This week Rochester area Assemblyman Joe Morelle was appointed the Majority Leader in the New York State Assembly. He now joins several other locals in top state leadership positions. Some wonder if the local leaders will help Rochester's local interests.
The Majority Leader in the State Assembly, Minority Leader Assembly and Lt. Governor are all from the Rochester area and all three say that local representation does have its influences.
This week, Assemblyman Joe Morelle was appointed Majority Leader of the Assembly. It is the first time someone from Monroe County has held the post since the 1920's.
In that role, Morelle says it will be his job to make sure what his Democratic conference wants gets through the political process. But, he acknowledges his role in many ways will influence what is of interest to his hometown, which he got a sense of when he started receiving messages of congratulations after his appointment.
"Often times they're very personal in nature, 'Congratulations for you, but this is great for Rochester.' So I think there's always a sense that if someone is a part of the conversations then they're going to continue to talk about the perspective from their community," said Morelle. "I will certainly do that."
"As the Governor identified in the State of the State Address, there are real economic challenges that Upstate New York faces. So I think the idea is that if someone is part of the leadership, he, along with all his colleagues who represent Upstate New York, will continue to make sure there is an attention to the unique challenges of our cities and our communities."
Local Republican Brian Kolb is the Minority Leader in the State Assembly. He agrees that while they may differ on the politics, having more leaders from this area in Albany bodes well for our local interests.
"First of all, it's great visibility for Joe. People always say, 'Where is Joe Morelle from?' He's from Rochester, New York, Monroe County. Just like myself being the Minority Leader in the State Assembly, I'm a native Rochesterian. I happen to live in Ontario County. I think it's great visibility for our area when we're out speaking to the public, traveling across the state," said Kolb.
Bob Duffy, born and raised in Rochester, who sits in the state's second highest office, said along with all these local leaders at the top and the Governor's support, this is the time for Upstate.
"I think there have been many attempts in the past to include Upstate. I've seen nothing to even come close to what Governor Cuomo has done in the last two years - a billion dollar investment for the City of Buffalo he is putting forth, the Finger Lakes region, including Rochester, the largest winner this year in the Regional Council competition. There is one infusion of investment after another in Upstate New York," said Duffy. "I think now is the time for Upstate New York to end up not only being recognized for the talents we have up here, but also to be charged with the opportunity to help turn this economy around."