Assemblyman Joseph Morelle, D-Irondequoit, Monroe County, is on the short list to serve as the Assembly’s majority leader as Assemblyman Ronald Canestrari, D-Cohoes, announces his retirement today.
“I’ve heard the rumors that Joe is in the mix,” said Assemblyman Harry Bronson, D-Rochester, a freshman lawmaker who is close with Morelle. “I’ve worked closely with Joe. I think he has a really good relationship with members of our conference, and he has certainly done a very good job with the Monroe County Democratic Committee. He has exhibited good leadership skills, and I think he would be a good leader.”
Morelle has several things going for him to succeed Canestrari: He is close with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. And as Jimmy Veilkind points out, the post usually goes to an upstate lawmaker to offset the Assembly’s power base in New York City.
Morelle is also the Monroe County Democratic Committee chairman, holding a powerful post back home. He also spurned attempts to woo him to serve as president of the state Business Council, instead staking his future to the Assembly.
Morelle could not be reached for comment this morning.
Updated: Morelle put out a statement praising Canestrari, but doesn’t mention potential bid to succeed him.
“Ron Canestrari has served New Yorkers for more than 40 years with great distinction and rare integrity,” Morelle said. “Whether as an Army veteran, mayor or Assembly majority leader, his devotion to duty has never wavered, and he has always approached those duties with a kind and generous spirit. I am honored to have called him both colleague and friend, and I wish him all the best in the future.”