Republican Coup in NY Senate

Monday, June 08, 2009

Republicans have retaken control of New York's Senate after two dissident Democrats jumped the aisle in a parliamentary coup. The party-flip of senators Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens gives Republicans a 32-30 edge in the chamber. Within an hour of the overthrow, Republicans named Espada temporary president of the Senate, and Senator Dean Skelos of Nassau County vice president and majority leader. Skelos is also the former majority leader.

Espada had this to say at a press conference in Albany:

"We experienced five months of failure, a budget process that was dealt out in secrecy, punishment, punishing members to vote a certain way."

These are the most powerful positions in the chamber, and with them, come the ability to direct legislation and reassign committee and leadership posts. Senator Malcolm Smith held a press conference in which he denounced the actions of Republicans and insisted that he was still Senate majority leader as the actions of the group had been illegal.

Governor David Paterson echoed Smith's sentiments, hastily pulling together a press conference in which he called Senate Republicans' actions "despicable." He said that New York State voters had been let down and said he would continue to recognize Malcolm Smith as Senate majority leader.

"I came here tonight to speak for everyone in this state who still believes in democracy and still believes that there are perimeters in which we govern and still believes that Albany can be more than the dysfunctional wreck that it has become over the years."

Rachel Ward, a host at public radio station WXXI, talked with Albany reporter Karen Dewitt about the events in the Senate:

Senate guard monitors the chamber entrance, media wait.
Senators Pedro Espada and Hiram Monseratte speak to reporters.
Senator Pedro Espada, Senator Dean Skelos, wait to be sworn in.
Senator Hiram Monserrate
Senator Espada at a House hearing
Senator Malcolm Smith
Senator Skelos meets with Rockville Centre Boy Scouts


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Comments [7]


What a shock, Democrats crying foul about a loss (see Bush v. Gore 2004)

Jun. 09 2009 01:31 PM
Maria from Harlem

And Golisano was furious about the millionaire tax. Poor millionaire?

Jun. 09 2009 09:41 AM
Maria from Harlem

"Good government control" does not happen in a back room but in public.

Jun. 09 2009 09:35 AM
Maria from Harlem

His "girlfriend" actually first admitted to the police that she was assaulted and video corroborates her statement. She changed her story after the fact.

Jun. 09 2009 09:34 AM
Maria from Harlem

If this was about "power sharing" as Mr. Monserratte puts it, this would not have blindsided the party, his colleagues, his constituents and the public as a whole.

Jun. 09 2009 09:30 AM
Maria from Harlem

Agree 100% with:

We all know what happened today. Regardless of what becomes of the parliamentary procedural game, what the two former Democrats did today is unacceptable and wrong. When I found out, I wanted to bang my head against the wall until I would realize this was all a bad dream. But it's not. This coup embodies everything that is wrong with Albany- a major development brokered through a backroom deal, legislators putting their personal gain ahead of the good of the state, elected politicians directly defying the will of the people who elected them, unqualified, corrupt scions rising to the upper echelons of power not for merit but for shady deals about power; it's all there.
While it may feel good to just sit and curse the traitors, Hiram Monserratte and Pedro Espada Jr., we should all take a deep breath, and refocus that anger into removing these pathetic, spineless, selfish losers from office in 2010.

So here are some steps we should all be taking now:

1. First and foremost, tomorrow every one of us should contact the chairs of the Bronx (for Espada) and Queens (for Monserratte) Democratic Committees and ask them for a commitment that under no circumstances will the committee put either Senator up for the Party's nomination in 2010.

Contact info:

The Bronx Democratic County Committee
Office: 718.931.5200
Fax: 718.792.3882

Queens Democratic Committee
Chair: Hon. Joseph Crowley
Phone: 718-268-5100
Fax: 718-268-7363

2. Identify and support primary challengers to these two jokers. I think John Sabini, Monseratte's predecessor in Senate Seat before Paterson appointed him to chair the Racing and Wagering Board would be an ideal choice. Espada's predecessor, whom he beat in the 2008 primary, Efrain Gonzales, is corrupt and wouldn't be ideal. So if anybody knows and good potential challenger, please drop a comment.

Once we have primary opponents declared we can start gathering donations and volunteers for them, but until then, I think Actblue should set up Nominee funds so we can donate to challengers before we have picked them yet.

3. If you're a blogger, googlebomb them. Hiram Monserratte and Pedro Espada Jr. have some very serious skeletons in their closets that their voters should be more aware of. Let's make sure the causal voter checking out the google knows about these things.

Once there are viable challengers identified, we can do much more, like knocking on doors and all the great grassrooty volunteer stuff. But for now, these steps should suffice.

Remember: revenge is a dish best served cold. 2010 will be cold, cold year for Espada and Monserratte. We can make certain of that.

Jun. 09 2009 09:18 AM

We need comprehensive reform in state government, that is clear. Everything from ethics reform to NYC home rule has to be re-evaluated.

And this naked power grab by Espada is the only transparent aspect of this circus.

Jun. 09 2009 09:07 AM

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