McLaughlin, assemblyman turns executive

January 01, 2018 06:54 PM

TROY - Steve McLaughlin has been sworn into office four times before Monday, but as of now, he's no longer an assemblyman. He's the new Rensselaer County Executive.

"It's a little surreal," McLaughlin said of the experience New Year's Day, after being sworn in at the Rensselaer County Courthouse, "You feel around midnight last night, I'm no longer an assemblyman and now county executive, so it's a little odd packing up an Assembly office."

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McLaughlin says he feels uniquely qualified in his new political role, because he understands how things operate at the Capitol.

"As I just said to Senator Marchione, jokingly, I said, 'You know Albany's killing us with these unfunded mandates,'" McLaughlin quips.

Meanwhile at the State Capitol on Monday afternoon, when Assemblyman John McDonald (D - Cohoes) gaveled the Assembly into session, the chamber was empty. McLaughlin's 7 1/2 year run ended at midnight December 31. And Schoharie Assemblyman Pete Lopez's name plate was taken down months ago when he took a job with the Trump Administration.

"Quite frankly, the budget process is overwhelming to begin with for anyone whose been around for several years," McDonald states, "let alone someone who walks into the middle of it."

McDonald says he's already been getting phone calls from McLaughlin's former constituents and promises to help out when he can.

"I'll be reaching out to all the Rensselaer County chief executives to say if something comes up that needs legislation, please consider my office to be there to assist."

Meanwhile, Senator Kathy Marchione (R - Halfmoon) still represents many Rensselaer County residents in the Senate and believes she understands their needs.

"I think people are still hurting and I think the economy is getting better, but for me it's a lot about the economy," Marchione says.

McLaughlin says he expects Governor Cuomo to call for special elections to fill McLaughlin's and Lopez's seats some time in the spring, after the budget process ends.

McLaughlin's time in the Assembly and his campaign for the county executive post were not without controversy. He spoke about it briefly Monday, responding to reporters' questions.

WEB EXTRA: Steve McLauglin reacts to 'Times Union' story about abuse claims

"It doesn't remain a controversy," McLaughlin stated. "It's been addressed. The person recanted it and now has recanted (again). I'm not going to talk about it. It's at this point getting to be a little bit ridiculous. The same person just sent me a Christmas card apologizing for everything that went on. We're not going to discuss this."


Dan Levy

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