2015-02-04 / Features

Statement From Assemblymember Catherine Nolan

Let me first thank my husband, Gerry, and my son, Nicky, and my extended family who have
always stood by me in every public decision. Their love and patience this hectic week has been
a blessing.

I want to thank the people of the 37th Assembly District. I have won their support in 16
elections and I appreciate that I heard from so many urging me to go forward and enter my name into the discussion about the next Speaker for the Assembly.

I also want to thank my Queens colleagues and Congressman Joe Crowley for meeting with me to discuss my candidacy as I did with so many colleagues this past week. I particularly want to acknowledge those colleagues who gave me support and encouragement and also those who were forthright in telling me that they prefer another candidate. Our Assembly Democratic Majority Conference is strong because we are candid with each other.

My only disappointment in this process is my disagreement with those who seemed to say a new Speaker of the Assembly must be from New York City. As someone who was born in Syracuse, New York, I believe that you can represent all of New York State no matter where you live.

I did not drop out of this process even as many reported various vote totals and withdrawn
candidacies because I think, in this crisis, it is essential that all members of the state legislature examine our rules and look closely at proposals for reform and openness. We announced last week that we would have a more open discussion about who would lead our conference and I think, with the challenges we are facing, we needed to stick to that decisions. Indeed, I would have preferred a vote on February 10 which would have allowed for discussion and review of proposals for reform and perhaps have allowed some new rules to go forward in tandem with the election of a new Speaker.

The awful crisis in confidence that has developed in the New York State Legislature needs to be addressed. I must admit that, as someone whose legislative career has been more involved in developing a paid family leave bill when I chaired the Labor Committee or advocating for local school aid budget issues as Chair of the Education Committee, I have not been as involved with issues about Assembly rules. It is clear now, however, that every member of the legislature must do more in this regard. I intend to keep meeting with reform minded caucuses, individual members and advocacy groups to be able to recommend various proposals.

I am as aware of the historic nature of Assemblyman Carl Heastie’s candidacy as I am of my
own. I believe that I have put at least a scratch in the glass ceiling for women. I congratulate
Assemblyman Heastie and I understand the joy that his election will bring to all communities of our state.

I offer both Assemblyman Heastie and Majority Leader Morelle my support and willingness to work hard for the people of New York.

Thank you.

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