WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz
32nd Senatorial District, Bronx County, New York
No Hit, No Run, and a Lot of Errors
You should know that it was a perfect coup, well planned, well organized, and nicely orchestrated. Those behind it should be congratulated. They even convinced some Senators to change their minds at the last minute, even those who had already committed and had given their assurance to Senator John Sampson of their "loyalty." Shame on them!
You should also know that the main reason Senator Jeff Klein left our Conference was Senator Mike Gianaris. After working hard for the Conference, raising millions of dollars, and putting himself aside so former Senator Pedro Espada would be designated Deputy Minority Leader – Jeff Klein got the cold shoulder from the conference leader. Later on, Senator Sampson also demoted Jeff Klein and gave Mike Gianaris the most prestigious position in the Conference as the head of the Democratic State Campaign Committee, humiliating Jeff Klein and his followers. Mike Gianaris showed his appreciation by joining the coordinated team to drop Senator Sampson.
It is important for you to also know that during the past Democratic Primary, Senator Sampson went out of his way to support Senator Martin Malavé Dilan's son against the incumbent Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez. Sampson not only gave Dilan’s son his support, but also contributed money and troops, making Congresswoman Velazquez a very angry political enemy. Senator John Sampson went to yesterday’s meeting counting on Senator Dilan’s support. My dear reader, you should have seen the expression on Senator Sampson’s face when he saw Senator Martin Malavé Dilan raising his hand to support Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins, and not for him. There is a saying in Puerto Rico: “La vida te da sorpresas.” Life is full of surprises.
Now, Senator John Sampson does not stand with Senator Klein, not with Senator Gianaris, not with Senator Dilan, with no Conference Leadership position, and with many powerful enemies like Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez. This is really a no hit, no run, and a lot of errors.
I would also like to offer my two cents of advice to our new Conference Leader Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
First, you should get rid of Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson as Chairperson of the Conference. Senator Hassell-Thompson’s heavy-handedness, her rudeness, and her lack of respect for her colleagues while leading the Conference was one of Senator Sampson’s biggest mistake. By sitting idle and letting Senator Hassell-Thompson do as she pleased, he angered many who little by little, started to show their frustration and began to organize against Senator Sampson.
My second piece of advice to our newly-elected Leader: Always remember that you have six Hispanic Senators, and excluding me, one or two of the other five should be appointed to Leadership positions.
Thirdly, always give respect and consideration to Members in leadership positions. It is important not only to give them a title, but it is equally important to be sure that they are part of the decision-making process. Don't ignore them when you meet to discuss the Budget and resources.
Finally, as soon as you got elected as our new Leader, I was surprised and shocked to read an article in the Times Union quoting Senators who stated their feelings about your election and among them, there was a quote by me. Even though it was a nice quote, and even though I join the people of the State of New York in celebrating the history-making process of having the first Black woman to lead the Senate Conference, my dear Leader, no one asked me for a quote. I did not give them a quote, and if I were asked I would not have given a quote. The reason? I was among the only six Senators to vote for Senator John Sampson. In other words, I am part of the losing team and as such, I should not be taking credit for something that I didn’t do. Always be sure that your press office checks with someone they intend to quote before releasing any statement.
This is Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz and this is what you should know.