Bill Samuels Praises Newly Independent Democrats

bill samuels Bill Samuels Praises Newly Independent DemocratsThe New Roosevelt Initiative just sent out a press release from its founder, Bill Samuels, praising the four state Senate Democrats who broke with the party this morning to form their own independent caucus.

“New Roosevelt is supportive of efforts that seek to create a more functional state legislature and break from the partisan gridlock of the past,” said Samuels in the press release.

This is quite an indictment of the Democratic conference under Minority Leader John Sampson, since Samuels was one of the primary forces behind electing a Democratic majority in 2008. He served as finance chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee that year, and sunk considerable amounts of his own money into re-capturing the Senate.

But Samuels was adamantly against the party’s decision to welcome former state Senator Pedro Espada Jr. back to the Democratic fold, after he switched to the Republican caucus in the summer of 2009. This cycle, Samuels dedicated most of his time and energy–not to keeping the Democratic majority–but purging it of Espada, which he succeeded in doing with the primary win of Gustavo Rivera.

“[T]he current Democratic leadership in Albany must face the fact that they had an opportunity to pass a reform agenda while controlling the State Senate, Assembly and the Governor’s mansion and almost nothing got done. In November voters responded accordingly.”

Here is the full release:

STATEMENT BY BILL SAMUELS, FOUNDER, NEW ROOSEVELT INITIATIVE ON FORMATION OF AN INDEPENDENT DEMOCRATIC CONFERENCE

New York, NY – We applaud today’s announcement by State Senators Jeffrey D. Klein, (D-Bronx/ Westchester), Diane Savino, (D-Staten Island/ Brooklyn), David J. Valesky, (D-Oneida) and David Carlucci, (D-Rockland) to not adhere to the broken model of partisan politics in Albany and form an Independent Democratic Conference.

New Roosevelt is supportive of efforts that seek to create a more functional state legislature and break from the partisan gridlock of the past.

As the Finance Chair for the Democratic State Senate Campaign Committee in 2008, I was one of many in the party who worked hard to regain control of the State Senate for the first time in nearly three decades, and expected that reforms would be passed.

That being said, the current Democratic leadership in Albany must face the fact that they had an opportunity to pass a reform agenda while controlling the State Senate, Assembly and the Governor’s mansion and almost nothing got done. In November voters responded accordingly.

Until Democrats and Republican in Albany demonstrate tangible results on reform issues neither party will gain the confidence of the voters.