A Southern Tier Republican practices doublespeak

This article was submitted to the New NY 23rd by a concerned resident of Assemblyman Friend’s assembly district.

As history was made last week in the election of the first African American Speaker of the New York State Assembly Carl Heastie, and Sheldon Silver quickly retreated from the cameras. One by one challengers stepped down until the only viable candidate was Mr. Heastie himself.

Many pundits and strategists thought the race for the speakership was locked in between Democratic legislators from the five boroughs.

However while all that was going on Upstate and Southern Tier Republicans were plotting to get a piece of the corrupt pie that has become of the speakers race.

Assemblyman Steven Mclaughlin R-Rensselaer made a public proposition to line up the Republican conference in the State Assembly in favor of his preferred candidate Assemblyman Joe Morelle D-Rochester.

Stating to Politics on the Hudson that he could line up Republican votes behind Morelle, the assemblyman also made the argument that Morelle could “work in a bi-partisan way,”

In his interview the onetime Republican gubernatorial candidate said that he could work to line up Republican votes for Morelle.

“I would assume 44 of us could get behind Joe Morelle, for example, and then combine that up with 32 Democratic votes and that would work for me.” Mclaughlin stated while laughing.

Chris FriendCuriously enough the only other Republican assemblyman to be quoted in the same article is Chris Friend R-Big Flats offered to subvert what should be and was an open and democratic process.

Chris Friend represents Assembly District 124 encompassing the Town of Maine in Broome County; the City of Elmira; the towns of Ashland, Baldwin, Big Flats, Chemung, Elmira, Horseheads, Southport, and the villages of Elmira Heights, Horseheads, and Wellsburg in Chemung County; and all of Tioga County.

Curiously enough this same Assemblyman has not been challenged in a primary or general election since he entered the assembly in 2010.

Friend stated his support for the idea of cutting a deal with majority leader Morelle because he thought it would “unite the house.”

The same Chris Friend who spoke in support of cutting a deal to install a speaker of his choice and subvert the votes of the Democratic majority, blasted what he perceived as the same deal making that he stated he had seen in the Democratic majority caucus.

In a statement put out on January 22nd Friend stated “Speaker Sheldon Silver has used his position to benefit himself, his political allies, and chosen colleagues.”

Yet this same politician indicated support to an attempt to subvert the Assembly Democratic majority conference and fix the speakership position with a candidate of his choosing.

We all agree that Speaker Silver should step down. But no politician should be talking about morality and ethics, while they try to cut deals in the political backroom.

It’s a shame that the only way some in the Republican minority believe they can contribute is by subverting democracy.

Democratic leaders including majority leader Morelle were smarter and chose to let the Democratic process of electing the speaker take place.

The result was that the first African American speaker in the state’s history.

Even when these elected officials offer to sell their votes for an office that is among the most powerful in the state. Democrats shrug and say no.

The effectiveness of the Republican minority was shown in how they weren’t even considered real players in the speaker’s race. The lack of professionalism and political skills has effectively sidelined these politicians.

The fact that those who kept talking about reform attempted to overtake the democratic process shows that these same politicians who talk about reform practice doublespeak.

Then again being in the Republican minority in the New York State Assembly is like getting a participation medal in government which is ironically a very liberal thing.

About pystew

Retired Teacher, political science geek, village trustee. I lean a little left, but like a good political discussion. My blog, the New NY 23rd (http://newny23rd) is about discussing the issues facing the people of our new congressional district. Let's hear all sides of the issues, not just what the candidates want us to hear.
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14 Responses to A Southern Tier Republican practices doublespeak

  1. Assemblyman Friend’s mentors are Tom Reed, Tom O’Mara, Tom Santuilli and George Winner. The two counties he represents are heavily GOP.


  2. BOB McGILL says:

    from an un-named source ? FIGURES 🙂


  3. Anne says:

    Got a point, Bob?


  4. Anne says:

    New York has historically had corruption levels of epic proportions. For instance, this NYPIRG report alone details in excess of 103K instances of campaign finance violations just over the course of two years. And that’s just through one narrow prism, one little slice of how to look at the issue. I really think that, at least with the legislative branches of state and federal governments, we’d do well to pick the players the way we pick juries–lottery, basically, and everyone gets to serve a term. We’d do just as well picking names at random out of a phone book as we do with voting them in.


  5. Anne says:


  6. whungerford says:

    I think of Chris Friend as the invisible Assemblyman. He must be bored in Albany, with little to do but go out for lunch. His facebook page is amusing; take a look. One wonders if he knows he has it. One good thing about Chris–I don’t believe he has a second job.


  7. whungerford says:

    Reed, Santulli, O’Mara and Friend


  8. whungerford says:

    Another rogue’s gallery


  9. Ken says:

    Just a point of information: Friend doesn’t represent All of Chemung county, contrary to what the writer said. Some of us out here in Erin and I believe VanEtten are in Palmesano’s district. And last time I checked Erin is still in Chemung county.


  10. pystew says:

    Ken, Thanks for the tip. You are correct, and the article will be revised His district includes the Town of Maine in Broome County; the City of Elmira; the towns of Ashland, Baldwin, Big Flats, Chemung, Elmira, Horseheads, Southport, and the villages of Elmira Heights, Horseheads, and Wellsburg in Chemung County; and all of Tioga County.


  11. BOB McGILL says:

    didn’t they call Hilary ” invisible ” ? 🙂


  12. BOB McGILL says:

    don’t look too closely you will find a lot of inacuracy in almost everything


  13. pystew says:

    They call Hillary anything and every thing. 🙂


  14. whungerford says:

    Bob likes to complain, but keeps reading. Perhaps someday he will learn something worth knowing. He never is able to explain what he finds wrong.


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