NAACP Prez Urges Cuomo To Break Up Senate’s ‘Cozy Little Cabal’
NAACP President Hazel Dukes is the latest African American leader to implore Gov. Andrew Cuomo to get involved to address what she calls the “blatantly discriminatory” IDC-GOP coalition poised to take control of the state Senate by urging it to be “more inclusive.”
“We are quite frankly stunned at the idea that you, the Governor of this State, would, if true, ‘sit back and watch what happens’ in the chaos of the New York State Senate Leadership,” Dukes wrote in a letter to Cuomo yesterday.
“If what I read is true, there is one African American, no Hispanic and 35 White members in this important leadership group. This ‘cozy’ little cabal excludes women, gay and Hispanic legislators from most important leadership positions.”
“…I am urging you to use your good offices to get this blatantly discriminatory group to be more inclusive and more representative of the Senators.”
Dukes’ letter comes on the heels of criticism from the Rev. Al Sharpton, who plans to join three black senators – Bill Perkins, Ruth Hassell-Thompson and Eric Adams – this Saturday in a push to empower 15 black and Hispanic Democrats with key committee chairmanships and more influence.
A source close to the “regular” Senate Democrats (the ones left behind by the five IDC members) says the minority conference and their union/progressive allies have not yet lost hope that it still might be possible for Sen. Jeff Klein & Co. to scuttle their coalition government plan and return to the Democratic fold.
That seems like a pretty tall order, though. Klein et al is pretty far out there at this point, sitting for multiple interviews – including an extended talk on CapTon this week – outlining their power-sharing plan with the Republicans.
It has not been lost on long-time observers of New York politics how awkward this situation is growing for Cuomo.
After all, this is hardly the first time he has been the subject of pressure and criticism from the minority community.
Back in 2010, Sharpton decried the all-white Democratic ticket after Cuomo chose then-Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy to be his LG running-mate.
Sharpton’s complaints led Cuomo to promise he would have the most diverse administration in modern New York history – a pledge that not all black and Latino leaders believe he has lived up to, though the Reverend himself praised the governor’s first round of high-level appointments.
Remember, too, that Cuomo was the subject of a maelstrom of discontent from black leaders when he dared to challenge the party favorite – then-state Comptroller H. Carl McCall – in a Democratic gubernatorial primary back in 2002.
McCall was the state’s first black major party candidate for governor, and minority community leaders did not take kindly to any attempt to derail his momentum.
In the end, Cuomo bowed out of the race just one week before primary day, and McCall went on to lose to then-GOP Gov. George Pataki in the November general election.
Eight years later, then-AG Cuomo was widely expected to run for governor again – this time potentially challenging the state’s first sitting black governor, David Paterson, to do so.
Luckily for Cuomo, Paterson ended up dropping out of the race shortly after he declared his campaign, felled by multiple ethics investigations and scandals.
Ironically, it was on Paterson’s WOR radio show that Cuomo addressed the latest round of concerns from black and Latino officials about his failure to inject himself into the Senate leadership mess, saying: “It’s not my place to get involved in internal legislative affairs.”
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on December 7, 2012 at 8:31 am, and is filed under Al Sharpton, Andrew Cuomo, IDC, Republicans, State Senate, Uncategorized. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|