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The 116th Assembly District spans parts of Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties in the North Country. In 2014, Assemblywoman Addie Russell (D) was re-elected for her fourth term, defeating her Republican challenger John Byrne.This year, the two match up once again in the race for the 116th.0000017a-3c50-d913-abfe-bd54a8830000

Assemblywoman Addie Russell supports Silver; prepares for changes

Julia Botero
Addie speaks to reporters about Silver developments in Watertown

In the wake of the downfall of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, North Country Assembly woman Addie Russell says she stands by the presumption of innocence until you are proven guilty.

Russell, a Democrat from Jefferson County, was part of the long two-day of meetings in Albany that ended with a decision to oust longtime Assembly speaker.

Silver will be out of office by Monday. He was arrested late last week on charges of corruption, including taking about $4 million in kickbacks.

Shortly after his arrest, Russell told North Country Public Radio she thought the charges brought against Silver were politically motivated.

Wednesday morning in Watertown she said she still believes that.

"I think there has been a lot of discussion about ulterior motives and a desire for this arrest to lead to reforms as I believe is a sentiment expressed by the U.S. attorney. There are obvious linkages and I don't think anyone can deny there are politics at play at a certain level in this regard," Russell said.

Silver's arrest is expected to lead to major change in teh way the legislature does its work.  Russell says there will be   change in the Assembly.

"Perhaps the use of steering comities will be more robust and perhaps people will be more inclined to speak more at length because they want to ensure the new leader is aware of their positions because they haven't had a strong relationship with whomever becomes the eventual leader. "

An election for new leader of the Assembly will take place  February 10. The position of speaker will be vacant in the meantime.