No Discontent Over Skelos, Ball And O’Mara Say
While those opposed to last month’s gun control law are clearly unhappy with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, there’s more than a fair bit of teeth gnashing that’s aimed at Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos.
Skelos, along with Cuomo, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Assembly Speaker Shelond Silver, was depicted in a sign on a podium at the rally here in Albany as an “Oath breaker Red Coat traitor.”
The added dimension to this was several Senate Republican rank-and-file lawmakers putting in appearances at the rally, including Sen. Greg Ball, who an outspoken opponent of the measure.
But Ball, a maverick in the Assembly and not the conference’s preferred candidate in a GOP primary back in 2010, said in an interview he supports Skelos.
Ball told me that the conference just needs to elect more Republicans for a clear majority. The conference is now led by a coalition of GOP lawmakers and five breakaway Democrats.
“Dean Skelos has navigated us through very tough times and we have to make sure we have a much larger majority so bills like this can’t come to the floor,” Ball said. “Right now you have a governor who pushes through bills in the middle of the night and quite honestly we don’t have the numbers on the Republican side like we did a year and a half ago.”
Without the Republican conference, the gun control law could have been much worse, Ball said.
“I understand why people are angry and upset,” he said. ”If they want to blow up the Republican conference and do so in a way that’s an attack on the Republican conference in the Senate then we’d go from the worst that’s in this legislation to the worst of the worst in legislation and that’s confiscation.”
Sen. Tom O’Mara disagreed with the criticism of Skelos.
“He did work very hard to make it little better than what the governor was trying to do,” he said. “I don’t have any discontent with Leader Skelos. We are in an extremely liberal state, it’s very tough doing business here in Albany.”
The Republican conference has worked well with Cuomo over the last two years, but in recent weeks there’s been increased challenges to his third-year agenda from GOP lawmakers, who also took issue with the governor’s first appointment to the state Court of Appeals, Jenny Rivera.
O’Mara said that the relationship with the Cuomo has certainly frayed.
“Every one of us knew it was going to dwindle over time and we’re seeing that now and it’s a difficult process, but if he’s going to push these liberal agenda items we’re going to stand up to him,” he said.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on February 12, 2013 at 12:34 pm, and is filed under Dean Skelos. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|