Senator Griffo Reacts to IDC Dissolution By Luke Perry
This afternoon Governor Cuomo met with Democratic Party leaders and an agreement was reached to dissolve the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC). IDC Leader Jeff Klein was told by the governor he “must end the IDC altogether.” The conference essentially enabled Republicans to control the Senate despite being outnumbered by Democrats.
I spoke with Senator Joseph Griffo (R-47) about this development. Senator Griffo expressed disappointment this change was made in a “clandestine way,” though observed this is “not uncommon for this chief executive.”
Griffo “doesn’t know if things will change.” There is the prospect of a “whole new arrangement.” It appears that Senator Klein “loses all his power and sits in the minority till special elections are held.”
For instance, the April 24 contest in Senate District 37 could be a potential Democratic gain. Griffo stated that Republicans are running an “excellent candidate” in what will be a “spirited race.” If the Republicans win, “everything will be turned upside down again.”
Senator Griffo believes that IDC agreement reflects Governor Cuomo “trying to protect his left flank” and being “paranoid about Cynthia Nixon.” Griffo contends the agreement is not positive in terms of good governance.
The “chaos” interjected by different chairs and rankers runs counter to Cuomo's emphasis on “functionality.” This “disruptive” move is “hard to justify” from a policy perspective, particularly with two months left in session and "for the sake of politics.”
Senator Griffo also believes the dissolution of the IDC “is not in the best interest of upstate.” One party control led by “downstate Democrats” is positioned to be “a sequel to 2009 and 2010,” which “was disastrous for upstate,” particularly in regards to economic, fiscal, and tax policy.
Griffo pointed to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) as an example. In the past, Griffo believes downstate received greater allocations of MTA funds, claiming more urgent need than upstate. Such allocations were supposed to be temporary, and later remedied, though often were not, leaving upstate with less funding.
Andrea Stewart-Cousins is now the leader of the Senate Democratic Conference with IDC leader Jeff Klein serving as her deputy.
Senator David Valesky and Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi did not respond to a request for comment.
This story was updated at 6:33pm, April 4.
Luke Perry (@PolSciLukePerry) is Chair and Professor of Government at Utica College.