Silver Defends Record On Women’s Rights

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Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has been on the defensive for his secret settlement of a sexual harassment case against veteran Assemblyman Vito Lopez.

But Silver told reporters earlier today that he has a strong record in supporting women’s rights, and the Democratic convention would highlight the party’s difference from Republicans.

“I think I have a record in terms of this election, which will pit the Republican war on women against the Democratic president and the Democratic ideals,” said Silver, who has been speaker since 1994.

“The New York state Assembly under my leadership has led the way in terms of women, in terms of choice, in terms of reproductive health, in terms of doing pay equity, in terms of having more women in significant leadership positions,” he continued.

Silver said the Assembly probably has more women in leadership position than any other legislature in the country.

And for those reasons, he sees no reason why he shouldn’t lead the state delegation at the convention here in Charlotte. He plans to speak Tuesday morning at the delegation’s daily breakfast, and he will announce New York’s votes for President Obama on the convention floor Tuesday night.

“I’ve been doing for many years and there should be no change,” Silver said of his convention role.

But he did admit that he should have handled the settlement with more transparency, so no employee should fear coming forward with an allegation.

“In one of things in dealing with it, you absolutely do not want to discourage somebody from coming forward in the future,” he said. “I think we were wrong on confidentiality, I think we should not have agreed to a settlement that contained a confidentiality clause.”

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  1. The theme song for the NY delegation should be “How Long Has This Been Going On?” by the Gershwin brothers. Make a cogent bet: Longer than the song (Written in 1928). Silver is a hypocritical panderer. Aid he ain’t alone up there. As Bob Dylan sang in ‘Oxfortown,’ – “Somebody better investigate soon.”