Balance of power shifts in the NY Legislature

NY Capitol News
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History was made last night all across New York, and we’re going to start to see some big changes in the New York Legislature next year.

When it comes to budget talks next year, gone will be the three men in a room. Last night’s victory for Senate Democrats means Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins will be the next Senate Majority Leader and the first African American woman to hold this position.

“It’s long overdue. It will bring a new dimension and a new degree of honesty and participation,” Senator Neil Breslin (D-Albany) said.

With results still trickling in, it’s starting to look like the Democrats picked up anywhere from seven to 10 seats in the Senate.

The big win for the Democrats was the downstate suburbs. For the last 20 years, no Democrat has won a state senate seat on Long Island during a midterm election year. And last night?

“It appears that the Democrats won six Senate seats on Long Island in a midterm election year,” Steven Greenberg, a Siena College Pollster, said.

 However, the Republicans were able to keep quite a few of their Upstate seats. For races like Senator Rich Funke from Rochester, the race was slightly tighter then he might have wanted.

“We’re in a state that is almost three-to-one Democratic so certainly when there is a heavy turn out you would expect it would be tougher on Republicans,” Senator Rich Funke (R-Rochester) said.

Senator Funke says that Republicans however are used to working across the aisle. Governor Cuomo is already talking about new changes, such as making the legislature full time, gun control bills and voting reform.

“It will make for an interesting beginning to the 2019 legislative session,” Greenberg said.

Also, 50 percent of registered voters cast a ballot on Tuesday. Four years ago only 36 percent voted in the gubernatorial election. This is the highest turnout for midterm elections in the last 20 years. It just shows how excited New Yorkers were to make their voices count this election season.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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