Amid change in Albany, a group of breakaway Democrats led by Senator Jeff Klein has agreed to caucus with the regular Democrats in the state Senate.
Klein will remain co-president of the Senate and leader of the Independent Democratic Conference, a group of Democrats that have held power in Albany for four years in partnership with the Republicans caucus.
Only now, instead of caucusing with the Republicans, the breakaway group of five state senators has agreed to share control of the Senate with “regular” Democrats come January, assuming that there is not a radical shift in the composition of the Senate seats in the November elections.
The Independent Democratic Conference has served as a strong, stabilizing, sensible force for governing in New York State for four years, said Klein.
“Under a first-of-its kind bipartisan, coalition government, the IDC ushered in a functioning New York State Senate and delivered unprecedented results for working families, including four consecutive on-time budgets, passing the toughest gun control laws in the nation, marriage equality, an increase to the minimum wage, universal pre-k for thousands of toddlers and the safe, regulated use of medical marijuana,” he said.
Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Yonkers would be co-president of the Senate, if all goes according to plan.
In a statement, Klein said that the IDC has more work to do and key progressive goals to achieve, including meaningful campaign finance reform.
“Yet as we reflect on these past achievements, it is also clear that core Democratic policy initiatives that the IDC championed remain unfinished,” said Klein. “As Democrats, the IDC remains committed to the fight for an equal education for all New York student, which the Dream Act would provide, protecting a woman’s right to choose, increasing workers’ wages, and enacting meaningful campaign finance reform — I agree with Gov. Cuomo that these are progressive priorities we must pass.”
RANGEL WINS AGAIN
In the hotly contested Democratic primary for Congress in the 13th District, 22-term Congressman Charles Rangel defeated state Sen. Adriano Espaillat on Tues. June 24.
The 13th District now includes communities in the Bronx, including parts of University Heights, Kingsbridge, Kingsbridge Heights, Norwood, Bedford Park, and Van Cortlandt Village.
Rangel savored victory in the closely contested race.
“Words cannot describe my overwhelming gratitude to the voters of the 13th congressional district of our great state for standing with me to the very end and giving this veteran his one last fight,” said Rangel. “I am grateful for this special privilege to continue serving my beloved community and friends, both my dearest old friends in Upper Manhattan and new ones in the Bronx, whom I have had the greatest honor of representing in Congress. I’ve got a lot of fight in me and will not let them down.”
Senator Espaillat called Rep. Rangel to offer his congratulations for a successful reelection campaign and for his lifetime of service, according to a statement.
“Even though I will not be representing the 13th District in Congress, I will continue to fight for opportunity for all,” said Espaillat.