Assemblyman Joseph Morelle, D-Irondequoit, Monroe County, was appointed Wednesday to serve as majority leader of the state Assembly, the chamber’s second-highest post.
Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, announced Morelle was his pick at the start of the legislative session. Silver said Morelle has earned the trust of his colleagues.
“I think he commands the respect of the conference,” Silver told Gannett’s Albany Bureau later Wednesday. “He’s a seasoned veteran here, understands the intricacies of legislation, and I think he’ll be a tremendous asset to the administration of our New York state Assembly.”
Morelle was first elected to the Assembly in 1990. He was previous chairman of the Assembly Insurance Committee and the committee on Tourism, Small Business and Ethics. He is also Monroe County Democratic Committee chairman, and he is expected to stay in the position.
The majority leader is responsible for the day-to-day operational duties of the Assembly chamber, including running the floor during debates.
The Assembly erupted in cheers and a standing ovation when Silver announced Morelle’s selection. Silver was also re-elected as speaker, a position he has held since 1994.
The speaker has traditionally been from New York City, and the speaker then picks an upstate majority leader.
“I’m truly humbled by it and really grateful to the speaker for his confidence in me. I am anxious to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle,” Morelle told reporters.
“I’m anxious — we have a long agenda, we have a very serious agenda, we’ve got a lot to do,” Morelle said. “And if this gives me an opportunity to contribute to being able to move our agenda forward, I’m grateful for the opportunity.”
The Assembly majority leader post comes with a $34,500 a-year stipend, on top of the $79,500 salary that each lawmaker receives. The last majority leader from Monroe County was Simon Adler, a Republican attorney, from 1916 to 1926.