Suffolk County Sen. John Flanagan Quickly Takes His Place


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — State Senate Leader Dean Skelos has stepped down from his leadership post Monday following his arrest on corruption charges, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reports.

He was quickly replaced by another Long Island lawmaker, Suffolk County Sen. John Flanagan.

Skelos released a statement late Monday afternoon, listing “significant victories” from his term as leader of state senate Republicans, and saying he has “always endeavored to do what I thought was right for this state, for my constituents and for the men and women of the Senate Republican Conference.”

In the statement, he said the past seven days have taken a “tremendous toll” on his family, and complained that a news photographer came to his son’s backyard and brought about a “disruption that caused my 2-year-old grandson to fall and split his lip open.”

“This scrutiny was more real and more eye-opening than I could have ever imagined when I asked the members of our conference to stand by me last week. With that in mind, I have decided to step down as Temporary President and Majority Leader of the New York State Senate,” Skelos said in the statement.

“In addition, the last thing I would ever want to do is distract from the good work that Senate Republicans have done or make it more difficult to close down this legislative session in a positive and productive way,” he said in the statement. “This is a difficult decision for me personally, but I know it is the right one. I deeply love this institution and admire each and every one of my colleagues for the choice they made to enter public service so they could make a difference in the lives of hardworking New York taxpayers and their families.”

Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) has led the Senate on and off since 2008.

Meanwhile, Flanagan (R-East Northport) will take Skelos’ place as Senate majority leader, WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reported.

Flanagan emerged as Skelos’ replacement after a three-hour closed-door meeting of Senate Republicans. Sen. John DeFrancisco, who had also contended for the top position, was at Flanagan’s side as he announced his victory.

“We come out of this unified,” said Flanagan, 54, a 29-year legislative veteran who had led the Senate education committee. “There is a lot of work that needs to get finished.”

In the formal Senate vote, Flanagan was elected leader with 33 ayes. The 63-member chamber has 32 Republicans; in a symbolic move, the chamber’s Democrats nominated Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins to be leader.

Skelos, 67, and his son, Adam, 32, surrendered last week to face charges that include extortion and soliciting bribes amid a federal investigation into the awarding of a $12 million contract to a company that hired his son.

Skelos and his son have said they are innocent.

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