egregious conduct.

The governor trying to save his own skin by surrounding himself with high-priced lawyers and legal teams on the public dime has already cost state taxpayers millions of dollars. The longer he holds out, the more expensive it’s going to get.

What a damn waste and the governor should know it. New York State needs – and deserves – better now.

The state Assembly Democrat super-majority must immediately move articles of impeachment on to the Senate so that we can have a full presentation of the evidence in an open, public, and formal setting.

New York State Senator Tom O'Mara represents the 58th District, which includes Yates, Steuben, Schuyler and Chemung counties and a portion of Tompkins County.