Saul Weprin

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Saul Weprin (August 5, 1927 - February 11, 1994) was an American attorney and politician. He was a Democratic member from Queens County of the New York State Assembly, and served as its Speaker from December 1991 until his death.

Early life and career[edit]

Saul Weprin was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Jewish parents who had emigrated from the Kiev area. He went to Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn,[1] and graduated from Brooklyn College in 1948 and Brooklyn Law School in 1951.[2] He practiced law at the Manhattan law firm of Thelen, Marrin, Johnson & Bridges until he became Speaker of the New York State Assembly in 1991. He served in the United States Coast Guard in 1945.[1]

In the late 1950s he became president of his cooperative apartment board in Hollis, Queens, in 1962 he became Democratic leader of the 24th Assembly District. He was first elected to the New York State Assembly in a special election in 1971, where he served as chairman of the Commerce Committee and the Judiciary Committee. In 1986 he tried to become Speaker after Stanley Fink announced his resignation, but lost to Mel Miller. In 1987, he got the post of Ways and Means Committee chairman, and was instrumental in developing the Tax Reform and Reduction Act, one of the largest tax cuts in American history. On December 16, 1991, he was elected Speaker “after a lightning-like round of politicking by telephone among the Democrats in the Assembly”,[2] after Speaker Mel Miller had lost his seat in the Assembly upon being convicted on federal fraud charges, later overturned on appeal.[3]

Weprin was an opponent of the death penalty and a supporter of abortion rights. He pushed the first gay rights bill through the Assembly, sought to increase state aid for schools in New York, and defended the state's Medicaid and welfare programs against cuts proposed by the Republican-controlled Senate.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Weprin married Sylvia Matz in 1950, a biology teacher, who was born in Cuba and emigrated to the United States with her family in 1938,[4] when she was eight years old.[5] He died on February 11, 1994, at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens from complications resulting from a stroke.[1]

The couple had three sons, Barry Weprin, an attorney in New York, Mark Weprin, who won his father's former seat, and served in the Assembly until January 2010, when he was elected to the New York City Council seat vacated by his brother David Weprin, who, after an unsuccessful run for New York City Comptroller, succeeded him in the Assembly in 2010.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Sack, Kevin (February 12, 1994). "Saul Weprin Is Dead at 66; Sought Assembly Harmony". New York Times. p. 10; Column 1. 
  2. ^ a b Verhovek, Sam Howe (December 15, 1991). "Cuomo Ally Seals Race for Speaker in New York State". New York Times. 
  3. ^ Verhovek, Sam Howe (December 17, 1991). "Man in the News: Saul Weprin; A Quiet Conciliator". New York Times. 
  4. ^ Lombardi, Frank (March 1, 2002). "Applicant Stirs Council Caucus". New York Daily News. 
  5. ^ "Sylvia Weprin Feinstein Receives Award at Somos Conference". Room8. April 13, 2009. 
New York Assembly
Preceded by
Martin Rodell
New York State Assembly, 21st District
1971 – 1972
Succeeded by
George Farrell
Preceded by
Arthur Cooperman
New York State Assembly, 24th District
1973 – 1994
Succeeded by
Mark Weprin
Political offices
Preceded by
James R. Tallon, Jr.
Acting
Speaker of the New York State Assembly
1991 - 1994
Succeeded by
Sheldon Silver