Flanagan emphasizes unity as he takes the reins

Republican senator is replacing Dean Skelos as Senate majority leader

From left: John DeFrancisco and John Flanagan
From left: John DeFrancisco and John Flanagan

John Flanagan, the Republican state senator who will replace Dean Skelos as Senate majority leader, will try to pull the conference together after regional differences defined the discussion over Skelos’ successor.

Skelos stepped down from his leadership position yesterday in the wake of a corruption scandal. The contenders to replace him were Flanagan, who is from Long Island, and John DeFrancisco, from Syracuse, according to Capital New York.

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Upstate lawmakers tended to favor DeFrancisco, who voted against a strict gun-control measure known as the SAFE Act.

“One of the hallmarks of our conference is our ability to work together,” Flanagan said. “We don’t always agree. But at the end of the day I think we put a unified, strong foot forward regardless of what the subject matter may be.”

The new majority leader also expressed the need to act quickly. “I believe that we are at a juncture right now where we have a tight window of time,” he said. “We have important significant issues to be dealt with and certainly after this I’m going to be rolling up my sleeves.” [Capital NY] — Tess Hofmann