Overwhelmingly, Rep. George Santos' constituents say he should resign.

Overwhelmingly, Rep. George Santos' constituents say he should resign. Credit: Bloomberg/Al Drago

The longer Rep. George Santos stays in office, the more troubling the consequences for the residents of his district — residents who no longer want him to represent them.

Overwhelmingly, Santos’ constituents say he should resign. Two of every three voters who chose him say they wouldn’t have if they knew everything they know now, according to a Newsday/Siena College poll. A stunning 83% of 3rd Congressional District residents view their congressman unfavorably.

It has become increasingly clear that Santos can’t adequately serve his district. On Tuesday, he said he would step down from the committees to which he was assigned, saying it was in “the interest of the voters.” That’s just one more way Santos is being sidelined, and it means even he recognizes that he’s a distraction.

Santos has become a late-night punchline and a national embarrassment. Across the country, people are urging him to resign. Even conservative voices — like the Las Vegas Review-Journal — are calling for his impeachment.

But the people who are paying the price for Santos’ ineffective leadership are the very voters about whom Santos claims to care. Local elected officials — Republicans and Democrats alike — say they’ve been unable to connect with his office and worry they won’t be able to get what they need. He and his staff so far seem unable to meet the needs of individuals in the neighborhoods he represents. It’s unclear whether Santos can even take care of the basics — from emergency passport requests to federal agency assistance.

And Santos still doesn’t have an office in Nassau County, where the bulk of his district is located. Instead, he’s operating out of former Rep. Thomas Suozzi’s old office in Douglaston, Queens, where Suozzi’s name still graces the awning. Suozzi’s Long Island office was located in Huntington, which is no longer part of the district. If Santos is going to try to stick around, opening a Long Island office would be a good place to start.

The district needs a congressman who can get things done. But Santos is failing at the most basic duties of his job. For the sake of those who voted for him, as well as those who didn’t, that can’t continue. Nonetheless, Santos seems to have no plans to resign. “Nobody tells me to do anything,” he said Tuesday of his decision to step down from the committees.

Not even the voters?

If that’s the case, then the U.S. Justice Department must take the lead. Federal investigators have a lot of public integrity probes going on right now, but they must prioritize their work on Santos. This isn’t about politics and this isn’t a joke. It’s about the residents of the 3rd Congressional District. The sooner investigators act, the sooner the district can get the representation it deserves.

MEMBERS OF THE EDITORIAL BOARD are experienced journalists who offer reasoned opinions, based on facts, to encourage informed debate about the issues facing our community.

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