Assemblyman Thomas Kirwan, R-Newburgh, returned to the Capitol today as the victor of one of the longest undecided races in state history. He was sworn in this afternoon, with a packed Assembly Republican chamber cheering him on.
“They do return to the scene of the crime,” Kirwan, 78, a former state trooper, joked.
Kirwan was sworn in by Court of Claims judge and Acting Supreme Court Justice Catherine Bartlett. Kirwan’s wife, Verna, held the Bible.
Kirwan represents the 100th Assembly District, which includes parts of Orange, Dutchess and Ulster counties. He beat Democratic incumbent Frank Skartados by 15 votes after an array of court challenges. Kirwan was declared the victor earlier this month, and his election will be certified this week.
Kirwan served for 14 years in Albany before being beaten by Skartados in 2008. Kirwan said he’s happy to be back, saying he hopes to be able to help Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, with his cost-cutting agenda.
The seat is important because Democrats now do not have enough members to override a governor’s veto. State law allows the Assembly and Senate to override a veto with two-thirds vote of the chamber. But with Kirwan, Republicans have 51 seats in the Assembly compared to 99 for Democrats, stripping Democrats of the ability to override a veto without help from the GOP.
“It’s nice to be back with the governor practicing what we’ve been preaching for two decades,” Kirwan said. “It’s going to be a good time to be able to sustain whatever the governor vetoes.”