When State Senate IDC & Co-Leader Jeff Klein received the endorsement of Riverdale Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Councilman Andrew Cohen, and other prominent Riverdale Democratic party officials on Friday May 17th I asked Senator Klein if the IDC is going to rejoin with the Senate Democratic Conference. Senator Klein was very vague in his answer saying that we would have to wait until after the election for an answer. One of Senator Klein's aides wanted to know why I asked that question, and here is the reason.
Today a joint statement from Senator Jeff Klein and Governor Andrew Coumo reads that the IDC is indeed going to rejoin with the Senate Democratic Conference after the November election.
JOINT STATEMENTS FROM GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO AND SENATOR JEFFREY D. KLEIN
Senator Jeffrey D. Klein said, “The Independent Democratic Conference has served as a strong, stabilizing, sensible force for governing in New York State for four years. Under a first-of-its kind bipartisan, coalition government the IDC ushered in a functioning New York State Senate and delivered unprecedented results for working families, including four consecutive on-time budgets, passing the toughest gun control laws in the nation, marriage equality, an increase to the minimum wage, universal pre-k for thousands of toddlers and the safe, regulated use of medical marijuana.
“Yet as we reflect on these past achievements, it is also clear that core Democratic policy initiatives that the IDC championed remain unfinished. As Democrats, the IDC remains committed to the fight for an equal education for all New York students - which the Dream Act would provide, protecting a woman's right to choose, increasing workers' wages, and enacting meaningful campaign finance reform. I agree with Governor Cuomo that these are progressive priorities we must pass.
“Therefore all IDC members are united and agree to work together to form a new majority coalition between the Independent Democratic Conference and the Senate Democratic Conference after the November elections in order to deliver the results that working families across this state still need and deserve,”
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said, “I applaud the IDC’s decision. There is no doubt that we have accomplished much for the state over the past four years. We have transformed the state government from dysfunctional to highly functional, a deficit to a surplus, and losing jobs to gaining jobs. There is also no doubt there are progressive goals that we have yet to achieve and that we must accomplish next January.”
I expect that the challenge to Senator Jeff Klein by Oliver Koppell, and the challenge to IDC member Senator Tony Avella by former City Comptroller John Liu (who I interviewed for Thursday's edition of the Bronx News & Parkchester News) to disappear now that this agreement has been reached.
One has to also wonder if those seats won by democrats in the state senate in 2012 are in danger of being lost to strong Republican challengers.