Keith Wright, Syracuse Mayor Named New Chairs Of State Dems

Harlem Assemblyman Keith Wright and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner have been asked by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to take over as co-chairs of the State Democratic Party.

“Mayor Miner and Assemblyman Wright are outstanding leaders both for our party and our state,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement. “They have been dedicated community leaders and champions of the key missions of the Democratic Party. I thank them for agreeing to serve in these critical positions and look forward to working with them in their new roles.”

The duo will replace Jay Jacobs as chairman. Mr. Jacobs, who doubles as head of the Nassau County Democratic Party, was picked by Gov. David Paterson over the objections of Mr. Cuomo.

Picking two chairs–an upstater and a downstater–returns the state party to the same arrangement it had under Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

There had been much speculation in Democratic circles about who Mr. Cuomo would name to the party posts. According to several theories I heard, Mr. Cuomo was either likely to go with someone like Mr. Jacobs–an outsider to his inner circle who would keep the lights on at party headquarters and help Democrats in local races–or pick someone from his inner circle who could use the state party to boost Mr. Cuomo’s prospects for a national run.

Mr. Wright has called Mr. Cuomo “one of the most engaged governors I’ve ever seen,” but has also pushed Mr. Cuomo from the left, working for example, for a higher minimum wage.  Mayor Miner, meanwhile, has been more in the moderate mold of Mr. Cuomo, signing onto his pension reform and property tax cap initiatives.

The rest of the release is below:

NY State Democratic Chair Jay Jacobs said: “Stephanie Miner and Keith Wright are tremendous choices to lead New York Democrats into the future. They are tireless, experienced public officials and active Democrats who have served their local communities and the state with distinction. They will bring the same energy to this new role, supporting Governor Cuomo’s plan for the future of our great State and building our Democratic Party.

Jacobs added: “I expect to turn the Chairman’s gavel over to both of them with full confidence that they will continue the good work we have done over the last few years supporting our elected leaders and candidates at all levels of government in the State.

New York Senator Charles Schumer said: “Mayor Stephanie Miner and Assemblyman Keith Wright are winners and a fantastic one-two combo for the Democratic Party of New York. They will make a great team, and I am confident they will carry forward the great work done by their predecessor, Jay Jacobs, in building the Party’s grassroots, communications capabilities and quality of candidates.”

New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said:  “I can’t think of two better individuals to represent the state Democratic Party than my colleague, Assemblyman Keith Wright, and Syracuse City Mayor Stephanie Miner. They are both outstanding public servants who have unparalleled track records in representing their constituents, and now they will bring their talents to a State Democratic Party that has a long and proud history of leading the country in promoting progressive ideals. I have worked with Keith throughout his 20 year career in the State Assembly and have always admired his strong work ethic and commitment to bettering the lives of those less fortunate. As a Syracuse Common Councilor and now as Mayor, Stephanie Miner has been a strong voice for upstate New York and has been a tireless leader in helping to improve the economic future of Syracuse. As co-chairs, Keith Wright and Stephanie Miner, along with the leadership of Governor Cuomo, will lead the New York State Democratic Party to a bright future.”

Both new chairs will be formally presented for election at the currently scheduled June 5th meeting of the State Committee.  Additionally, an amendment to the by-laws shall be proposed at this week’s State Committee meeting in Albany in order to formally allow for these two co-chairs to serve.

If elected, the new chairs will officially assume their positions on June 5th.


Keith Wright, Syracuse Mayor Named New Chairs Of State Dems