Working Across Party Lines Essential To County

Just because the state Legislature is out of session doesn’t mean politics takes a break.

State Democrats have spent a good portion of this summer pressuring an eight-member group of Democrats called the Independent Democratic Conference to stop siding with Senate Republicans and to come back into the fold. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said unifying Senate Democrats was one of his goals. Another group of Democrats called the NY Progressive Caucus has called for the state Democratic Committee to demand the IDC to begin caucusing with the Democrats or lose state party donations and help from local Democrats.

It may not seem like it, but this political arm-twisting has an effect on Chautauqua County.

Twice this summer, state Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, has trumpeted major funding announcements that will help Chautauqua County residents by securing funding for water line improvements to 10 Celoron homes and to widen portions of Route 60 to make the road safer. Additionally, her role as chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee places her in position to exert a common-sense influence on state fiscal policy and protect the interests of Chautauqua County residents and businesses.

Young has worked hard to earn her position, but it wouldn’t be possible without the IDC. The group has shown itself willing to work across party lines, siding with Republicans on some matters and with Democrats on others, while allowing the best senators to rise to leadership positions rather than simply give the positions to party hacks.

Losing the IDC and its moderating presence on state politics would be bad enough for Chautauqua County — but it could be disastrous for New York state.