Associate Professor of Political Science DeWayne Lucas was quoted in an article in the Daily Messenger about the tough road facing Republican politicians in Upstate New York for the next few years, given the power shift in New York not only to Democrats, but to people from downstate.
“It’s going to be harder for Republican candidates to push a clear agenda. They’re going to have an uphill battle,” said Lucas in the article. “This is the opportunity for the Democrats to make it difficult to achieve their goals.”
Hobart alum Richard Rosenbaum ’52, P’86 was also quoted in the article, as former chairman of the state Republican party. Rosenbaum was a recent President’s Forum Speaker at HWS, offering first-hand experience on being elected into U.S. office.
The article quotes him as saying, “The Senate, even though the Democrats now control it, there are enough Republicans that they don’t want to be too rough with them, or they’ll give them problems.”
Both were also consulted about the possibility that member item grants might become more difficult for local (Republican) politicians to obtain.
“Their ability to get those grants is hurt, but not completely hindered. Grants are not going to be completely shut off, it’s just the size of the grants is going to go down,” Lucas is quoted.
Rosenbaum’s answer was given as, “It’s very speculative, it’s impossible to predict, but it just seems logical that they would have more difficulty.”
A member of the faculty since 2000, Lucas teaches courses on Introduction to American Politics, Elections and Voting, Political Parties in the United States, and The American Congress. He holds a B.A. from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and his M.A. and Ph.D. from State University at Binghamton.
The full article in the Daily Messenger appears below.
Don’t forget about upstate
By Alex Bauer • staff writer • Nov 07, 2008
Rochester, N.Y. –
DeWayne Lucas, a political science professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, said upstate Republican politicians have their work cut out for them over the next few years.
“It’s going to be harder for Republican candidates to push a clear agenda. They’re going to have an uphill battle,” Lucas said. “This is the opportunity for the Democrats to make it difficult to achieve their goals.”
The Democratic Party now commands the governor’s office, the Assembly and the state Senate for the first time since the 1930s era of the New Deal. And all three of those leaders are from downstate.
Gov. David Paterson represented Harlem for 20 years in the Senate before landing in the governor’s mansion this year. Manhattan’s Sheldon Silver has been Assembly speaker since 1994. And Malcolm Smith of Queens, provided he keeps his caucus unified, is poised to become the new majority leader in the Senate in January.
Smith may have as much work ahead of him as upstate Republicans. A so-called “Gang of Four” Senate Democrats – all from New York City – has threatened to defect to the Republicans.
In the meantime, Republican Assemblyman Brian Kolb of Canandaigua said that despite the fact that Democrats have taken majority control of the state Senate, Republicans will stay play a major role in the decision-making process.
“Do I think it’s going to hurt the area short term? No,” Kolb said. “The senators I work with in our area – Senator Volker and Senator Nozzolio – they are very well respected in Albany and they’ve got a lot of seniority.
“What we really don’t know is – how will the Democrats govern? How will they treat upstate as a whole?”
State Sen. Jim Alesi, a Republican whose 55th district encompasses parts of Monroe County – including Chili, Henrietta, Irondequoit and Penfield – expressed concerns about Democratic control.
“Every single statewide office holder – comptroller, attorney general, governor – are all Democrats but, more specifically, they’re all from New York City,” he said. “That could have significant ramifications for upstate New York.”
As usual with New York’s regional divisions, upstate reactions revolve around economics – especially the extra difficulties of finding good jobs in fading manufacturing hubs like Binghamton and Buffalo or, more so, in the small towns and agricultural hinterland stretching from the Southern Tier to the North Country.
Richard Rosenbaum, a Rochester attorney and former chairman of the state Republican party, has confidence that local state senators will not let upstate become an afterthought in Albany.
Rosenbaum thinks Nozzolio and Volker will work hard to make sure upstate gets the attention it needs from state officials.
“The Senate, even though the Democrats now control it, there are enough Republicans that they don’t want to be too rough with them, or they’ll give them problems,” he said.
Under Albany’s top-down system, leaders of the majorities control which communities get millions, which businesses get tax breaks, even which bills get debated. Newly departed Republican Senate leader Joseph Bruno played the system extremely well, steering pork by the barrel to his Albany-area district.
Some wonder if obtaining member item grants – money the majority party gives its party representatives without much oversight – will be more difficult for locals like Nozzolio and Volker – neither of whom was available for comment Thursday.
“Their ability to get those grants is hurt, but not completely hindered. Grants are not going to be completely shut off, it’s just size of the grants is going to go down,” said Hobart and William Smith’s Lucas.
Rosenbaum isn’t sure what will happen with those grants, but doesn’t think obtaining them will be any easier for Republicans.
“It’s very speculative, it’s impossible to predict, but it just seems logical that they would have more difficulty,” he said.
Alesi said acquiring these grants is only a “very small part” of the work the senators do.
Kolb insisted that everything will be OK.
“I think we’ll be fine,” he said. “It’s going to be different.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story