NEW YORK – Republican state legislators from the Hudson Valley Thursday called for the removal of Sheldon Silver as speaker of the State Assembly while Democrats said the legal process should be allowed to play out.
Silver was charged by the federal government with accepting over $6 million in bribes and kickbacks since at least 2002. He denied the charges.
One of those calling for a new Assembly speaker is Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R, Fishkill).
“It is bad enough that major decisions in our state are made by three men in a room,” Lalor said. “As we start a new session and head into budget negotiations, we can’t have one of those three men in the room under federal indictment for violating the public trust.”
Calls for Silver’s resignation also came from Republican Assemblymen Steven Katz and Karl Brabenec.
Area Democratic Assembly members including Aileen Gunther, Frank Skartados and Didi Barrett said they believe in the judicial system and will continue to focus on representing their constituents.
“I believe in our justice system and I believe that every person has a right to go before the court and is innocent until proven guilty,” Skartados said.
Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino, the unsuccessful Republican gubernatorial candidate last fall, said the arrest of Silver “must be the launching point for sweeping change in Albany.”
Astorino said Silver’s arrest “raises serious questions about the Moreland Commission shut down about which I was so critical last year. Specifically, it begs the question of whether Mr. Silver’s alleged illegalities were known to the commission when it was shuttered. If they were, and if that information was not properly referred to law enforcement authorities, this case will grow.”