Updated 04/22/2010 05:46 PM
Valesky calls for Espada to give up majority leadership role
He is the top ranking Upstate Democrat in the New York State Senate. Now, David Valesky says the man who is his party's majority leader in the Senate, should be stripped of that title. YNN's Bill Carey has the story.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- To hear State Senator David Valesky tell the story, he was never a fan of Pedro Espada. So, when the Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Espada and the IRS and FBI raided his non-profit health clinic, Valesky said, "Enough."
"I think it would be in the best interest of the Senate and of the State of New York, as we move forward, for Senator Espada to step down as majority leader of the State Senate," said Valesky.
Still, the vice-president pro temp of the Senate stopped short of calling for Espada to resign from his seat.
He said, "From the perspective of leaving the Senate, if we look at former Senator Monserrate, I was one of the first senators to call for him to leave the Senate, after he was convicted of a crime. Senator Espada has not been convicted of anything."
For a Senate majority already racked by complaints over corruption and inaction on key legislation, the Espada affair carries risks headed into an election season.
Valesky's potential Republican opponents have already made it clear that they will make much of his role in the State Senate leadership.
Republican Andrew Russo chided Valesky for delaying his call for Espada to give up his title -- saying his earlier statements had finally shamed Valesky into acting. He says Valesky's stance against Espada -- in Russo's words -- does nothing to wash his hands of the culture of Democrat corruption in Albany.
Another Republican challenger, East Syracuse Mayor Dan Liedka has already distributed campaign literature depicting a State Senate version of Mount Rushmore, with Valesky and Espada, side by side.
Valesky said, "The examples of 'gutter politics,' once again that we see, that I think, frankly, voters are sick and tired of, that's going to continue, apparently, and that's unfortunately part of the process."
Valesky said the only way to get past the "bad" news is to enact "good" legislation. But even that has proven to be a challenge in Albany this year.
Democratic State Senator Daryl Aubertine has also joined the call for Espada to leave the post of majority leader. Aubertine claims to be focused on work on a state budget, but says he is concerned about the new investigation of the majority leader and thinks it would be in the state's best interest for Espada to relinquish the title.