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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • O’Mara: Deal with IDC helps upstate

  • State Sen. Tom O’Mara, R-Big Flats, thinks upstate New York will benefit from a coalition of four Democratic senators who plan to caucus with the Republicans, giving the GOP control of the Senate.??

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  • State Sen. Tom O’Mara, R-Big Flats, thinks upstate New York will benefit from a coalition of four Democratic senators who plan to caucus with the Republicans, giving the GOP control of the Senate.??
    Just weeks after Democrats seemed to have won control of the chamber, State Sen. Jeff Klein, D-Bronx, said the Independent Democratic Conference that he leads is planning to negotiate a power-sharing agreement with Senate Republicans.??
    “The biggest interest I have in this whole thing is looking out for the interest of upstate,” O’Mara said Friday, Nov. 30. “When the Democrats had the majority two years ago, upstate got no attention whatsoever. I’m concerned of it reverting back to that should the Democrats take the majority of the senate.”??
    Klein formed his Independent Democratic Conference in January 2011. The other three members are Sen. David Carlucci of Rockland County, Sen. Diane Savino of Staten Island and Sen. David Valesky of Syracuse.??
    The IDC was formed after Republicans grabbed Senate control in the 2010 election. The IDC members all received committee chairmanships from the Senate Republicans at the time.??
    Hornell Mayor Shawn Hogan, the Steuben County Democratic Committee chair, called the potential move a “power play.” “It’s like the four amigos,” Hogan said. “I think they should stop worrying about who is going to be in power in the Senate and empower the people. Work for the benefit of the people in this state instead of worrying about who is in charge or who is going to get the financial perks.”??
    The move comes after ??election results showed Democrats with 32 seats in the 63-member Senate, with one race still outstanding.??
    “The Republican Party leadership is in communication with the IDC to foster this working relationship,” O’Mara said. “The IDC has worked well with us over the past two years. Hopefully we can retain that good working relationship and look out for the best interest of upstate.”??
    O’Mara said he doesn’t believe an agreement will be reached between the Republican Party and the IDC until the Senate is back in session in early January.??
    Klein recently outlined a system in which the leaders of the Republican caucus and the Independent Democratic Conference would work together to run the Senate, with joint control over committee agendas, the bills that are taken up on the floor and state budget negotiations. Republicans have controlled the New York Senate continuously since the 1960s with the exception of Democratic control in 2009 and 2010. Democratic control was marked by the 2009 Senate coup which briefly gave control back to Republicans who joined with several renegade Democrats. The apparent Democratic victory on Election Day was touted nationally as part of Democratic state legislative gains. ??
    • Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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