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Rochester area’s experience drain from Albany

Berkeley Brean
Updated: January 08, 2020 07:02 PM
Created: January 08, 2020 06:36 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Rochester area has seen and will see a significant drop in experience and influence in the New York State Legislature.

Since 2018, seven local lawmakers have either left office, lost a leadership position, are retiring or might retire this year.

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Combined, they represent 139 years of experience.

What happens when that experience and influence goes away?

Watching the governor’s speech was state Senator Joe Robach. 

This is his last State of the State because he’s retiring after 29 years in the State Legislature. 

Berkeley Brean, News10NBC: “That loss of experience among lawmakers of the Rochester delegation. Should it be a concern?”

Joe Robach, (R) State Senate: “I don’t know if it’s a concern. I mean we represent people. I’m hopeful that whoever those next people are they will get that. The important thing is that there of purpose of representing Rochester not New York City and standing up in Albany for what people want where we live not what they want in New York City.”

Senator Michael Ranzenhofer is retiring after 12 years.

Senator Rich Funke is retiring after six years. 

After three decades in Albany, Joe Morelle left for Congress in 2018 and he was the Assembly Majority Leader. 

Assemblyman Brian Kolb just resigned as Assembly Minority Leader. 

Two years ago, Wayne County Assemblyman Bob Oaks retired after 26 years. 

Rochester and Gates Assemblyman David Gantt might retire for health reasons after 38 years. 

If he does, it leaves Rochester’s Harry Bronson as the longest-serving local state lawmaker.

He was elected in 2010.

Harry Bronson, (D) Assembly: “Experience is a piece of it but it also needs to have ideas and innovation and creativity.”

Mark Johns, (R) Assembly: “Well it’s a concern but let’s be honest. We can come up with new people.”

Blair Horner runs the New York Public Interest Research Group, an Albany watchdog.

Blair Horner, NYPIRG: “Albany is a lot about seniority when it comes to committee chairs and power in the legislative process and intro upstate generally and Rochester and Monroe County, in particular, have taken a hit.”

Think about this:

Two years ago, the majority and minority leaders of the assembly were from Rochester. 

So were the chairs of the transportation committees, And the chair of the senate tourism committee. 

Those leadership positions are gone. 


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