Sen. James Alesi, R-Perinton, Monroe County, is no longer chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business. He has been replaced by fellow western New York Sen. Patrick Gallivan, R-Elma, Erie County.
Alesi said he and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, agreed to move Gallivan into the position because Alesi is retiring at year’s end.
“In order for some kind of continuity, we think it makes sense to have the next chairperson in there before October when they start crafting budgets,” Alesi said today.
Alesi served as chairman of the committee at least since the early 2000s and regained the position after Republicans won back the majority in 2010. The position comes with a stipend, but Alesi was already getting more — $20,500 — for his leadership position as chairman of the Senate Steering Committee. His base salary is $79,500.
Gallivan is a freshman senator and the former Erie County sheriff. His district runs from Erie to Ontario counties. Alesi said it was important to have a senator from western New York in the position.
He put out a news release Saturday touting his new assignment.
“After two years of progress, New York must now focus its attention on its most basic challenge – transforming New York into a place where existing businesses can grow and new businesses want to locate,” Gallivan said.
Skelos’ spokesman Scott Reif thanked Alesi for his chairmanship and complimented Gallivan, who is seeking re-election in November.
“As chairman of the Senate’s Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business Committee, Senator Alesi has worked successfully with his colleagues in the Senate and leaders of the state’s business community to eliminate regulations and provide incentives so companies could create jobs here in New York,” Reif said in a statement.
“His contributions have been remarkable, and he will be missed. Even though the legislative session has come to a close, the economy continues to be the number one priority of Senate Republicans and the residents of this state. The choice of Senator Gallivan to lead this important committee once again shows our commitment to creating jobs and revitalizing the economy throughout all of Western New York.”
First elected in 1996, Alesi decided to retire after his re-election prospects appeared dim. The first Republican senator last year to support legalizing same-sex marriage, Alesi was dogged by criticism after he sued a couple in his district after he trespassed on their property and broke his leg.