Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today expressed his relief as news broke that Health Commissioner Howard Zucker has resigned from his position, though his resignation will only take effect when Gov. Hochul puts forward his replacement.
Hawley has been a frequent critic of Zucker and demanded his resignation on many occasions, deeply questioning the role Zucker may have played in the potential cover-up of the true number of fatalities that occurred in nursing homes during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also spoke out against the mandates placed on small businesses and public institutions that restricted their operations.
“While I am of the opinion that firing Howard Zucker should have been one of the first things Gov. Hochul did after being sworn in, it is better to see him leave late than never,” said Hawley. “Zucker has mismanaged this pandemic since day one, and his highly questionable actions likely contributed to the personal and economic pain of countless people throughout our state. In managing our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to be smart about recognizing the realities people in the different, distinct regions of our state face in their personal lives and careers. A continuation of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to the pandemic, characterized by burdensome, widely-applied mandates, will only stifle our state’s recovery from the pandemic. It’s my hope Zucker’s successor takes a more balanced and reasonable approach with local control, so that it won’t have the same negative impact on our communities and small businesses as Zucker’s mandates.”