Calling him an “important and influential voice for the Hudson Valley, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos praised outgoing Sen. Stephen Saland for pushing bills regarding domestic violence and child abuse.
Saland, a Poughkeepsie Republican first elected to the Senate in 1990 after serving a decade in the Assembly, officially conceded to Democrat Terry Gipson today in the 41st Senate District.
In a statement, Skelos, R-Nassau County, called Saland a “highly-respected lawmaker and a dear friend.”
“This chamber will miss Steve Saland’s clear and steady voice, most notably in the areas of criminal justice and victim’s rights,” Skelos said. “Steve was the author of more than 350 laws, and he has been a fierce advocate for the victims of domestic violence and child abuse.”
With Saland’s loss, Republicans will conference with 31 senators (including Simcha Felder, a Brooklyn Democrat who said he will join the GOP caucus). That’s one shy of a majority in the 63-seat chamber, but the GOP and the five-member Independent Democratic Conference announced a deal last week to share control over the chamber, keeping Senate Democrats in the minority.
(The 46th district race between Republican George Amedore and Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk is still tied up in the courts.)
You can read Skelos’ full statement after the jump:
“I join all New Yorkers in wishing Senator Steve Saland the best as he completes a 32-year career in the State Legislature, the last 22 as a distinguished member of the New York State Senate. Steve is a highly-respected lawmaker and a dear friend.
“This chamber will miss Steve Saland’s clear and steady voice, most notably in the areas of criminal justice and victim’s rights. Steve was the author of more than 350 laws, and he has been a fierce advocate for the victims of domestic violence and child abuse.
“Senator Saland was the driving force behind legislation requiring school district employees to be fingerprinted, so that extensive criminal background checks could be done. Just last year, Steve won passage of a landmark domestic violence bill, later signed into law by Governor Cuomo, which included the most significant and far-reaching changes to the State’s domestic violence laws in a decade. There is no doubt that women and children are safer today because Steve Saland never stopped fighting for them.
“Steve Saland has been an important and influential voice for the Hudson Valley, and his shoes will be difficult to fill. In addition, he has been a valuable member of the Senate Republican Conference on key issues for more than twenty years. His leadership and his friendship will be sorely missed.”