Updated 06/20/2012 06:38 PM
Assemblymen say Albany functions much better than year's past
Thursday's final vote in the legislative session will mark the last for three local democrats. Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari and fellow democrats Jack McEneny and Bob Reilly have decided not to seek reelection. Each reflected on his time in office with our Brandon Walker.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- As the final bills file in and out these last days of the legislative session, Thursday's adjournment will be bittersweet for three outgoing assemblymen.
"Every year is different," said Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari.
That is fair to say, considering Canestrari has spent 24 years at the Capitol, the last five as majority leader.
"Well, I'll never forget my first bill, that's for sure. Having to do with the public service commission, nothing earth shaking," remarked Canestrari.
Over the course of three decades, he said it is much easier to legislate in Albany. Seniority has something to do with that.
Canestrari announced his retirement in April, joining two of his democratic colleagues, Assemblymen Jack McEneny and Bob Reilly.
"It's like which one of your children do you like the best. I think history will say which bills were the most significant," McEneny said.
"Probably, what I'll go down for as far as the greatest accomplishment as an individual is stopping mixed martial arts from being legalized in New York State," Reilly said.
On the way out, we had to ask how Albany has changed over the length of their careers and for each of the assemblymen, we received the same answer.
"There is less tension, more is getting done in a bipartisan manner and the atmosphere in getting it done has changed dramatically," said Canestrari.
"The term dysfunctional is no longer associated with the New York government, both executive and legislature," McEneny said.
And Reilly remarked, "I think the greatest change is right now we have stability and that's with the governor providing leadership and then the legislature can work with such a person."
With that apparent personality check to Albany's long-storied tales of political impasse, all three said challenges linger.
Primarily, a possible check to the state's teacher evaluation system. Legislation that most likely won't make it to the floor by Thursday.