Two of the newly elected Senate Democrats said they have had broad conversations about policy issues with the Independent Democratic Conference since they were elected, but they are sticking with the Democratic conference.
Sens.-elect Ted O’Brien, D-Irondequoit, Monroe County, and George Latimer, D-Rye, told Gannett’s Albany Bureau yesterday that they have no intentions to join the four-member IDC. They urged the IDC to rejoin the 26-member Democratic conference, saying they all share the same progressive goals.
“I was elected as a Democrat, and I intend to conference with Democrats,” O’Brien said. “When you look at the mission and goals of what the IDC would like to accomplish, it’s a progressive Democratic group.”
Latimer and O’Brien were two major wins for Democrats as they seek to regain the Senate majority in January. They currently have 30 seats, and O’Brien was a net gain because the seat was held by Sen. James Alesi, R-Perinton, Monroe County.
Neither Latimer nor O’Brien said they were recruited by Sen. Jeff Klein, D-Bronx, who heads the IDC. They said the focus was on policy ideas.
“I think we have common public-policy beliefs,” Latimer said of the IDC. “I think we can work out a structural arrangement for how the chamber works.”
Latimer questioned whether the IDC could be a co-equal conference with Republicans and Democrats. He said ultimately there will need to be a vote for a Senate president — which requires 32 votes.
“When all this stuff comes together, if you do want a functioning government, then you’re going to have to have 32 people agree to put somebody in as temporary president of the Senate,” Latimer said.