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Farewell to Cuomo: Tumultuous tenure of NY governor nears end

The three-term Democrat will step aside shortly after midnight Tuesday as his deputy Kathy Hochul becomes 57th governor of the Empire State.

(CN) — Addressing constituents in the waning hours of his elected office Monday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo touted his accomplishments and offered criticism of the report that led to him to announce his resignation and cut short other aspirations for the state.

“We didn't get everything done that we wanted to, or even everything we could have done,” Cuomo said in the prerecorded address. “And we didn't always get it quite right. But I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that every day, I worked my hardest.

Cuomo pointed to affordable housing and airport construction and other building projects launched in his administration, the passage marriage equality, efforts toward gun control, and New York's aggressive measures to control the outbreak of Covid-19 in New York last year.

His address came as his time as governor ticked to a close, set to end at 11:59 p.m. Monday. Shortly after midnight Tuesday, Cuomo’s second-in-command, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, will take the oath of office administered by New York State Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, becoming the state’s first female governor.

Cuomo will step down almost two weeks since he announced his resignation, a move made in the face of a looming impeachment investigation in the New York State Assembly and a report issued by the New York Attorney General Office that found he engaged in examples of sexual harassment directly at odds with his claims to be an advocate for women’s equality.

Maintaining that the attorney general’s report against him was unfair and political in nature, Cuomo said he would resign to prevent impeachment proceedings that would costs millions of dollars and months of litigation.

On Friday, Cuomo’s personal attorney Rita Glavin said Cuomo would be sending a letter to the attorney general, asking the office to make corrections and add additional evidence, such as photographs from an event where an alleged incident took place. She also said a similar request would be sent to the New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Judiciary, which is reviewing evidence in its own wide-ranging investigation into the governor’s conduct.

Instead of mulling articles of impeachment, though, lawmakers said their investigation would conclude with a report.

Cuomo on Monday called the attorney general’s report a “political firecracker” that started an initial stampede, a rush to judgment, that ultimately undermined the justice system.

“The truth will out in time, of that, I am confident,” Cuomo said.

Pointing to the state’s green-energy plan and renovations to Penn Station, Cuomo said his administration developed a government that worked.

“We cannot go back to the old days, when the government talked and government debated and government issued a lot of press releases about what they would do, but they never made a difference in people's lives. And they never improved, and they never built,” Cuomo said. “It's not what we say in life that matters. It's what we do.”

In his last week as governor, Cuomo granted clemency to 10 individuals, signed a bill designed to reduce the number of overdraft fees levied on checking accounts and managed the state’s response to Tropical Storm Henri.

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