Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sampson Says He’ll Step Down If Dems Unite In Senate

Senate Minority Leader John Sampson said this morning at a rally of political leaders in New York City he would step down as leader of the Democratic conference if the party can unite in the majority.

Sampson, D-Brooklyn, made his comments at a rally organized in part by the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, is making a bid to bring the five-member Independent Democratic Conference back to the fold while removing himself publicly as an excuse or impediment to not reach a deal.
“This is bigger than me,” he said. “This bigger than my colleagues, because it is the people’s agenda. And brothers and sisters, I understand that. I will not be an impediment for us to get the majority. So I’m telling you, I’m going to work hard from now until the time we go into session to get us back the majority. And when we get back the majority… when we get back the majority, I will step down and not be a majority leader, understanding this is bigger than me.”
Eric Soufer, a spokesman for the IDC, wouldn’t comment this morning on Sampson’s statement.

Update: Klein released a statement late Saturday afternoon.

“I am committed to governing with all of those who are serious about advancing a legislative agenda that helps and serves all New Yorkers,” he said.

The IDC announced this week it would form a governing coalition with Senate Republicans that would allow both sides to share power in the chamber.

The Senate coalition faced criticism from minority groups that the agreement essentially concentrate power in the chamber in white lawmakers, shutting out the last vestige of black political leadership in state government (the IDC added a fifth member this week, Sen. Malcolm Smith, the former majority leader of the Senate and the first black leader of the chamber).

But the feelings from black lawmakers are raw.

Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson, a black lawmaker from Mount Vernon who said she’s interested in becoming Democratic leader of the Senate, said at the rally today that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desire for a “New Democratic Party” is one led by whites.


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