Main | Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Malcolm Smith Elected Majority Leader Of New York Senate

One of the most contentious, embarrassing, and ridiculous sagas in the history of the New York Democratic party (and that's saying something) is over.
Democrats have taken control of New York's Senate for the first time in 43 years after whittling away the Republicans' last stronghold in state government over the last decade and then fending off a challenge from within their own party. Hours after the Democrats shored up a 32-30 majority won in the November elections, they chose Sen. Malcolm Smith of Queens as their majority leader on Wednesday. The action gave Democrats control of the Senate, Assembly and governor's office for the first time since the 1930s. Former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a Long Island Republican, is expected to be the minority leader.
After all the anti-gay bullshit from the Gang of Three, the dissident dumbos supported Smith in return for leadership concessions much smaller than they originally demanded.

The Empire State Pride Agenda responds to Smith's election:
LGBT New Yorkers and our allies should be proud today. We now not only have a Senate Majority Leader who supports our issues, but one that has stated a number of times that he will help us find the support needed to pass crucial bills like marriage equality, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act and the Dignity for All Students Act. We should also be proud that our community helped to make this happen by working hard during the November 4 elections to replace two anti-LGBT State Senators with two new, pro-LGBT State Senators.

Our community now has more work to do. Today we know that we have supportive leadership, but we also know that we do not yet have the votes that we need to pass some of our most important bills. In the months to come, join us as we work in districts across the state to build the support that will allow us to bring these bills to the Senate floor to be passed. It will take hard work—none of our victories have ever been easy—but together we can do it.
Jeff Campagna, leader of the Facebook-based group, The Power, who campaigned vigorously against the Gang of Three in support of Malcolm Smith, reacts:
I congratulate Malcolm Smith on his election as Senate Majority Leader after forty years of Republican control of that chamber. The people of New York can be proud that they came together and sent a clear message to our elected leaders that they will not tolerate the use of the LGBT civil rights as a political bargaining chip. The Democrats are to be commended for hearing that message. Malcolm Smith's election means that LGBT people have a chance to achieve marriage equality, where under the Republicans we had none. That said, if the last two months have taught us anything, it's that even within the Democratic Party, there are enemies of equality and others who have yet to join our cause. So this is just the beginning of our fight. We must continue to organize and speak out. But have no doubt, we will prevail.

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