2006-10-06 / Community

Malcolm Smith Named Senate Minority Leader

By Howard Schwach

Malcolm Smith, who represents Rockaway in the New York State Senate in Albany, has been named to a slot that could, if the Democrats ever take power in that body from the Republican majority, become one of the most powerful politicians in the state.

On Thursday, Smith was endorsed by the Senate Democratic Conference to become the minority leader and the leader of the state's Democrats who serve in the Senate.

Smith replaces Senator David Patterson, who left the Senate to run for Lieutenant Governor.

Smith, 50 and a former real estate developer in Rockaway, will have little power unless the Democrats take the majority in the Senate, experts say. If they ever do, then Smith would join the small group of politicians, the Governor and the Assembly Speaker, who actually weld the power in the state capitol.

Political insiders say that Smith got the position by putting together a coalition of senators from western New York State and New York City, as well as a large number of the body's black members.

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