Mark Grimm


Assembly GOP Needs New Direction

In a banner election year for the GOP, ¬†Assembly Republicans in New York won fewer than 30 percent of the chamber’s seats.

If that doesn’t prompt a change in direction, what will?

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On the same day in New York, Republicans won back control of the State Senate and picked up three Congressional seats. Four Assembly Republicans have circulated a letter to other members calling for a delay in the vote for Minority Leader, a clear challenge to current Minority Leader Brian Kolb.

Mr. Kolb has chosen a largely non-confrontational approach with Speaker Shelly Silver. It is true Speaker Silver controls the Assembly Republican budget and has no reservations about using that power to silence criticism. This is a clear flaw in how the Legislature works. But, acquiescence has a cost, too. The failure to condemn the Speaker’s use of taxpayer funds as hush money to victims of sexual harassment was inexcusable and makes one wonder what purpose does the Republican Conference actually serve.

Governor candidate Rob Astorino stood for something and his victory outside the City of New York was a step in the right direction. Had the campaign money been anything close to equal, we would have seen a much tighter race.

Assembly Republican members must now answer this question: Do they really believe ideas matter and a strong stance on behalf of those ideas can truly make a difference?

Their relevance depends on the answer.

The writer is a former elected GOP official and one-time senior staff member of the Assembly Republican Conference.