Cuomo’s successor Kathy Hochul pledges to ‘fully cooperate’ with COVID nursing home investigation

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New York Governor Kathy Hochul on Sunday pledged to “fully cooperate” with the requests for data on the nursing home scandal facing the Andrew Cuomo administration – although she pointed out that other priorities included sending COVID relief money to homeowners and illegal immigrants.

“I’m not going to hope to have these documents in hand on day one,” Hochul, the lieutenant governor who will replace Gov. Andrew Cuomo next week, said in an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation”. “What I have already done is meet with the Health Commissioner and we will discuss the outstanding data requests in the field. I will review them and my team will focus on this from the start.”

“I have to tell you that on the first day I am focusing on COVID,” continued Hochul, a Democrat. “We have to deal with the fact that the rates are going up. I want to get money out of people. We have way too much money that should go to tenants, to hurting landlords. And I also want to get the money for the excluded worker program where immigrants do not receive money because they do not have documents and that money is not spent. ”

CUOMO’S SUCCESSOR KATHY HOCHUL SAYS 14 DAY TRANSITIONAL PERIOD “ISN’T WHAT I ASKED FOR”

“So I have a lot of priorities, but I will absolutely make sure that my administration fully cooperates with these data requests,” she said.

Cuomo announced last week that he would step down on August 24, giving himself a two-week transition period following a scathing report from New York Attorney Letitia James finding he had sexually harassed several women. Hochul, a Democrat, will replace him on that date.

She said she plans to run for her own re-election next year.

Cuomo’s administration severely underestimated nursing home deaths after the governor ordered long-term care facilities to accept coronavirus-positive patients in the early stages of the pandemic. Cuomo officials have also reportedly altered a nursing home death report to hide the fact that the administration was underestimating those deaths.

The governor has also come under scrutiny for granting immunity to nursing home leaders from coronavirus-related lawsuits. The immunity of nursing home executives follows a large donation to Cuomo’s campaign from a high-powered healthcare industry group. Cuomo has repeatedly denied wrongdoing in the nursing home saga.

Meanwhile, New York State Assembly Member Ron Kim asked Hochul to release the email tapes in order to prove she was unaware of the alleged sexual misconduct. by Cuomo.

“It is difficult to prove that it is negative because I have not had any communication in this direction. But I believe in transparency and we will assess all these requests,” Hochul said on Sunday. “But it’s no secret that the Governor and I weren’t close. But I have sustained the legacy of progressive achievements that are exceptional, and my role as Lieutenant Governor is unrelated. ‘to be in those rooms or spend a lot of time in the capital – but to really talk to New Yorkers and advocate for issues like child care, paid family leave and higher wages. And I will continue to do so. do. ”

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Hochul said she knew Cuomo’s accusers “feel welcome to stay in the administration if they are here.”

“I want them to know that the culture will be 1000% changed,” she said. “I want every young woman, just like I was an intern in high school, to realize that this is a place where they have a role. We need their voices, we need that diversity. We are getting there. We are making progress on more elected women, but I want by the end of my administration every woman to say that there are no barriers. ”

Andrew Mark Miller of Fox News contributed to this report.

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