Sabrina LaMar pledges to ‘bridge political divide’ as County Legislature president

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Monroe County Legislator Sabrina LaMar Monday announced that she will remain a Democrat but join with members of the Republican Party to form the "Majority Caucus" in the County Legislature as its President.

LaMar is the first Black woman to serve as Legislature President. She beat Legislator Yversha Roman by vote 15 to 14 Monday night.

There are 14 other Democrats in the legislature and 14 Republicans.

LaMar said she’s making the move to “bridge the political divide” in the county.

"I have always been a Democrat, I remain a Democrat and I don’t intend to ever be anything but a Democrat," LaMar said. "However, I am not afraid to reach across the aisle to deliver results for my constituents."

She represents the county’s 27th District, which is centered around the 19th Ward neighborhood. She’s the first legislator to serve as president since Ronnie Thomas in 1987.

"Tonight I’m announcing that I intend to rise above partisan politics, and that I choose to be a strong bridge between politics as usual, and getting things done," said LaMar.

LaMar says her district is largely African-American, many living in poverty and as President of the Legislature, it puts her in the best position to serve her constituents.

"My people elected me to work for them, and be their voice in county government. I firmly believe that I can deliver more results, and be an even louder voice for my people as President of the Legislature, and I intend to do just that."

LaMar also serves on the Legislature’s Public Safety and Human Services Committees.

One of LaMar’s supporters shared her feelings soon after the vote.

"I feel liberated," said Rochester resident Tangella Hardey. "I feel really happy. I’m proud. I don’t know. I’m interested in seeing what she’s gonna do."

Monroe County Democratic Committee Chairman Zach King sent the following statement in response:

“When all the votes were counted after both the June Primary and November General elections, the results showed that Monroe County voters had resoundingly rejected politicians who made decisions based on their desire to increase their own personal political power. In light of that, I find Legislator LaMar’s decision to join the Republican caucus solely for the purpose of being elected President of the Legislature to be extremely disappointing, but not surprising. While I am hopeful that Legislator LaMar will work with both parties and the County Executive’s office as she indicated she would do, her voting history — including voting with Republicans on a rushed redistricting process, creating an election year slush fund financed by taxpayers, and tabling Ethics Reform to shield Ernest Flagler-Mitchell — leaves serious doubts and raises more questions.

“We’ve seen nationally what happens when Democratic officials won’t work with their own colleagues and become a rubber stamp for the Republican agenda. It would be a shame for residents in Legislator LaMar’s district and throughout the County for that dysfunction to continue here. Monroe County voters deserve better from the officials they elect to do the work of the people.”