KINGSTON, N.Y. – "I consider public service among the highest of callings, whether it be serving our nation in the armed forces or serving our citizens as an elected official. As such, public servants – and especially elected officials – must hold themselves to the absolute highest standards of integrity and professional conduct in order to safeguard the public’s trust.
Earlier today, I was made aware of a set of disturbing findings from an independent investigation into the conduct of Ulster County Legislator Hector Rodriguez. Based on the summary findings of the investigation, it is clear that Legislator Rodriguez’s actions constitute a grave violation of the public trust.
According to the investigation, Legislator Rodriguez on multiple occasions, and with more than one victim, used his official government position and title to gain access to and seek improper favors and considerations from women, actions that clearly violate the County's Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy. Furthermore, when Legislator Rodriguez’s overtures were rebuffed, he took retaliatory actions, again using the powers of his official role.
Clearly, these actions, had they involved any member of my own administration, would lead to a summary dismissal. Legislator Rodriguez violated the public trust, violated women, and is unfit for public service.
It is vital that government act transparently and appropriately, and as Legislator Rodriguez is a duly elected representative, that this information be shared with the public.
I want to thank the courageous women who came forward, and make clear that under my leadership, our government is fully committed to ensuring that anyone who comes forward to report sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior will always be heard and protected.
I strongly urge the Ulster County Legislature to take immediate action to publicly condemn Legislator Rodriguez’s behavior and use any and all other means available to them to ensure he is held accountable for his actions.
We must make clear to the public that Ulster County has zero tolerance for any form of sexual harassment or discrimination."