Political Courage in Albany

As Governor Andrew Cuomo is about to find out, it takes guts to break the mold in Albany. That’s why a recent move by four Democratic state senators deserves admiration and congratulations.

Last week state senators Jeffrey D. Klein of the Bronx, Diane Savino of Staten Island, David Carlucci of Rockland County and David Valesky of upstate Oneida County announced the formation of their own mini-caucus in the Legislature’s upper house. That means they have seceded from the Democratic Senate conference, led by the discredited John Sampson of Brooklyn.

Senator Sampson and his colleagues presided over an ethical circus from 2008 to last year. Mr. Sampson and others were connected to those who sought to wire a lucrative contract to convert Aqueduct racetrack to a so-called “racino.” The Democratic caucus empowered people like Hiram Monserrate and Pedro Espada Jr. to assume powerful posts-and both became instant scandals, bringing disgrace and embarrassment to an institution not known for its sense of shame.

The Senate changed hands in November earlier this month when Republicans reasserted their control of the body. That change was not accompanied by a shake-up of the Democratic leadership in the Senate. Mr. Sampson is now the Senate’s minority leader.

The four rebel senators decided that they have had enough of their colleagues’ antics. They will vote independently, not subject to Mr. Sampson’s dictates. They promise that their actions will bring change to Albany.

It’s a small start. But it’s a start all the same.



Political Courage in Albany