The New York Times reports that last night, Sheldon Silver, the Democratic Speaker of the New York State Assembly from the Lower East Side who was recently arrested on corruption charges for raking in millions of dollars in shady money, said he will not resign from his seat as a lawmakers despite mounting pressure, before uttering, “I will not hinder a succession process.” The procedure to find a new speaker is already in full-swing as Democrats in Albany met yesterday to discuss possible successors. Elections are to be held on February 10th, less than two weeks from today. And with the budget deadline set for April 1st, things in Albany are getting just slightly more insane than usual.
Starting Monday, Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle will sit as interim speaker until a Silver’s successor is elected. The Post reports that “a half-dozen names of possible replacements” have been thrown into the ring and State of Politics called the race “wide open,” at least for now. Needless to say, the big question of what the hell is going on in Albany and how this will influence the coming legislative cycle is on the minds of many leaders. Among them is Mayor de Blasio, who said that it’s “been tough enough” pushing the administration’s policies with Silver, a local, and that dealing with “an outsider,” might prove even more difficult.
The Post provided a list of possible candidates including one representative from Brooklyn, Assembly Member Joseph R. Lentol of District 50, which includes parts of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Lentol has publicly said that he would run.
But don’t get too excited. Of course voters will not be allowed to vote in the election. What, did you think we have a totally direct democracy? Silly! Rather, the Democratic Party which holds a majority of the Assembly seats in Albany will elect the speaker. Still, we highly recommend you stay tuned as politicians are going to be either scrambling to throw their hats in the ring or run as far away from the position as possible–as Assembly Member Richard M. Gottfried of Manhattan told the Times, “I will not be supporting me.”