Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Albany Press Corps Erupts Vs. Stonewalling Senate Dems

GayCityNews - Albany Press Corps Erupts Vs. Stonewalling Senate Dems

Albany Press Corps Erupts Vs. Stonewalling Senate Dems
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Malcolm Smith, the Queens Democrat who hopes to become the leader of the New York State Senate next month.
Four days after would-be State Senate Leader Malcolm Smith, a Queens Democrat, is said to have brokered a deal with three rogue Democratic senators who threatened to stand in the way of his party gaining control of the Legislature's upper chamber, Smith remained unable or unwilling to explain what that bargain entails.

In a December 8 press briefing held to announce that Buffalo-area Senator Bill Stachowski would become the deputy majority leader and Albany-area Senator Neil Breslin the chair of the Insurance Committee, Smith, who is set to assume the senior Senate post of president pro tempore, took no questions, but instead abruptly departed for another meeting. Stachowski was left in front of reporters unable to confirm whether he would in fact be deputy to Bronx Senator-elect Pedro Espada, Jr. The NYSNYS News Service captured the incredible scene:

Video of the Democratic State Senate Leadership Announcement Malcolm Smith Abruptly Departed

As part of the deal Smith reportedly struck with Espada and his two fellow "Gang of Three" rebels, Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr., a Bronx Pentecostal minister who has long been a fierce foe of gay rights, has said he received assurances that the Democrats would not bring a marriage equality bill to the Senate floor.

No senators would speak on the record on December 8 about a meeting that Smith held in Manhattan two days earlier with some of his Democratic Senate colleagues, but one Senate Democrat, speaking off the record, told Gay City News of having heard nothing to date that a marriage equality bill was off the table.

Smith returned to the press room in the Capitol later in the day Monday, but offered no further details on what the Gang of Three won themselves last week.

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