Speaker of the New York State Assembly

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Speaker of the New York State Assembly
Seal of New York.svg
Seal of New York
SpeakerSilver.jpg
Incumbent
Sheldon Silver

since February 11, 1994
Style The Honorable (diplomatic)
Mister Speaker (within the assembly)
Inaugural holder Walter Livingston
September 10, 1777
Formation New York State Constitution
Succession Third
Website [1]

The Speaker of the New York State Assembly is the highest official in the New York State Assembly, customarily elected from the ranks of the majority party.

As in most countries with a British heritage, the speaker presides over the lower house of the legislature. (The position exists in every U.S. state and in the United States House of Representatives, the lower house of the Congress. New York's Assembly Speaker is very powerful. Effectively, the Speaker of the New York Assembly has the power to control much of the business in the Assembly and, in fact, throughout all of state government. Through almost single-handed control of the chamber, the Assembly Speaker is able to dictate what legislation makes and does not make it to the floor and will punish the members of his caucus who do not vote in his favor (for example, former assembly majority leader Michael Bragman losing his leadership post after running against current speaker Sheldon Silver). Through this and heavy gerrymandering that has given him a near-permanent supermajority, the Assembly Speaker rarely faces any challenge to his post.

List of Speakers[edit]

Note[edit]

Originally, the legislative term lasted one year, from July 1 until June 30 of the next year. The members were elected at the state election in April, but the actual session began ordinarily only in January of the next calendar year, which leads occasionally to some confusion. Only if the governor called for a special session is the Assembly convened earlier. For example, in presidential election years the Assembly convened already in November to elect the presidential electors. The speaker was always elected at the first meeting of the Assembly for the remainder of the term, expiring on June 30.

The State Constitution of 1821 moved the election to November, and the beginning of the term to January 1, and from 1823 on, the legislative term coincides with the calendar year. The assembly convened usually on the first Tuesday in January and elected the speaker, who stayed in office until December 31.

An amendment to the State Constitution, adopted in November 1937, extended the assemblymen's term to two years, beginning with the electees of November 1938 who served the first two-year term in 1939-40. The elections are held in even-numbered years.

From 1777 to 1822[edit]

  • (1st Session, convened at Kingston and Poughkeepsie) September 10, 1777 - June 30, 1778 Walter Livingston from Albany County [1]
  • (2nd S., at Poughkeepsie) October 13, 1778 - June 30, 1779 Walter Livingston from Albany County
  • (3rd S., at Kingston and Albany) August 18, 1779 - July 2, 1780 Evert Bancker from New York County
  • (4th S., at Poughkeepsie and Albany) September 7, 1780 - July 1, 1781 Evert Bancker from New York County
  • (5th S., at Poughkeepsie) October 24, 1781 - June 30, 1782 Evert Bancker from New York County
  • (6th S., at Poughkeepsie and Kingston) July 11, 1782 - June 30, 1783 Evert Bancker from New York County
  • (7th S.) January 21 - June 30, 1784 John Hathorn from Orange County
  • (8th S., at New York City) October 12, 1784 - June 30, 1785 David Gelston from Suffolk County [2]
  • (9th S., at New York City) January 12 - June 30, 1786 John Lansing, Jr. from Albany County
  • (10th S., at New York City) January 12 - June 30, 1787 Richard Varick from New York County
  • (11th S., at Poughkeepsie) January 9 - June 30, 1788 Richard Varick from New York County
  • (12th S., at Albany) December 11, 1788 - June 30, 1789 John Lansing, Jr. from Albany County
  • (13th S., at Albany and New York City) July 6, 1789 - June 30, 1790 Gulian Verplanck (Fed.) from New York County
  • (14th S., at New York City) January 5 - June 30, 1791 John Watts from New York County
  • (15th S., at New York City) January 4 - June 30, 1792 John Watts from New York County
  • (16th S., at New York City) November 6, 1792 - June 30, 1793 John Watts from New York County
  • (17th S., at Albany) January 7 - June 30, 1794 James Watson, (Fed.) from New York County
  • (18th S., at Poughkeepsie and New York City) January 6 - June 30, 1795 William North (Fed.) of Albany County
  • (19th S., at New York City) January 6 - June 30, 1796 William North (Fed.) of Albany County
  • (20th S., at New York City and Albany) November 1, 1796 - June 30, 1797 Gulian Verplanck (Fed.) from New York [3]
  • (21st S.) January 2 - June 30, 1798 Dirck Ten Broeck (Fed.) of Albany County
  • (22nd S.) August 9, 1798 - June 30, 1799 Dirck Ten Broeck (Fed.) of Albany County
  • (23rd S.) January 28 - June 30, 1800 Dirck Ten Broeck (Fed.) of Albany County
  • (24th S.) November 4, 1800 - June 30, 1801 Samuel Osgood, from New York County
  • (25th S.) January 26 - June 30, 1802 Thomas Storm from New York County
  • (26th S.) January 25 - June 30, 1803 Thomas Storm from New York County
  • (27th S.) January 31 - June 30, 1804 Alexander Sheldon from Montgomery County
  • (28th S.) November 6, 1804 - June 30, 1805 Alexander Sheldon from Montgomery County
  • (29th S.) January 28 - June 30, 1806 Alexander Sheldon (Clintonian) from Montgomery County
  • (30th S.) January 27 - June 30, 1807 Andrew McCord (Lewisite) from Orange County
  • (31st S.) January 26 - June 30, 1808 Alexander Sheldon from Montgomery County
  • (32nd S.) November 1, 1808 - June 30, 1809 James W. Wilkin from Orange County
  • (33rd S.) January 30 - June 30, 1810 William North from Schenectady County
  • (34th S., part) January 29 - February 12, 1811 Nathan Sanford from New York County (failed to attend session because of illness)
  • (34th S., part) February 12 - June 30, 1811 William Ross (Dem.-Rep.) from Orange County
  • (35th S.) January 28 - June 30, 1812 Alexander Sheldon, from Montgomery County
  • (36th S.) November 3, 1812 - June 30, 1813 Jacob R. Van Rensselaer (Fed.), from Columbia County
  • (37th S.) January 25 - June 30, 1814 James Emott (Fed.) from Dutchess County
  • (38th S.) September 26, 1814 - June 30, 1815 Samuel Young from Saratoga County
  • (39th S.) January 31 - June 30, 1816 Daniel Cruger from Steuben County [4]
  • (40th S.) November 5, 1816 - June 30, 1817 David Woods from Washington County
  • (41st S.) January 27 - June 30, 1818 David Woods from Madison County
  • (42nd S.) January 6 - June 30, 1819 Obadiah German from Chenango County [5]
  • (43rd S.) January 4 - June 30, 1820 John Canfield Spencer (Dem.-Rep./Clintonian) from Ontario County
  • (44th S.) November 7, 1820 - June 30, 1821 Peter Sharpe (Dem.-Rep./Tammany Hall) from New York County
  • (45th S.) January 3 - December 31, 1822 Samuel B. Romaine (Dem.-Rep./Tammany Hall) from New York County (The assemblymen of this session were elected in April 1821 under the provisions of the State Constitution of 1777 for a term beginning on July 1, 1821 and expiring on June 30, 1822. The State Constitution of 1821, ratified by the voters in February 1822, provided for their remaining in office until December 31, 1822, although the Assembly did not meet again after the usual adjournment in May. The next session's members were elected in November 1822 for a term beginning on January 1, 1823.)

since 1823[edit]

Speakers since 1823 are:[6][7][8]

Speaker Party County Took office Left office Notes
Peter R. Livingston Dem.-Rep./Bucktails Dutchess January 7, 1823 December 31, 1823
Richard Goodell Dem.-Rep./Bucktails Jefferson January 6, 1824 December 31, 1824
Clarkson Crolius Dem.-Rep./
Tammany Hall
New York January 4, 1825 December 31, 1825
Samuel Young Dem.-Rep./Bucktails Saratoga January 3, 1826 December 31, 1826
Erastus Root Dem.-Rep./Bucktails Delaware January 2, 1827 December 31, 1828 two terms
Peter Robinson Dem./Jacksonian Broome January 6, 1829 December 31, 1829
Erastus Root Dem./Jacksonian Delaware January 5, 1830 December 31, 1830 third term
George R. Davis Democratic Rensselaer January 4, 1831 December 31, 1831
Charles L. Livingston Democratic New York January 3, 1832 December 31, 1833 two terms
William Baker Democratic Otsego January 7, 1834 December 31, 1834
Charles Humphrey Democratic Tompkins January 6, 1835 December 31, 1836 two terms
Edward Livingston Democratic Suffolk January 3, 1837 December 31, 1837
Luther Bradish Whig Franklin January 2, 1838 December 31, 1838
George W. Patterson Whig Livingston January 1, 1839 December 31, 1840 two terms
Peter B. Porter, Jr. Whig Niagara January 5, 1841 December 31, 1841
Levi S. Chatfield Democratic Otsego January 4, 1842 December 31, 1842
George R. Davis Democratic Rensselaer January 3, 1843 December 31, 1843 second term
Elisha Litchfield Democratic Onondaga January 2, 1844 December 31, 1844
Horatio Seymour Democratic Oneida January 7, 1845 December 31, 1845
William C. Crain Democratic Herkimer January 6, 1846 December 31, 1846
William C. Hasbrouck Whig Orange January 5, 1847 December 31, 1847
Amos K. Hadley Whig Rensselaer January 4, 1848 December 31, 1849 two terms
Noble S. Elderkin Democratic St. Lawrence January 1, 1850 January 30, 1850 left the Assembly to return home to his sick wife
Robert H. Pruyn Whig Albany January 30, 1850[9] March 14, 1850 elected when Elderkin left the Assembly
Ferral C. Dininny Democratic Steuben March 14, 1850 December 31, 1850
Henry Jarvis Raymond Whig New York January 7, 1851 June 10, 1851
Joseph B. Varnum, Jr. Whig Albany June 10, 1851 December 31, 1851 elected when Raymond failed to attend special session
Jonas C. Heartt Whig Rensselaer January 6, 1852 December 31, 1852
William H. Ludlow Democratic Suffolk January 4, 1853 December 31, 1853
Robert H. Pruyn Whig Albany January 3, 1854 December 31, 1854 second term
DeWitt C. Littlejohn Whig Oswego January 2, 1855 December 31, 1855
Orville Robinson Democratic Oswego January 16, 1856 December 31, 1856 The Assembly convened on January 1, but it took more than two weeks to elect a Speaker.
DeWitt C. Littlejohn Republican Oswego January 6, 1857 December 31, 1857 second term
Thomas G. Alvord Democratic Onondaga February 2, 1858 December 31, 1858
DeWitt C. Littlejohn Republican Oswego January, 1859 December 31, 1861 three terms (third, fourth and fifth)
Henry J. Raymond Republican New York January, 1862 December 31, 1862 second term
Theophilus C. Callicot Democratic Kings January 26, 1863 December 31, 1863 elected by the Republicans in a split assembly
Thomas G. Alvord Republican Onondaga January, 1864 December 31, 1864 second term
George G. Hoskins Republican Wyoming January, 1865 December 31, 1865
Lyman Tremain Republican Albany January, 1866 December 31, 1866
Edmund L. Pitts Republican Orleans January, 1867 December 31, 1867
William Hitchman Democratic New York January, 1868 December 31, 1868
Truman G. Younglove Republican Saratoga January, 1869 December 31, 1869
William Hitchman Democratic New York January, 1870 December 31, 1871 two terms (second and third)
Henry Smith Republican Albany January, 1872 December 31, 1872
Alonzo B. Cornell Republican New York January, 1873 December 31, 1873
James W. Husted Republican Westchester January, 1874 December 31, 1874
Jeremiah McGuire Democratic Chemung January, 1875 December 31, 1875
James W. Husted Republican Westchester January, 1876 December 31, 1876 second term
George B. Sloan Republican Oswego January, 1877 December 31, 1877
James W. Husted Republican Westchester January, 1878 December 31, 1878 third term
Thomas G. Alvord Republican Onondaga January, 1879 December 31, 1879 third term
George H. Sharpe Republican Ulster January, 1880 December 31, 1881 two terms
Charles E. Patterson Democratic Rensselaer February 2, 1882 December 31, 1882
Alfred C. Chapin Democratic Kings January, 1883 December 31, 1883
Titus Sheard Republican Herkimer January, 1884 December 31, 1884
George Z. Erwin Republican St. Lawrence January, 1885 December 31, 1885
James W. Husted Republican Westchester January, 1886 December 31, 1887 two terms (fourth and fifth)
Fremont Cole Republican Schuyler January, 1888 December 31, 1889 two terms
James W. Husted Republican Westchester January, 1890 December 31, 1890 sixth term
William F. Sheehan Democratic Erie January, 1891 December 31, 1891
Robert P. Bush Democratic Chemung January 5, 1892 December 31, 1892
William Sulzer Democratic New York January, 1893 December 31, 1893
George R. Malby Republican St. Lawrence January, 1894 December 31, 1894
Hamilton Fish II Republican Putnam January, 1895 December 31, 1896 two terms
James M. E. O'Grady Republican Monroe January 5, 1897 December 31, 1898 two terms
S. Frederick Nixon Republican Chautauqua January, 1899 October 10, 1905 died in office during his seventh term
James W. Wadsworth, Jr. Republican Livingston January, 1906 December 31, 1910 five terms
Daniel D. Frisbie Democratic Schoharie January 4, 1911 December 31, 1911
Edwin A. Merritt, Jr. Republican St. Lawrence January 3, 1912 November 5, 1912 resigned to take his seat in Congress
Alfred E. Smith Democratic New York January, 1913 December 31, 1913
Thaddeus C. Sweet Republican Oswego January 7, 1914 December 31, 1920 seven terms
H. Edmund Machold Republican Jefferson January 5, 1921 December 31, 1924 four terms
Joseph A. McGinnies Republican Chautauqua January 7, 1925 December 31, 1934 ten terms
Irwin Steingut Democratic Kings January 2, 1935 December 31, 1935 father of Speaker Stanley Steingut
Irving M. Ives Republican Chenango January 1, 1936 December 31, 1936
Oswald D. Heck Republican Schenectady January 13, 1937 May 21, 1959 longest serving Speaker (22 years and 4 months), died in office during his thirteenth term [10]
Joseph Carlino Republican Nassau May 21, 1959 December 31, 1964 as Majority Leader became Acting Speaker upon the death of Oswald D. Heck, elected Speaker on July 1 for the remainder of the term, then re-elected to another two terms
Anthony J. Travia Democratic Kings February 4, 1965 July 22, 1968 vacated his seat during his second term upon appointment as a federal judge
Moses M. Weinstein Democratic Queens July 23, 1968 December 31, 1968 as Majority Leader became Acting Speaker upon Travia's resignation for the remainder of the term[11]
Perry B. Duryea, Jr. Republican Suffolk January 8, 1969 December 31, 1974 three terms, last Republican Speaker to date
Stanley Steingut Democratic Kings January 8, 1975 December 31, 1978 two terms, son of Speaker Irwin Steingut
Stanley Fink Democratic Kings January 2, 1979 December 31, 1986 four terms
Mel Miller Democratic Kings January 8, 1987 December 13, 1991 removed from office upon federal conviction in the middle of his third term
James R. Tallon, Jr. Democratic Broome December 13, 1991 December 16, 1991 as Majority Leader became Acting Speaker upon Miller's removal from office until the election of a successor
Saul Weprin Democratic Queens December 16, 1991 February 11, 1994 elected for the remainder of Miller's term, then re-elected to another term, died in office
Sheldon Silver Democratic New York February 11, 1994 Present as Majority Leader became Acting Speaker upon Weprin's death, elected Speaker for the remainder of the term, and re-elected eight times, still in office

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Franklin B. Hough, The New York Civil List, Weed, Parsons & Co.: Albany, 1858.
  2. ^ The New York Civil List lists John Hathorn as Speaker of the 8th Session, disagreeing with other sources.
  3. ^ All following Sessions were held at Albany
  4. ^ The Assembly convened on January 30, but there was no quorum
  5. ^ The Assembly convened on January 5, but it took until the next day to elect the Speaker.
  6. ^ John Stilwell Jenkins, History of Political Parties in the State of New-York. Alden & Markham: Auburn, New York, 1846. Page 50.
  7. ^ Jabez D. Hammond, The History of Political Parties in the State of New-York. Page 87.
  8. ^ See "List of Speakers," pages 337-338, D. T. Valentine, Historical Index to the Manuals of the Corporation of the City of New York for the Year of 1851, McSpedon & Baker, New York, 1851. Contains a few erroneous names and dates].
  9. ^ Journal of the Senate of the State of New-York at Their Seventy-Third Session. Weed, Parsons & Co.: Albany, 1850.
  10. ^ Until 1938 one term was one year long, since 1939-40 one term has been two years long.
  11. ^ The vacancy occurred after the end of the legislative session, so no Speaker election could take place anymore.