ALBANY, N.Y. --With the recent indictment of New York politicians like Senator Malcolm Smith and Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, many wonder, can they trust state lawmakers?
According to the latest Siena poll, most New Yorkers aren't so sure.
The governor and legislative leaders have spent the last two years highlighting how Albany is finally working again with key legislation often being passed along with three on time budgets. Still, the recent corruption scandals have left voters questioning that.
The latest Siena poll revealed a whopping 81 percent say more legislators will be arrested, one-third report that their own representative could be implicated.
Siena pollster Steve Greenberg explains the numbers.
"We do a random sample of more than 800 registered voters and our sample looks like the New York electorate both in terms of geography, bipartisan break up, gender, age, income etc. so we do it very carefully to ensure we get a representative sample," said Greenberg. "Voters don't feel really strongly about that legislature and don't have great confidence in them right now."
As for how to combat the problem, voters were split between law enforcement reforms or the electoral process. There was support for term limits, limiting candidates to one party line, and making these legislators full time -- meaning no outside jobs.
Others like Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill argue public financing of campaigns is the answer. On Monday she came to the Capitol to share her thoughts on the matter.
"If you look at the Connecticut experience, it was exactly the same situation as you have right here in New York right now," said Merrill.
"In any organization you're going to find that there
are a few rotten apples serving our fellow citizens. I think it is a noble
profession and it saddens me when there are members that would violate the
public trust," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Republican Assemblyman Tony Jordan agreed.
"You'll always find people who may arrive for the
right reasons or come for the wrong reasons and then do things that are
contrary to the oath taken," said Jordan.
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