Morelle Named Assembly Majority Leader
Rochester-area Assemblyman Joe Morelle has been tapped by Speaker Sheldon Silver to serve as majority leader – the number two position in the body. He replaces Ron Canestrari, an Albany-area Democrat who didn’t seek re-election in 2012.
“Joe has made tremendous contributions to the Assembly Majority over the last two decades. Given his strength of character, proven leadership abilities and loyalty to this institution, I have every confidence that he will ably guide the work of the Assembly with integrity and respect,” said Silver in a press release. (He also announced Morelle’s new job on the floor of the Assembly during the pre-State of the State session.
Traditionally, the majority leader post, which carries a stipend – or lulu – of $34,500, has been held by an upstate Democrat because the speaker has been from New York City. This year, Morelle was considered the frontrunner, but Long Island Assemblyman Robert Sweeney was also considered a possible choice.
“I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to serve as Majority Leader of this great Body, and grateful to Speaker Silver for his friendship and extraordinary leadership. I look forward to the year ahead and to working hard on behalf of all New Yorkers,” said Morelle.
Morelle has already received praise from the Unshackle Upstate, an organization representing businesses from Buffalo to the Capital Region.
“During his 23 year tenure in the State Assembly, Joe Morelle has been a tremendous advocate for his constituents in the Rochester area as well as the entire Upstate region. His appointment to serve as Assembly Majority Leader will undoubtedly strengthen the voice of Upstate taxpayers and businesses,” said Unshackle Executive Director Brian Sampson.
“As a former small business owner, Assemblyman Morelle knows the challenges that employers face on a daily basis and we look forward to working with him to advance measures that will improve New York’s business climate and strengthen the future of our Upstate communities.”
Morelle is also close to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which should make for interesting politics in the Assembly going forward.
Morelle’s promotion opens the chairmanship of the Insurance Committee, which is likely to be a highly sought after position. There’s a lot of what’s known as “churn” – shuffling of committee and leadership posts – in the Assembly this year, due to many redistricting-year retirements and/or losses at the ballot box.
We know of at least one other promotion that Silver has yet to announce: Assemblyman Jeff Aubry, a Queens Democrat, confirmed he will be speaker pro temp, replacing former Assemblyman Peter Rivera, of the Bronx, who left to become Cuomo’s labor commissioner.
Aubry is currently chair of the Corrections Committee, so that position will have to be filled. Another committee chairmanship over which there’s a lot of speculation: Housing, which used to belong to Assemblyman Vito Lopez. (Remember, the Brooklyn Democrat – who has yet to be spotted at the Capitol, by the way – lost his post, and a host of other perks, thanks to his sexual harassment scandal, which is still under investigation).
There is some talk that Assemblyman Keith Wright, who is Cuomo’s hand-picked state Democratic Party Committee co-chair, will get the Housing Committee, but there has been no formal announcement as of yet.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Michael Johnson on January 9, 2013 at 1:13 pm, and is filed under Assembly, Democrats, Uncategorized, Upstate NY. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|