Some Democrats in the state Senate have apparently had enough of the leadership that brought New York the last two years of…gridlock? Dysfunction? A Return to a Republican majority?
Led by Bronx Sen. Jeff Klein, they’re forming a new independent Democratic caucus.
Karen DeWitt filed this story with us:
The Senate Democratic conference, now in the minority in that house- just got four seats smaller. A new faction of Democrats, saying Senator John Sampson has “failed,” announced they are forming their own independent Democratic caucus.
Senator Jeff Klein of the Bronx, who was recently stripped of his job as Senate campaign manager, was joined by David Valesky of Syracuse, Diane Savino of Staten Island, and David Carlucci of the Hudson Valley. The four said said they can no longer support the present Democratic leadership of John Sampson.
“Senator Sampson has failed to move forward a legislative agenda, when he was majority conference leader that New Yorker’s care about,” said Klein. “Now in the minority, I don’t believe he’s going to be able to make compelling argument why Democrats should be returned to power.”
The Senators offered a scathing assessment of Democratic leadership, saying they overspent their own budget by more than $43 million, while cutting aid to schools and the needy.
Here’s more from the Times Union.
And here’s the TU’s bloggers’ take. And the takeaway:
“We’re a national laughing stock. Everybody recognizes that,” (Diane) Savino said. “We are going to turn Albany upside down.”
“This isn’t a power play,” Senator Jeff Klein, who represents Westchester and the Bronx, said. “This isn’t about the right price, it’s about the right thing.”
Clearly this is fallout from both the Dems’ loss of the Senate majority after two years of dysfunction and Klein’s demotion from the roll of campaign honcho for the conference. It also puts into sharp focus the racial and geographic divides that have split the Senate Dems — there’s long been a power struggle between the majority Black members and the Hispanic faction and the relatively small number of white, mostly suburban or upstate senators.