Corning, N.Y. -- Corning residents are unsure whether cancer or a Congressional Ethics Committee investigation is the reason Rep. Eric Massa (D-29) is stepping down. Such confusion has clouded their opinions on Massa's decision to leave office after just one term.
"If it is a health problem, I understand, because you know that can be hard if you are having health problems, but if it's something else I don't know," said Sandra Avery of Corning.
The "something else" refers to news of an ethics investigation into accusations that Massa sexually harassed a male staff member, a charge beyond foul language, he denies.
"There is no doubt in my mind that I did, in fact, use language in the privacy of my own home and in my inner office that, after 24 years in the Navy, might make a Chief Petty Officer feel uncomfortable. In fact, there is no doubt that this Ethics issue is my fault and mine alone," said Massa in a statement Friday.
Some feel no matter what the reason he's leaving, it's for the better in the 29th congressional district.
"If it's for health reasons, absolutely. If it's because of the ethical violations, I would agree with that as well," said Scott Beres.
Others say Massa's departure will only slow progress.
"To learn the issues is going to take another full term to learn, so in a way, it is going to set us back," said Brian Avery.