Assemblyman Joseph Morelle, D-Irondequoit, Monroe County, said today that he will trust Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to decide who’s the next Assembly majority leader.
Morelle wouldn’t say if he’ll seek the second-in-command post, but said it would be Silver’s call and not something “you apply for.”
“I think the speaker knows the people in our conference. He knows each of us has certain strengths and weaknesses, and I don’t think this is a position you apply for,” Morelle said in an telephone interview with Gannett’s Albany Bureau. “I think it’s one that the speaker ought to be allowed to make the judgment he thinks is best for the conference and the institution. I’m fully confident he will do that.”
Morelle will undoubtedly be on the short list for Silver as he decides—likely in December—who will succeed Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari, D-Cohoes, Albany County, who announced his retirement yesterday.
Morelle is close to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and Cuomo had kind words earlier today for Morelle.
Silver has sole authority to name his top lieutenant, and Morelle said he’s comfortable with whatever Silver decides.
“It’s a decision that the speaker needs to make,” Morelle said. “And obviously we all trust him to make the right pick. He’s picked two majority leaders during his speakership and they have both been outstanding, both as majority leaders and as colleagues. I’m sure we all trust he’ll do what’s right by the body.”
Morelle started by offering praise of Canestrari, saying people should honor the well-liked Canestrari’s five-year tenure as majority leader before speculating about his successor.
He said Canestrari “has been an amazing friend and colleague. So I think it’s more appropriate to first focus on Ron’s significant contributions. And that’s what I think today, tomorrow, next week, the next several weeks ought to be about.”