Focus Intensifies on the Undecideds in the New York State Senate

As adjournment nears for the New York State Legislature, there’s an increasing focus on the State Senators who can make marriage equality a reality. The Albany Times-Union focuses on one, Senator Roy McDonald and identifies the other targets:

In recent months, Sen. Roy McDonald, a Saratoga Republican, hasn’t taken either side — at least not in public.

Neither Breslin nor Farley is mentioned much in the debate about same-sex marriage, which failed in the Senate in 2009 but is pushed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

McDonald, however, has been a focus of much lobbying as supporters and opponents alike are trying to woo him to their side.

McDonald is one of a handful of senators from both parties — along with Andrew Lanza, R-Staten Island; Greg Ball, R-Putnam County; Joe Addabbo and Shirley Huntley, D-Queens; and Jim Alesi, R-Monroe County — who, for better or for worse, have left themselves wiggle room.

We need them to wiggle our way. Remember, in the NY Senate, the roll is called alphabetically. Addabbo and Alesi will set the tone.

The other side knows who the undecideds are, of course:

“There’ll be a small number of senators we’ll continue to focus on, and he’ll be one of them,” said Dennis Poust, a spokesman for the New York State Catholic Conference, which opposes same-sex marriage. “Clearly Sen. McDonald is someone who is very important in this debate, and we are urging Catholics in his district to get in touch with him and voice their opposition.”

It goes without saying, if you live in the districts of these Senators — or know anyone who lives in their districts — call them today. Make those calls everyday until the vote.

We probably won’t be getting whip lists for the New York State Senate from our advocacy groups. So many of the professional lobbyist types don’t want to target people publicly because they’ll get yelled at. Last year, SLDN named the names of the U.S. Senators who were undecided on DADT. SLDN got a lot of push back from the other groups. But, we won.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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