Addabbo won’t accept a chairmanship unless it’s ‘part of a bigger picture’

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State Senator Joseph Addabbo said he's not inclined to accept a committee chairmanship from the Republican-led coalition that is blocking the Democratic conference from taking over control of the New York State Senate.

Democrats won a majority of the seats in the 63-member chamber, but Republicans struck a power-sharing deal with five breakaway Independent Democrats to retain power. That arrangment has been criticized for thwarting the popular vote, and for its lack of diversity.

On Monday, Addabbo and fellow Queens lawmaker James Sanders were the only two non-Independent Democrats appointed to a new Hurricane Sandy recovery task force, an entreaty that was reported to be the first olive branch from the new coalition majority, which might be inclined to offer up committee chairmanships to some conventional Democrats. 

Addabbo said he would not accept a chairmanship if it came with pre-conditions about how he could operate the committee and what bills he could pass, nor would he accept it if it was not part of a broader effort to empower other Democratic lawmakers, he said.

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In a brief interview this afternoon, Addabbo said that "it would have to be part of a bigger picture," and that chairmanships and legislative power needed to be "distributed in a fair and equitable manner."

"It has to be a true coalition, [which] really means that all are treated equally, and power and authority is shared among the three conferences," he said, referring to the Republicans, Democrats and Independence Democratic Conference.

Addabbo appeared with several lawmakers, including the leaders of the Republican and IDC conferences, Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein, to announce the new Sandy task force yesterday.

"Outside of that [topic], I haven't had conversations with them," Addabbo said of Skelos and Klein.