Statement By Senate President And Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith & Democratic Conference Leader John L. Sampson

July 08, 2009

“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary action. We applaud and congratulate Governor Paterson’s bold decision to appoint Richard Ravitch as Lieutenant Governor and help end the gridlock in the Senate.
A civic and business leader, best known as the former Chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Ravitch is one of the nation’s leading voices on urban planning and economic crisis management issues. Appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to the U.S. Commission on Urban problems, Ravitch was also appointed by Governor Hugh Carey, during one of the greatest economic crisis facing this state, as Chair of the New York State Urban Development Corporation.
For over a month, the Senate has been locked in a stalemate, unable to meet its obligation to the people of New York.  Today, the constitutional issue of succession to the office of Governor has been settled, removing a major stumbling block to our negotiations.
We have a job to do as legislators and a promise to fulfill to the people of New York. Not just as Democrats or Republicans, but as representatives sworn to serve all those who call our state their home, we urge our colleagues in the Senate to join us in a governing agreement that will enable the Senate to get back to work.”