TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y.—Newly-elected State Assemblywoman Anna Kelles, who represents Ithaca in the state’s 125th Assembly District has issued a statement calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to face investigations into his conduct over the last year, joining a list of small but growing number of New York politicians asking for the previously popular governor to relinquish his position amid a wave of scandals if evidence of wrongdoing is found. Kelles doesn’t appear to be issuing a full-throated call for the governor to resign, but said that if Cuomo is found guilty of anything after a “multi-pronged investigation” by New York Attorney General Letitia James, he should leave office.

Kelles, a fellow Democrat and former Tompkins County legislator, issued a statement on Friday, March 5, citing the New York Times report on Thursday that Cuomo’s aides “falsified nursing home data” and pressured state health officials to reduce the number of reported nursing home deaths in a July report. That followed earlier damning reports about New York’s handling of coronavirus in nursing homes, coupled with scrutiny on Cuomo’s behind-the-scenes political tactics and his potential misconduct towards at least three women.

“I am deeply troubled and angered by the most recent information that has come to light in the NYT report stating that Governor Cuomo and his aides falsified nursing home data and undermined the work of our health officials,” Kelles said. “It is unconscionable that the governor has broken his bond of trust with New Yorkers at a time when we need our leaders to make decisions and create policy in the best interest of the people not for politics or to manipulate public perception.”

The position Kelles is staking out is a seemingly popular one among New Yorkers, according to a recently published Quinnipiac poll. Those results showed that, of the people surveyed, 55 percent think Cuomo should not resign compared to 40 percent who do. But, by a 59-36 margin, those respondents said he should not run for re-election.

It’s also the position that the statewide Democratic party has taken on the issue. Kelles had previously signed on to a letter with several other female Democratic state lawmakers calling for an investigation by the state’s Attorney General.

Kelles’ statement continued that Cuomo’s apology for his behavior toward the three women who have accused him of sexual harassment is insufficient and employs the type of excuses typical of people accused of such behavior.

“I fully support a multi-pronged investigation into Governor Cuomo’s conduct by New York Attorney General Letitia James,” she said. “If the governor is found guilty of falsifying nursing home data he should resign immediately. If the governor is found guilty of sexual harassment he should resign immediately. Public opinion is very important because trust in our leadership is critical to the function of both government and society. I do not know if the governor can recover from these egregious errors in judgment. However, the full weight of a complete legally binding investigation is a key requirement in this process and I look forward to seeing the full report of findings from AG James.”

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Education & Public Health Reporter at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com