With the announcement that Long Island State Senator Dean Skelos will replace Joe Bruno as the New York State Senate Majority Leader, Skelos immediately becomes one of the so called "three men in a room". The three men in a room concept comes from the belief that the Governor, the Assembly Majority Leader and the Senate Majority Leader are the three most powerful men in the state.
Add to that the fact that all statewide officeholders are from downstate, as columnist Tom Precious illustrates in a Buffalo News article from last week, and you have a certain level of uneasiness among the Western New York community. Is it warranted? Skelos has come right out and said that he is not from NYC, and immediately recognized that "whether you live outside Buffalo or Montauk, your property taxes are choking you. That is the No. 1 issue." That's good to hear right out of the gate.
Governor David Paterson wants to run for a full term when his current term expires. He must deliver for Upstate if he is going to win. He must deliver on his promises. Of course, Hillary promised 200,000 jobs to Upstate, and while Upstate has hemorrhaged jobs, Clinton still, amazingly, continues to receive support in our region. But I digress. Paterson will need to show success in Western New York. With the GOP holding a slender majority in the Senate, Skelos will work to retain those GOP Senators, many of whom represent Upstate districts.
Skelos, a week into his new position, will begin a "listening tour" of Upstate in Buffalo this week. He is to meet with area community and business leaders, gathering feedback on the needs of Western New York. That's a good start to what is hopefully a new beginning for Upstate.