Avella Joins IDC

BY JOE MARVILLI
Staff Writer

Another Queens Democrat has jumped ship, switching over to the Independent Democratic Conference.

On Wednesday, State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) announced that he would be joining the IDC, boosting its membership to five. Even though Democrats would appear to hold the majority in the chamber, the IDC shares power with the State GOP, tilting the numbers in their favor.

State Sen. Tony Avella

State Sen. Tony Avella

The senator said the IDC’s agenda and policies drew him to the caucus.

“The IDC has developed a clear, progressive agenda for New York’s working families. They have shown an ability to get big things done, without the dysfunction of years past,” he said. “I look forward to being part of a team that has consistently delivered big results for New Yorkers.”

Avella joins IDC Leader and Senate Co-President Jeff Klein (D-Bronx), State Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island), State Sen. David Valesky (D-Oneida), and Sen. David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) in the conference that first formed in early 2011.

Although there are 32 Democrats in the State Senate, divisions among them mean that the 29-member GOP conference has a larger say with the IDC on their side. Two City Democrats, State Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) and John Sampson (D-Brooklyn), do not sit with any caucus due to the indictments against them.

Klein welcomed Avella to the IDC, saying his years of involvement would make him a valued member of the conference.

“Senator Avella’s passion for public service makes him a great fit for the Independent Democratic Conference,” Klein said. “He will be a major asset in our fight to make New York more affordable for working families.”

U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), the chair of the Queens Democratic Party, said he was disappointed by Avella’s decision to join the IDC in conjunction with the Republican members.

“It is my hope he won’t abandon the democratic principles that are so important to our county,” Crowley said.

Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, jmarvilli@queenstribune.com, or @Joey788.