The following is an op/ed submitted Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan:
Democrats now crow about the result of a recent Senate special election along with the well-deserved retirements of several long-term GOP state Senators, claiming it’s a harbinger for November.
Not so fast.
While the outcome in the 37th Senate District personally disappointed me, it was not unexpected. Democrats enjoyed a two-to-one registration edge and for decades held that seat. They did not flip a seat controlled by Republicans. In short, Democrats did what they were supposed to do.
Yes, a number of senior members of our conference announced recently they would not be running for re-election. We will certainly miss their experience, but their decisions to leave the Senate had already been made earlier this year.
The good news is these districts have all been represented by Republicans for years, if not decades. We expect to field “A” level candidates in each district who will help us maintain our majority and be excellent legislators starting on day one.
We’re very fortunate that our well known incumbents have extraordinary records delivering funding for their districts, helping seniors and conquering constituent cases that some might have seen as unsolvable.
Our senators cut taxes and then cut them again. Thanks to our majority middle-class individuals and families now pay the lowest rate in 70 years.
Every year, our senators send record amounts of education aid to schools.
And importantly, they have tackled the heroin and opioid crisis affecting communities throughout the state head on.
I expect every single one of them to be re-elected.
Meanwhile, there are a number of Democrat seats that present opportunities for pickups, both on Long Island and in Upstate districts once represented by members of the now dissolved Independent Democratic Conference. We have never contested those seats, but now they are very much in play.
And, then there’s Governor Cuomo, whose unbridled ambition for higher office leaves every New York taxpayer in danger.
Facing a spirited challenge himself from actress Cynthia Nixon, he moves further to the left on a daily basis to appease those on the fringe of his Party. Instead of governing responsibly, he now uses his office to advance the core ideals of the far left.
For years, the Governor worked with me in a bipartisan manner to find common ground and move our state forward. But, I no longer recognize the person who occupies this office.
He says he wants one party control of our entire state government, with New York City politicians calling the shots, even though it comes with no accountability and no checks and balances.
Meanwhile, the Governor’s extreme agenda is anathema to the vast majority of hardworking taxpayers and their families.
He wants to raise taxes on people who are already among the highest taxed in the nation to pay for an expensive government run healthcare system — a plan which would also wipe out over 150,000 jobs.
He wants to give free college tuition to people who are in this country illegally while middle-class families scrimp and save, work a second job or go deep into debt trying to help their own kids afford college.
He wants taxpayer-funded political campaigns, allowing politicians to campaign exclusively on the public dime and forcing you, the taxpayer, to cover the cost of their negative TV ads, mailers and robocalls.
Worst of all, the Governor wants to grant convicted criminals the same rights enjoyed by you and me. Shockingly, his Parole Board just let three-time convicted cop killer Herman Bell walk free, and with the stroke of a pen he unilaterally gave convicted rapists and murderers out on parole the right to vote and influence our elections.
In the meantime, our Senate Majority is focused on the things hardworking New Yorkers everywhere discuss around their kitchen tables— affordability, opportunity and security.
We’re the only ones talking about cutting taxes.
We’re the only ones talking about creating jobs.
And, we’re the only ones talking about doing everything humanly possible to keep New Yorkers safe.
That’s why we’re going to win in November.