ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Control of the New York state Senate might soon switch hands.
Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) said Wednesday that his four-member Independent Democratic Conference will work to form a new coalition with traditional Democrats in the Senate after the fall elections.
Klein’s group broke away from mainline Democrats and two years ago joined Senate Republicans to take control of the Senate away from Democrats.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had pressured the breakaway Democrats to return.
“I applaud the IDC’s decision,” Cuomo said in a statement. “There is no doubt that we have accomplished much for the state over the past four years. We have transformed the state government from dysfunctional to highly functional, a deficit to a surplus, and losing jobs to gaining jobs. There is also no doubt there are progressive goals that we have yet to achieve and that we must accomplish next January.”
In a joint statement with Cuomo, Klein said the Independent Democratic Conference has “served as a strong, stabilizing, sensible force for governing in New York State for four years,” and credited the group with helping pass a number of measures including four on-time budgets, gun control laws, same-sex marriage, universal pre-kindergarten and most recently, medical marijuana.
But Klein said other business remains unfinished and requires the independent conference to rejoin with the rest of the Democrats.
“As Democrats, the IDC remains committed to the fight for an equal education for all New York students – which the Dream Act would provide, protecting a woman’s right to choose, increasing workers’ wages, and enacting meaningful campaign finance reform,” he wrote. “I agree with Governor Cuomo that these are progressive priorities we must pass.”
Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) also applauded the move.
“The Senate Democratic Conference has long advocated unity among all Democrats so we can better achieve the progressive agenda that New Yorkers demand and we look forward to working with any Senators that share those values,” Stewart-Cousins said in a statement.
But Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) dismissed Klein’s announcement as a political move forced on him by liberals who want to take over the Senate.
Democrats already control the state Assembly.
You May Also Be Interested In These Stories
- Dangerous Chemical Found In Westhampton Ground Water
- Islamic State Attack On Afghan Protest Kills At Least 80, Wounds 231
- Report: Bronx Restaurant Owner Shot After Refusing Service To Drunk Customer
- People Lined Up For Cronuts Appear Unfazed By Corpse On Nearby Bench
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)