State Sen. Catharine M. Young is afraid Democratic control of the State Senate will be very detrimental to Upstate counties.
After Tuesday’s elections, Republicans lost at least six seats of the 32 they currently hold, and will find themselves in the minority next year for the first time since 2010.
“It will be very detrimental to Upstate” where there are very few Democrats to speak up for rural areas like the Southern Tier, Young, R-Olean, said.
“(The Senate) will be very New York City-centric,” added Young, who was first elected to the Senate in 2005 after serving in the Assembly for seven years. In 2016, she was named the first woman chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
“We will fight as hard as we can,” Young told the Times Herald Thursday. “We need balance Upstate.”
With Democrats controlling the Assembly and Senate and Gov. Andrew Cuomo a Democrat, she’s afraid Upstate won’t get a fair shake in the halls of government and spending in Albany. The last time Democrats controlled the Senate taxes went up, and Upstate funds for education, economic development and transportation dwindled, Young said.
“That really was a horror show for New York,” she said.
Over the past several years Republicans have been able to cobble a majority together that included several conservative Democrats from New York City.
Cattaraugus County Republican Party Chairman Robert Keis Sr. agreed that the loss of the Republican majority in the Senate “will hurt Upstate and the Southern Tier. The Republican Senate was keeping some bad things from happening to us Upstate.”
The State Assembly has long been gripped by the Democrats.
Young said she and her Republican colleagues “have got to work hard to mitigate” any problems posed by the lack of balance in state government. “We will fight to make our voices heard and our needs met. And we’ll win it back,” she vowed.
The Democratic agenda in the past has been to raise taxes, Young said. “We will fight it,” she added.
What about the Republican leadership? Will she have a role in the leadership of minority Republicans?
“It’s premature to discuss leadership,” Young replied.
Who will be the new Senate minority leader? Will Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan become the new minority leader? Is Young interested in becoming deputy minority leader or minority leader?
“It’s premature to discuss it,” she said again.
What about committees?
“Premature,” said Young, who is currently Senate Finance Committee chair. She is a past chair of the Education Committee.
Her biggest concern at the moment is “to make sure Upstate needs are met.”
She said she was concerned about next year’s school aid — particularly since schools in her district are just recovering from what she called Democrats’ education aid grab eight years ago when GAP elimination aid was diverted to New York City schools.
“That will be a very large bone of contention,” Young said.
(Contact reporter Rick Miller at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)