Capital Region lawmakers pen letters urging subpoenas, vaccine inclusion


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik led New York’s Republican Congressmembers in writing a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday. They’re requesting investigations into the state’s handling of coronavirus at nursing homes.

Stefanik’s letter to acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson requests the DOJ to issue subpoenas for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Health Commissioner Robert Zucker, and their staff for documents and communications related to nursing home policies during the pandemic.

A written statement from Stefanik reads, in part:

“My colleagues and I continue the fight towards justice for the people of New York. We will work to ensure that Acting Attorney General Wilkinson and President Biden support this pursuit for the truth about Governor Cuomo and his administration, considering the scathing evidence presented in Attorney General James’ recent report. Tens of thousands of innocent people in our great state died, and unlike the Governor, we care.”

Also on Wednesday, Capital Region Assemblymembers Patricia Fahy, John McDonald, and Carrie Woerner sent a letter to Cuomo. They were urging him to include food pantry workers in phase 1b of the vaccine rollout. Currently, though they’re defined as essential workers, they’re ineligible to be vaccinated under current state rations.

Similarly, on Tuesday, Stefanik wrote an open letter encouraging the Biden Administration to include cancer patients in initial vaccine distributions. She said the Center for Disease Control and Prevention should immediately update their guidance to ensure cancer patients have priority access to the vaccination.

“I was deeply disheartened to learn that some of my constituents in the North Country, who are cancer patients or have a history of cancer, were left out of the initial distribution tiers for the COVID-19 vaccine. Doctors, scientists, and patient advocates have stated that individuals with an increased risk for severe COVID-19 associated illness, like cancer, must receive priority access,” Stefanik said in a written statement. “I am calling on the Biden Administration to immediately update the guidance surrounding high-risk populations, so the most vulnerable among us can undoubtedly receive the vaccine as soon as possible.”

Take a look at the letter from State Assemblymembers urging Cuomo to expand phase 1b eligibility:

And the letter from Stefanik regarding cancer patients:

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