Cuomo Declines to Back Longtime House Speaker
By Josh Goodman, Staff Writer
The most important relationship in Albany in the next two years may be the one between Andrew Cuomo and Sheldon Silver. It's off to an uncertain start. The New York Times reports that Cuomo, New York 's governor-elect, didn't give a vote of confidence to Silver, when asked about vague rumblings that the longtime Assembly speaker could face a challenge to his leadership post. Cuomo stopped short of calling for Silver's ouster, saying only that he wanted to work with the Assembly's leadership. Most observers think that Silver, a consummate dealmaker who is often derided by ethics and budget watchdogs, will win another term.
Silver and Cuomo are both Democrats. But party ties haven't stopped Silver from quarrelling with Democratic governors in the past. Four years ago, after Eliot Spitzer won in a landslide, one of the first roadblocks the new governor faced was conflict with Silver. The feud, which centered on the appointment of a new state comptroller, set the stage for the poisonous relationship between Spitzer and the legislature that defined his brief tenure. Cuomo, like Spitzer, campaigned promising to shake up Albany.
With Republicans in charge of the Alabama legislature for the first time since Reconstruction, their first order of business appears to be ethics reform, the Montgomery Advertiser reports . Some of the steps under consideration include expanding disclosure requirements for lobbyists and banning money transfers between political action committees-a tactic that critics say has been used to hide the true origins of campaign cash. The focus on ethics doesn't come as a surprise, especially after four Alabama senators were arrested last month in a federal vote-buying case related to state gambling legislation. It's possible a special session will address the issue, even before governor-elect Robert Bentley takes office in January.
The conservative Republicans who control Florida's legislature have spent the last four years staking out ground to the right of Governor Charlie Crist, a moderate Republican who became an independent earlier this year. Now, with Rick Scott as the state's governor - elect, the legislature looks as though it will take its turn as the moderating influence in state politics. Scott opposes the state's commuter rail plan, supports an Arizona-style immigration law and wants to ban more late-term abortions. All those positions could face robust legislative opposition. Both incoming Senate President Mike Haridopolos and incoming House Speaker Dean Cannon opposed Scott in his bitter primary with Attorney General Bill McCollum. Republicans have veto-proof majorities in both houses of the legislature, meaning that if the G.O.P. caucuses stay united they'll be able to enact whatever legislation they please, without the input of Democrats or the new governor. Still, at least for now, Scott and the legislative leaders are talking about working together.
Union backing played a large role in independent Lincoln Chafee 's victory in the Rhode Island governor's race. Now unions will play a role in forming his new administration. The governor-elect has chosen Robert Walsh, who serves as executive director of the National Education Association's Rhode Island chapter, as a member of his transition advisory committee, the Providence Journal reports . The teachers' union endorsed Chafee over centrist Democrat Frank Caprio.
Democrat John Hickenlooper, Colorado 's governor-elect, is getting help from some of his state's most prominent Republicans. The Denver Post reports that both Bill Owens, the state's most recent Republican governor, and Bob Schaffer, a former Republican congressman, will serve on his transition team. Hickenlooper has chosen Owens as a statewide co-chair of his transition efforts, while Schaffer will co-chair his education committee.