Embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to give farewell address on last day in office

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo began his last day on the job Monday with his top aid releasing a statement on his behalf, saying Cuomo “has no interest in running for office again” after resigning this month over sexual harassment allegations by multiple women that would have led to his likely impeachment.

The 63-year-old Cuomo is set to leave office at 11:59 p.m. Monday, and his replacement, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, will be sworn in as New York’s first woman governor at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday by the state’s chief judge, Janet DiFiore, in a private ceremony at the state capitol in Albany.

Cuomo is scheduled to deliver a farewell address to New Yorkers on Monday afternoon.

PHOTO: Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a Zoom-cast news briefing, Aug. 21, 2021, in New York.

On Monday morning, Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, issued a statement on Cuomo’s immediate plans when he leaves the job he claimed a decade ago, one once held by his late father, Mario Cuomo.

DeRosa said that Cuomo has spent nearly 25 years in public service, from being secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Clinton administration in the 1990s to getting elected state attorney general in 2006 and serving as governor since 2010.

“And the way he does it, it’s 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” said DeRosa, whose resignation on Aug. 8 as the most powerful unelected bureaucrat in state government will also take effect Monday night. “He looks forward to spending time with his family and has a lot of fishing to catch up on. He is exploring a number of options, but has no interest in running for office again.”

PHOTO: A digital billboard counts the days left for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Aug. 20, 2021, in Albany, N.Y.  Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will become the first woman to be New York's governor when Cuomo's resignation becomes official on Aug. 24.

Cuomo, who has insisted he did not touch anyone inappropriately, announced his resignation on Aug. 13, ten days after State Attorney General Letitia James announced her five-month investigation found the governor sexually harassed multiple women, including current and former state employees, and had retaliated against one of his accusers.

Over the weekend, Cuomo sought to show he was in control until the end as he presided over briefings on Tropical Storm Henri. He requested his emergency management team remain in place and said Hochul had been briefed despite her absence from the news conferences.

Attempting to keep reporters “on topic,” Cuomo asked that questions be limited to the storm.

“We’re dealing with an emergency and New Yorkers want to hear about an emergency,” Cuomo said.

The first question he took was whether he still planned to resign on Monday.

“And, yes, my final day is tomorrow,” Cuomo said during a news briefing Sunday.

PHOTO: Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks to the media during a news conference, Aug. 18, 2021, in New York. Hochul will be inaugurated governor on Aug. 24, after the resignation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Unlike Cuomo, who honed his political instincts at the hip of his father, Hochul’s political career began on a town council in Western New York. She briefly served in Congress and has been lieutenant governor for seven years.

“I’m excited about this,” Hochul said last week during a visit to New York City’s Queens borough. “I’m excited about this opportunity. I’m very prepared for this.”

A public swearing-in ceremony will be held for Hochul at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday in the Red Room of the state capitol building. But she wasted no time in announcing the first two appointments of her administration, picking Karen Persichilli Keogh, a former senior aid to Hillary Rodham Clinton, as Secretary to the Governor and Elizabeth Fine, executive vice president and General Counsel of Empire State Development (New York’s economic development agency), as Counsel to the Governor.

Once she takes office, among Hochul’s first tasks will be appointing a new lieutenant governor and she has said it would be someone from a New York City borough. She has signaled there would be “turnover” from the Cuomo administration, particularly among those in the Executive Chamber that were named in the state attorney general’s report as enabling Cuomo’s alleged harassment.

“I’m looking forward at the right time to introducing the members of my administration,” Hochul said.

Another priority is the pandemic and repopulating the depleted ranks of the state’s health department.

Hochul said the state has the authority to mandate masks in schools statewide and has said she believes “we will need mask mandates for children to go back to school … and that will have to be universal, it will be statewide.”

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