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Monday, September 22, 2014

Klein forms coalition with Republicans

(Page 2 of 4)
By Adam Wisnieski
Posted
MARISOL DÍAZ/THE RIVERDALE PRESS
State Sen. Jeff Klein was tight-lipped about how he would divvy up his newfound power when he spoke to ‘The Riverdale Press’ at a job fair last month.

It is unclear why Mr. Klein, a registered Democrat, decided not to form a coalition government with Senate Democrats. If Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk pulls out a win in the still-too-close-to-call race in District 46, near Albany, Mr. Klein would have had the option of forming this power-sharing coalition with Democrats. But he has been vocal about his disdain for state Sen. John Sampson, the current Senate Democrat minority leader.

Last week, the Ben Franklin Reform Democratic Club passed a motion urging Mr. Klein to vote for a Democratic Senate majority leader. When seeking the club’s endorsement in May, Mr. Klein told its members that he would not vote for a Republican Senate Majority Leader, but that he also would not vote for “any old Democrat.”

Many Ben Franklin Club members interviewed last week said that Mr. Klein was going back on his word if the IDC and GOP formed a majority coalition. In May, he was careful to say that he would not vote for a Republican Senate Majority Leader. He didn’t, but he did empower Republicans, which many in the club said still violates the spirit of his statement. 

“It’s contrary to the commitment that he made to us at that time,” Ben Franklin Club member Paul Ellis said. “Having a Democratic majority in the Senate is essential in achieving goals which the Democrats hold dear.”

To get around a constitutional requirement to have a Temporary President of the Senate — a post usually filled by the majority leader — Mr. Klein and Mr. Skelos will alternately hold the title every two weeks. 

 “Today’s agreement marks a bold new chapter in this partnership that will allow the Senate to continue pushing New York State forward, while ensuring that there will be no returning to the failed leadership of the past,” according to the joint release. 

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