Blankenbush On Board With ‘Sign & Subpoena’ Of Dr. Zucker

Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush (R,C,I-Black River) is joining his Minority Conference colleagues, Voices for Seniors and Rochester resident Miss Gelsey Randazzo Markese in calling for the subpoena of New York State Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker. Thursday morning, Minority members of the Assembly were joined by Voices for Seniors, which is an advocacy group for seniors statewide in long term-care facilities, and Randazzo Markese of Rochester, who lost her grandmother in a nursing home in the fall of 2020. The ‘sign & subpoena’ campaign is seeking two signatures from Majority members who sit on the Assembly Oversight Committee. A subpoena will allow members of the Assembly to gather relevant documents and testimony in a bipartisan manner.

Blankenbush’s Assembly colleagues outlined their strategy for initiating a subpoena at a press conference this morning.

According to Section 62-A of Legislative Law, if a majority of members on a given committee sign a petition, authority is given for that committee to issue a subpoena for an individual to appear before that committee to answer questions. There are 7 members on the Assembly Oversight Committee, 5 Majority and 2 Minority members. Only two Majority members are needed to be able to issue a subpoena to Dr. Zucker and compel him to answer questions following the scathing nursing home report by the attorney general.

“I join my Minority colleagues and the thousands of families statewide that are demanding accountability, with the first step being a subpoena to Dr. Zucker,” said Blankenbush.

“The Majority attorney general gave us a detailed report on Dr. Zucker’s underreporting of nursing home deaths by up to 50%. The attorney general put politics aside to do what’s best for New Yorkers. Now, it’s time for Assembly Majority to do the same and sign the petition to subpoena Dr. Zucker.

“It was heartbreaking to hear Miss Markese’s story about the loss of her grandmother. She said her grandmother did not die of COVID-19, but rather neglect. The Legislature needs to investigate whether this neglect was in fact due to the governor’s March 25 order that sent COVID-19 positive patients back into nursing homes. There are far too many stories like that of Miss Markese in New York. I am urging my Majority colleagues to join our calls to issue a subpoena to Commissioner Zucker. It’s not political; it’s just the right thing to do for grieving families,” concluded Blankenbush.