UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY-TV) – Friday, August 13 Carl Heastie, speaker of the New York State Assembly, announced that the Assembly Judiciary Committee would no longer be investigating for impeachment. This decision came just days after Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned.
The assembly’s decision comes with mixed reactions. Elected officials from across the state are speaking out to share their opinions. Republican senator Joseph Griffo of Rome says the decision was a mistake.
“I think the speaker was wrong, and I’m not sure why he’s acting as a shield, so I’m hopeful that assembly members will raise their voices and say this has got to continue relative to the investigation,” the senator said.
“Impeachment is a different matter. That’s a determination as a body, the legislative body can make. But as far as stopping everything including the investigation of the judiciary committee, makes no sense.” he added. In addition to the allegations of sexual harassment, the senator cites misrepresentation of nursing home statistics during the pandemic and a book deal in which the governor may have misused state resources as additional reasons why the assembly should be pursuing a thorough investigation.
He said, “I believe that all the records should be made public and transparent. I believe there should be an element of accountability, and accordingly, that investigation, at least, has to continue under the committee structure that exists.”
The assembly was challenged on both sides of the issue as some wanted the investigation to be dropped in order for money to be spent on other state projects and others wanted to see the governor impeached so that he can’t run for office in the future. Senator Griffo says he can see Cuomo seeking an elected position in the future, but he feels that money is not a concern.
“To spend money in order to conduct an investigation to get to the root problem of what happened and how it happened is a role in responsibility as a part of the committee process and that oversight is essential,” he explained.
He also said, “Out of the last three governors two of them have resigned in disgrace. There’s a reason that I think people should not continue in those offices for as long as particularly this governor has.”
Senator Griffo is hopeful that this situation will spark interest in legislation addressing term limits going forward.