DeFrancisco replaces Libous as Senate deputy leader

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In May, Long Island Republican John Flanagan edged out Syracuse colleague John DeFrancisco for the title of state Senate majority leader.

On Thursday, Flanagan made DeFrancisco his No. 2.

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DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse, will take on the title of Senate deputy majority leader, Flanagan announced Thursday afternoon. The position was vacated by the felony conviction last week of now-former Sen. Thomas Libous, who was the Senate’s second-ranking Republican since 2008.

“John DeFrancisco is a key part of our leadership team and a staunch advocate for the needs of every region of the state, including Upstate New York,” Flanagan said in a statement. “As a colleague and a friend, I am confident he will be a strong Deputy Majority Leader whose knowledge and experience will help move our pro-growth, pro-taxpayer agenda forward in the coming months and years.”

With Libous’ removal, Senate Republicans have now replaced their top two leaders in the past two months. Flanagan, R-Suffolk County, replaced then-Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, in May after Skelos arrested on corruption charges.

On the Democratic side, former Sen. John Sampson, D-Brooklyn — the former Senate Democratic leader — was convicted in federal court last week and removed from office.

Flanagan chose to keep Libous as deputy leader despite Libous’ looming trial. At the time, Flanagan said he believed Libous was “entitled” to the role, citing his experience in the position.

As deputy leader, DeFrancisco (pictured) serves as the Republican’s floor leader, guiding the chamber through session each day lawmakers are in Albany. He filled in the role as Libous recovered from surgery this year.

“I look forward to continuing to work with John Flanagan and the entire Senate Republican team in this new role,” DeFrancisco said in a statement. “It is important that we redouble our efforts to help further our priorities of controlling state spending, reducing the tax burden on our citizens, and creating jobs in the State of New York.”

(AP file photo/Mike Groll)

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