WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Westchester County Executive and gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino is calling for the resignation of state Health Department Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah, he announced in a video Wednesday morning.
In the video, Astorino refers to two separate issues, one involving a story published by the New York Post on Monday, April 7, revealing 200 abortion clinics in New York state have not been inspected in the past 13 years; the other the, "perennial inaction" by the Health Department on conducting natural gas studies.
"For these reasons, I am calling on Commissioner Shah to resign as state health commissioner, and if he refuses, I call on Gov. Cuomo to replace him. The health of New York women and the economic health of our state are at risk," he said.
Astorino said that 48 hours after the Post's story was published, the governor's office and Health Department have yet to address it publicly.
The county executive, who declared his candidacy for governor March 5, has been criticized by rivals for his conservative stance on social issues. However, he said this issue is important to address, "regardless of anyone's feelings about abortion."
"These clinics must be clean and safe for women," he said. "The New York state Health Department found egregious sanitary violations, cringe-worthy violations, and the department refuses to tell women at which clinics those violations have occurred. Women have the right to know."
Regarding the natural gas study, Astorino linked the health commissioner's inaction to political corruption, saying he is doing Cuomo's political bidding by delaying his decision through his re-election.
"But isn't the state health commissioner supposed to be New York's chief medical officer, not a political foil for Gov. Cuomo?" he asked.
"The fact that close to 200 women's health facilities have gone uninspected under his watch alone is enough to call for his resignation. Politicizing the natural gas issue only adds to the case against his tenure," he said.
Read the full New York Post article here.