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Puerto Rican Now Head Of NY State Senate

CaribWorldNews, ALBANY, N.Y., Fri. July 10, 2009:  Over a month after he joined with Republicans to essentially shut down the New York Senate, Puerto Rican-born, Bronx Senator, Pedro Espada, Jr. yesterday returned to the Democratic fold and was handed the reins of Senate majority leader.

Espada`s return and appointment brought an end to the drama that had halted the business of the people of New York state following the June 8th coup when both he and Senator Hiram Montserrat joined with the Republicans to take control of the Senate briefly and then leave it divided 31-31.

The senator’s return Thursday gives Democrats a 32-30 majority for the first time since the June 8 coup. His appointment as majority leader means Malcolm Smith, the former head with Jamaican roots, is out of the post.

Espada`s move comes after Democratic Gov. David Paterson`s shocking decision to appoint a lieutenant governor to preside over the Senate, giving his party the upper hand in a chamber that`s been divided.

`Today I stand here with another title,` he said Thursday at a news conference with Smith at his side. `I tell you very clearly, I have always been a Democrat. I will continue to be a Democrat. I never left home. I had a little leave of absence.`

Espada was born in Puerto Rico and moved with his family to the mainland U.S. at age five. Smith became the Senate`s temporary president Thursday. He said the Senate would return to session tomorrow. Senators have performed no official business since the surprise uprising.

Meanwhile, more political drama could be in store for Paterson appointed lieutenant governor, businessman Richard Ravitch.

A state Supreme Court judge in Long Island yesterday issued a temporary restraining order not long after that appointment, preventing Ravitch from assuming the duties of lieutenant governor. The case is to be heard in Supreme Court at 11 a.m. today, Friday, July 10th.