Friday, December 05, 2008

Leadership Win for Kruger

As Crain's Insider is reporting this morning (subscription only), State Senator Carl Kruger emerged from the leadership fight as a big winner:

Senate Majority Deal

"State Sen. Carl Kruger, D-Brooklyn, is the biggest winner in the majority leadership deal announced late yesterday. By enlisting Sen. Pedro Espada and Ruben Diaz Sr. in his gambit, Kruger gave himself leverage to win a plum spot heading the Senate’s Finance Committee. Without them, Kruger would have played a marginal role in a Democratic Senate because he had danced for so long with the Republicans. Kruger also maneuvered for rules changes allowing the committee chairs to move bills to the Senate floor, meaning the chairs will have real influence over legislation."

But all is not peaches and cream on every front. As Liz links for us, Western New York is feeling shortchanged: "Political peace in the State Senate cost upstate a major seat at Albany’s power table Thursday. Sen. William T. Stachowski, D-Lake View, was passed over in his bid for the chairmanship of the powerful Senate Finance Committee as Democrats prepare to take control of the chamber next month. Stachowski — mentioned as the likely committee chairman during his tough re-election battle this fall — saw the position go to Sen. Carl Kruger, D-Brooklyn, further consolidating New York City’s hold on the Legislature and statewide government offices."

Clearly, some big fence mending is gonna be needed-and Malcolm Smith needs to help smooth the ruffled feathers; as he does with the gay community(also via Liz): "The next step for marriage equality advocates is persuading the New York State Senate, where the new Democratic leadership is facing fractious members and difficult challenges. The Democrats have a bare majority, and three members are proving hard to satisfy. One of them, Reverend Ruben Diaz of the Bronx, is fervently religious and opposed to gay rights. Could his intransigence prevent a vote on marriage equality?"

And any bill, even if it does manage to reach the floor, will need to garner the requisite 32 votes: " The truth is that before there is a vote, a majority of the state senators must support one bill. Creating this bipartisan coalition will require intensive lobbying." The LGBT community will have to make its case. And greater democracy doesn't mean smooth sailing for any interest group-even in a more democratic legislature.