Skelos Out - Flanagan in as New Republican Senate Leader
By Robert Press
BRONX, NEW YORK, MAY 12- On January 22nd U.S. Attorney Pheet Bharara announced the arrest of New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on Corruption Charges. By the end of January Silver became former Speaker Silver as he stepped down after leading the state assembly as its speaker for over 20 years. This led to a new leader Assemblyman Carl Heastie who became the new speaker in a much different way from his battle to become the Bronx Democratic County Leader in 2008.
On April 17th I reported on my blog and in my next column of 100 PERCENT (in this newspaper) that State Senate Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam were being investigated by the U.S. Attorney's office. On May 4th the U.S. Attorney's office announced the arrest of State Senator Dean Skelos and his son Adam Skelos on Corruption Charges. Skelos vowed to continue on as Majority Leader of the state Senate despite the indictment of him and his son by the U.S. Attorney on corruption charges. However giving into pressure from Democrats as well as fellow Republican State Senators, Dean Skelos has stepped down as the State Senate Majority Leader.
Replacing Skelos as Majority Leader is fellow Republican State Senator John J. Flanagan, who was the Senate Education Chair. Flanagan has his private practice at the law firm of Forchelli, Curto, Deegan, Schwartz, Mineo & Terrana, saying that the job of majority leader will be a 24/7 job. Flanagan is confident that he has the support of his fellow Republican Conference members, and is probably going to make an even better offer to the IDC and State Senator Jeff Klein.
Klein in a statement said, "I offer my sincerest congratulations to Senator John Flanagan in his new role as Majority Leader. I look forward to a positive and productive six weeks ahead as we focus on the remaining legislative session and working together to improve the lives of all New Yorkers."
Albany has become a very different place since the beginning of this year. One problem that still looms over the head of State Senate Republicans is that State Senate Republican Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libus is under federal indictment awaiting his trial to begin soon. Libus is reported to be in poor health suffering from cancer, but is said to be continuing in his role as Deputy Majority Leader of the State Senate.
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