‘Be not involved’: A Democratic senator’s wish for Andrew Cuomo

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Kevin Parker. ()
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As a freshman Democratic governor with an extraordinarily good working relationship with Republicans who control the New York State Senate, Andrew Cuomo has done well for himself by avoiding partisan politics.

Next week, that won't be so easy.

Cuomo will pick a new leader of the New York State Democratic Party in advance of their May 23 meeting in Albany. The move comes after the current chairman, Jay Jacobs, who was appointed by Cuomo's predecessor, announced he was stepping down so the governor could select his own chairman.

Some Democrats in the State Senate, whose political interests the governor has decidedly not looked out for, don't seem to be in the mood to observe the usual etiquette.

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"What does the state party do for me?" said Kevin Parker. "Let's just be real. The state party has done nothing for me as a candidate or as a Democratic member of the State Senate, and the state party does nothing to help the Democratic [conference]. So what do I care who runs it?"

Parker said the last governor to help the Senate Democrats was Eliot Spitzer back in 2006. After hiring Republican Senator Michael Balboni to join his administration, Spitzer actively campaigned for a Democratic candidate who won Balboni's seat.

"Most Democrats, including the Democratic Assembly and the governor, have been politically against us," Parker said. "For me, it would be a step up if the state party, Assembly Democrats and the governor would just not do anything. Stand on the sidelines. Be not involved. That would be a step up from what they have done to this point, which has been against us on issues that are important to us."

Cuomo signed off on a Republican-gerrymandered redistricting map of the State Senate that will greatly help the Republicans in their efforts to hold on to a narrow majority in the chamber.