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Miner says new Senate coalition could solve problems

The newly-created New York state Senate leadership coalition has further divided Democrats. Governor Andrew Cuomo has offered his conditional support, and at least one other party leader -- Democrat state party co-chairwoman Stephanie Miner -- agrees.

Under the new leadership agreement, Senate Republicans have joined forces with five break-away Independent Democrats to form a coalition majority of the state Senate. The leaders of the two conference will share a new position of Temporary President of the Senate on a rotating basis. This arrangement essentially allows the Republicans to hold on to their existing majority in the Senate, though they do have to share it.

The Senate Democratic Conference -- the traditional Democrats -- were hoping to regain the majority they lost two years ago. In a statement, the group called the move a coup against New Yorkers who voted for Democrats.  

But Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, who shares leadership of the New York State Democratic Party, is following Cuomo's lead, saying the bottom line is good government.  

Miner, says a coalition government that gets things done is the important thing, noting that differences of opinion are a part of any political organization.

"There are schisms, and separations, and things that connect us and it's our challenge as leaders and elected officials to bring people together around issues that we care about and causes we care about," said Miner. "To get good legislation and solve problems.  And I think that's what you're going to see the IDC [Independent Democratic Conference] try to do."

Miner says this coalition will hopefully be a pathway towards getting things done.

"The New York state Senate has been plagued with dysfunction for far too long, and the problems facing our state are serious, severe, and need immediate attention, and I think this is a way to put a structure together to try to solve those problems, and ultimately what is the most important thing, is that government functions," said Miner.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.