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Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Citizens Union
 

State Senate

State Senate

  • Flanagan and co

    Senate Leader Flanagan & other GOP Senators (photo via NYS Senate)


    Whether it’s at the state or federal level, recent history has demonstrated that when one party controls government, checks and balances go out the window. Recent history has some important lessons as we approach this year’s crucial elections.

    In 2008 Democrats took control of Congress and along with the election of President Barack Obama, controlled the executive and legislative branches in Washington. In Albany, for the first time since 1964, Democrats gained a

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  • NYC BOE photo voting machines cropped

    (photo via NYC Board of Elections)


    New York City residents are represented in the state Legislature by a total of 91 seats, 26 in the state Senate and 65 in the state Assembly. Among them, 60 are held by incumbents who were uncontested in their party primary elections that took place Tuesday, September 13.

    In these just-completed primaries, 66 percent -- or about two-thirds -- of the city’s state legislative seats saw no intra-party competition. Twenty-four New York City-based

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  • ASC and other Sen Dems

    Sen. Stewart-Cousins and fellow Senate Democrats (photo: @AndreaSCousins)


    This November millions of New Yorkers will head to the polls on Election Day. While our state legislative races receive far less media attention than the Presidential race, they are still critically important. Today, much of the dysfunction in our state, and our government’s failure to address the real needs of working people, young and old, is a direct result of continued Republican control of the State Senate.

    Now that the primaries are over, it is essential

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  • Marisol Alcantara winner Lis Smith photo

    Marisol Alcantara and company celebrate (photo by Lis Smith on Twitter)


    On New York’s third primary night of this election year, state legislative races in New York City were almost all Democratic and many incumbents did not face intra-party challenges.

    In several state Senate and Assembly races across the city, Democratic primary winners were selected in fairly low voter turnout affairs and most will easily cruise to election in November - some won’t even have

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  • alcantara diaz jr

    State Senate candidate Marisol Alcantara & BX BP Diaz Jr. (photo: @NYAlcantara31)


    With state legislative party primaries rapidly approaching, there are several races New Yorkers should keep a close eye on, both in the city and across the state, including some that could play key roles in deciding majority power in the state Senate, which is currently under Republican leadership.

    The September 13 vote in some races, especially in Democrat-heavy New York City, will likely determine the winner in November. Still other races have little

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  • Espaillat Alcantara

    Espaillat, center, & Alcantara, right of center (photo: @Espaillat4NY)


    Marisol Alcantara, a labor organizer who ran a successful insurgent campaign for district leader in 2010, is seen by many in her Uptown district as a liberal firebrand. As Alcantara now pursues election to the New York State Senate, she is also fighting a proxy war for Senator Adriano Espaillat, who is about to be elected to Congress and Alcantara hopes to replace. The hotly contested Democratic primary for Espaillat’s Senate seat is becoming a test of his power and that

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  • Trump NY GOP

    photo: @NewYorkGOP


    New York State Senate Democrats have picked up seats in every presidential year in the past two decades. They’ve been chomping at the bit for Hillary Clinton, a former New York Senator, to head the presidential ticket, telling anyone who would listen that she would bolster turnout for them and win them swing districts, thereby securing them control of the chamber, perhaps for good.

    What the Senate minority didn’t count on was the Republican presidential candidate being toxic to black and Hispanic voters and alienating a

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  • John Nilson

    Sen. Jeff Klein (photo: John Nilsen/Governor's Office)


    The five-member Independent Democratic Conference was under siege. Mainstream Democrats, liberal activists, and the Working Families Party were out to punish IDC members for having empowered Senate Republicans and for preventing a progressive agenda from advancing in the New York State Senate. In 2014, the groups fielded candidates to challenge Bronx Senator Jeff Klein, head of the IDC, and newly-minted IDC member Tony Avella, senator of Queens, in party primaries. It began as an aggressive attempt to oust two of the five members of the IDC,

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  •  riveraflyer2 1


    A super PAC has started to blanket the 33rd Senate District in the Bronx with mailers attacking incumbent Democratic state Senator Gustavo Rivera and praising his challenger, Democratic City Council Member Fernando Cabrera. A flyer sent to voters last week praises Cabrera for standing up for family values and for knowing that “single women, mothers and our wives need protection.”

    Flyers sent this week accuse Rivera of “Playing Us For Fools” and excerpts heavily from the June 21 New York Times editorial, “...

  • flanagan

    Senate Majority Leader Flanagan, second from right (photo via Facebook)


    New York State Senate Republicans are headed into a fight for their survival, dealing with the departure of veteran lawmakers, top staff, and one rising star.

    The impending fall elections for all 63 Senate seats will test control of the chamber by Senate Republicans, the party’s only check on Democratic strongholds in the state

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  • NYRenews3


    A major shift in the climate debate is taking place across New York and a new front in the discussion is emerging. No longer faraway images of drowning polar bears and epic glacial melt, climate change has moved into our own backyards, devastating our local neighborhoods. And no one knows this better than New York’s working families.

    Extreme weather destroys upstate farmers’ crops and keeps hourly employees from getting to work. Air pollution exacerbates chronic health conditions, triggering asthma attacks and other health problems, such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

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    City Council Member Cabrera (photo: William Alatriste)

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  • de blasio albany testimony state senate

    De Blasio testifies in Albany, May 4 (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    In 2009, then rank-and-file Assembly Member Carl Heastie was the lead sponsor of a bill designed to weaken then Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ability to determine education policy in New York City. Seven years later, Assembly Speaker Heastie is thought to be Mayor Bill de Blasio’s greatest ally in the fight to renew the system of mayoral control of city schools as is.

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  • de blasio business leaders buery farina

    De Blasio at City Hall on Wednesday (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    Just one day after Mayor Bill de Blasio appeared at City Hall with a bevy of business leaders to push for extending mayoral control of New York City schools, the state Senate education committee held its second hearing on the issue right across the street. Administration officials, education professionals and advocates testified to make their case for and against mayoral control (mostly for) as state Senators demanded answers on a wide range of educational

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  • de blasio farina state senate

    De Blasio testifying in Albany (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    It was supposed to be the grilling to end all grillings: Mayor Bill de Blasio seated at a small table, staring up at glowering Republican state Senators carrying major grudges for his work to oust them from power in the 2014 elections, all carrying the fate of his ability to enact education policy in the palm of their hands. That wasn’t what took place.

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  • de blasio heastie albany

    De Blasio & Heastie (Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio didn't need to see the Assembly and Senate one-house budgets to know where he stands with each chamber - Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is a close ally of the mayor, his fellow New York City Democrat, while Senate Republicans hold a major grudge against de Blasio for leading a failed effort to boot them from the majority two years ago. Most Republican legislators, who control the Senate but not the Assembly, are also philosophically opposed to much of de Blasio's

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  • mcgrath senate

    Chris McGrath, Republican candidate for state Senate (photo: @McGrath4Senate) 


    Both groups are accustomed to scrapping for power and attention. With two recent federal corruption convictions, each saw an opportunity to grab more. And now, in downtown Manhattan and Nassau County Long Island, Republicans and Democrats are running parallel campaigns to seize upon a chance to flip one seat in each of the two houses of the New York State Legislature. 

    Assembly Republicans and Senate Democrats again find themselves in similar

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  • de blasio minimum wage announcement crowd

    Mayor de Blasio at his recent minimum wage announcement (photo: Michael Appleton)


    Early this month, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a guaranteed $15 minimum wage for all city government employees by the end of 2018. This is a big win for over 50,000 workers across the city struggling to provide for their families.

    Unlike in Seattle and Los Angeles, where city officials are empowered to raise the minimum wage for the entire workforce in their cities, Mayor de

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  • bdb voting

    Mayor de Blasio votes (photo via @BilldeBlasio) 


    As New Yorkers begin a year of many voting opportunities, there are important questions that elections will help answer - like who the next U.S. President will be and which party will control the state Senate - but also concern about voter fatigue and thus, turnout.

    There will be at least four chances for New Yorkers to cast votes in 2016, with three different primary election days leading up to November’s general election. There will be a presidential primary vote in April;

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  • sheldon silver conviction

    Sheldon Silver in 2012 (photo via the Governor's Office)


    Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, thought to be the most powerful man in New York state government for decades, was found guilty Monday on seven counts of corruption in multiple schemes to monetize the power of his office. During the trial Silver's own defense attorney insisted that Albany itself was on trial and claimed that Silver's behavior was business as usual in Albany,

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  • AG

    AG Schneiderman (photo via AG's flickr account)


    Scandal fatigue hit Attorney General Eric Schneiderman differently than it hit Governor Andrew Cuomo and leaders of the state legislature.

    Conventional wisdom is that the arrest and indictment of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver earlier this year sent shockwaves through Albany. And yet as far as ethics reforms go, the result of the indictment of the man many saw as the most powerful man in "the room," a man who controlled the Assembly for over two decades, was

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