Assemblyman Joseph Morelle is again among the leading candidates to become the next majority leader following Ronald Canestrari’s announcement Tuesday he will not run for re-election.
Canestrari, D-Cohoes, has been majority leader in the Assembly since being appointed by Speaker Sheldon Silver in January 2007. He replaced Buffalo-area representative Paul Tokasz, who chose not to run for re-election to the Assembly.
“Ron Canestrari has served New Yorkers for more than 40 years with great distinction and rare integrity,” Morelle said in a statement Tuesday. “I am honored to have called him both colleague and dear friend, and I wish him all the best in the future.”
Morelle represents the 132nd District, which includes Irondequoit, Brighton and portions of the city of Rochester. He is chairman of the Monroe County Democratic Committee.
Morelle, D-Irondequoit, was considered a top contender five years ago before Canestrari was selected by Silver. At the time, Morelle also had expressed interest in running for state comptroller.
“Ron has been a great friend, trusted confidant and advisor,” Silver, D-Manhattan, said in a statement, “and I know I speak for the entire New York State Assembly when I say that he will be missed.”
RoAnn Destito of the Utica area also was mentioned five years ago as a successor to Tokasz. She left the Assembly in 2011 after being appointed commissioner of the state Office of General Services by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The Assembly majority leader post traditionally is assigned to an upstate representative. It has not been held by a Monroe County assemblyman since Republican Simon Adler from 1915 to 1926.
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