ALBANY, NY – Senate Democratic leader John Sampson said at a Saturday-morning rally held by the National Action Network in Harlem that he’d be willing to step aside from his post in the conference if that’s what it takes to heal the fractured Senate Democratic Conference with the five-member Independent Democratic Conference (IDC).
“This is bigger than me, this is bigger than my colleagues — because it is the people’s agenda,” Sampson said. "I will not be an impediment for us to get the majority. So I’m telling you I’m going to work hard from now until we go into session to get us back the majority, and when we get back the majority I will step down and not be a majority leader.”
“I’ve not seen that kind of leadership in a long time,” Sharpton said. Those in attendance erupted in applause, not for the removal of Sampson, but for one of their own to be willing to shift power and control in the hands of Democrats.
Lots of attention has been generated recently between black senators and advocates of late.
At the rally, the recent IDC addition Senator Malcolm Smith (D-Queens) was compared to a cockroach multiple times. Smith was called a turncoat by some, but others felt that his move was for leverage and that he'll easily return into the Democratic fold.
The general consensus, however, was about unity, strengthening the alliances of minority members who are being compounded with political maneuvers behind the scenes.
“Backroom deals are putting us in the back of the bus again,” Bill Perkins repeated in a rising voice, citing missed chairmanship and issues that he said would be ignored if the IDC-Republican coalition holds. ”
Westchester County Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, a contender to succeed Sampson said, "Blacks were suffering from a 'delusion' that Barack Obama’s election had brought an end to racism." She said charges that the Senate Democrats were dysfunctional were “code words for ‘black folks in charge."