New era in state politics begins

Nov 26, 2018

It's perhaps the oldest cliche in New York State politics and government: three men in a room. That changes Monday.

Some things won't change. The governor, state Senate majority leader and Assembly speaker will undoubtedly meet in periodic budget seances as budget day - Apr. 1 - approaches. That's always been the way, as three guys dicker on the budget.

Senate Democrats meet Monday to change that, with the vote to make Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins the majority leader when the new legislative year starts Jan. 1. Voters put Democrats in control of the Senate on Election Day and this is a really big sign of it.

"A new mindset in where this state is going," said state Sen. Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo). "We need to continue to put a focus on creating jobs and economic development, establishing businesses in our community, giving individuals an opportunity to stay here, to live here, to raise their families here, to get a proper education, to ensure that when these kids are graduating, they have a place to go to work."

Kennedy said Democrats have a lot of legislation the Republicans wouldn't pass, even if bills passed in the Assembly. He said that will include election reform and likely more money for public education, with the need to get kids ready for the jobs of the future.

"We have to get the Child Victims Act passed, put in place real ethics reform, put in place Election Law reform, where we can ensure everyone has an opportunity, equally, to get out there and exercise their right to vote and a number of other major initiatives," he said.

Kennedy stands to gain when Stewart-Cousins chooses committee chairs, as a high-seniority senator and one of the few Democrats from upstate. He will find out sometime in December which committee he will lead.