Jeffrey D. Klein

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Jeff Klein
Member of the New York Senate
from the 34th district
Assumed office
January 1, 2005
Preceded byGuy Velella
Succeeded byAlessandra Biaggi (elect)
Member of the New York State Assembly
from the 80th district
In office
January 1, 1995 – December 31, 2004
Preceded byGeorge Friedman
Succeeded byNaomi Rivera
Personal details
Born (1960-07-10) July 10, 1960 (age 58)
Political partyDemocratic Party

Jeffrey David Klein (born July 10, 1960) is a New York State politician and a member of the Democratic Party. He represents New York State Senate's 34th District, serving parts of Bronx and Westchester Counties. Klein also serves as Deputy Democratic Conference Leader.[1]

Klein served in the New York State Assembly from 1994 until 2004, when he was elected to the New York State Senate. From January 2011 to April 2018, Klein led the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), a group of eight Democratic state senators who formed a separate conference and allied themselves with Senate Republicans.[2][3][4] Klein and his IDC colleagues rejoined the Senate Democratic Conference in April 2018.[5][4]

In January 2018, Klein was accused by a female former staffer of having forcibly kissed her in 2015; Klein denied the accusation and immediately called for an investigation of the allegation.[6]

In the September 2018 Democratic primary election, Klein was defeated by lawyer Alessandra Biaggi in what amounted to a major upset for Klein and his former IDC colleagues.[7][8] Klein remained on the general election ballot on a minor party line and was defeated by Biaggi again.

Early life and education[edit]

A lifelong resident of the northeast Bronx, he was educated in Bronx public schools. Klein received his undergraduate degree from Queens College, an M.P.A. from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, and a J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law, where he was a member of the law review.

Career[edit]

A former chief of staff to Congressman James Scheuer, Klein served as a Democratic State Committeeman and District Leader before being elected to the New York State Assembly in 1994. During his ten years representing the 80th Assembly District in the state legislature, Klein served as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Crime and the Elderly, the Committee on State-Federal Relations, and the Committee on Oversight, Analysis and Investigations.

New York State Senate[edit]

In 2004, after former State Senator Guy Velella was convicted on corruption charges, Klein declined to seek reelection to the Assembly in order to run for Velella's seat in the New York Senate. In the Democratic Senate primary, Klein defeated then Assemblyman Stephen B. Kaufman. Prior to running for the Senate, Klein was reported to be considering a race for New York Attorney General in 2006, but did not do so because Andrew Cuomo and Jeanine Pirro were competing for that position. After two years in the Senate, he abandoned plans to run for the Majority Leader position, instead opting for the Deputy Minority Leader spot.

After considering a race for New York Attorney General, Klein opted to run for re-election. In 2010, he was easily re-elected, defeating Republican Frank Vernuccio, a community activist in the Bronx.

Independent Democratic Conference[edit]

In January 2011, Klein announced that he would lead the newly formed Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), a group of breakaway New York State Senate Democrats.

Following the 2010 census, New York redistricted the Senate, expanding it from 62 to 63 seats as of January 2013. The 34th district of New York Senate where Klein was elected was gerrymandered to combine a majority white district in the Bronx with Jewish neighborhoods in Riverdale and in the East Bronx.[9] When all election night results were tabulated on November 6, 2012, it appeared that Democrats would hold 33 seats for a three-seat majority, their third Senate majority since World War II. Yet not long after the Senate Democrats' momentous victory, on December 4, 2012, Klein and the Republican Leadership announced a power-sharing agreement between the IDC and the G.O.P. in order to govern the Senate in a bipartisan coalition.[10] Under their power-sharing arrangement, the IDC and the Senate Republicans to "jointly decide what bills [would] reach the Senate floor each day of the session", would "dole out committee assignments", would "have the power to make appointments to state and local boards", and would "share negotiations over the state budget".[11] Sens. Klein and Skelos also agreed that the title of Senate President would shift back and forth between the two of them every two weeks.[12]

Klein was a prime sponsor of the 2013 New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (NY SAFE Act), which enacted new comprehensive gun control measures statewide in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut and in response to mass shootings nationwide.[13]

Klein was the primary sponsor of proposed "At Rest" legislation which would require liquor sold in New York State to be stored in warehouses located in New York State. Wine retailers, New York wine producers, and smaller wine wholesalers argue that the legislation would drive up the cost of wine and spirits in New York State and significantly benefit large New York State liquor wholesalers such as Empire Merchants, which donated over $53,000 to Klein's campaign between 2009 and 2014.[14]

Prior to the 2013 state budget negotiations, Klein publicly demanded that New York increase its minimum wage as part of a final agreement.[15] Klein's support was seen as critical to the measure's success, which will increase New York's minimum wage to $9 per hour by the end of 2015.[16]

Liberal activists working with the Democratic Party and the Working Families Party targeted Klein in 2014, with Oliver Koppell challenging Klein in a Democratic primary.[17] Due to pressure from Governor Andrew Cuomo and labor unions, Klein indicated in June 2014 that the IDC would rejoin the Democratic caucus after the November 2014 elections.[18] Klein defeated Koppell.[19][20]

In the 2014 general election, Republicans won back the Senate majority.[21] The election results meant that Klein lost his position as Senate co-leader.[22][23][24] Though Klein had previously stated that the IDC would rejoin the Senate Democrats, the IDC decided to remain allied with the Republicans in the 2015 legislative session[23][25] despite their conference's diminished role.[26]

Klein was a partner in the law firm Klein, Calderoni & Santucci, LLP, but divested from the law practice in 2015 and continued to call for lawmakers to give up their outside income.[27]

2018-present[edit]

In January 2018, Klein was accused by a female former staffer of having forcibly kissed her in 2015; Klein denied the accusation and immediately called for an investigation of the allegation.[6] Despite the allegations, Klein took part in high-level negotiations regarding sexual harassment legislation in 2018.[28]

Klein and his IDC colleagues rejoined the Senate Democratic Conference in April 2018 at the request of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.[5][4] At that time, Klein was appointed to his former role as Deputy Democratic Conference Leader.[1]

Despite the dissolution of the IDC, lawyer and first-time candidate Alessandra Biaggi challenged Klein in the 2018 Democratic Primary election. In September 2018, Biaggi defeated Klein by a nine-percent margin;[7][29][30] his upset loss was attributed to long-simmering anger with the former members of the Independent Democratic Conference. Klein spent $2.4 million during the primary campaign, outspending Biaggi by a large margin.[31][32] As New York's electoral fusion laws allow candidates to appear on multiple ballot lines in an election, Klein still appeared in the November 6, 2018 general election on the third-party Independence Party of New York ballot line.[33][34] Klein was again defeated by Biaggi in the general election.[35]

Personal life[edit]

As of February 2018, Klein is romantically involved with Diane Savino, a fellow Democratic State Senator. Klein and Savino have been dating since 2008.[36] Like Klein, Savino is a former member of the IDC.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Senate Leadership". Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  2. ^ McKinley, Jesse (May 9, 2017). "For Group of Breakaway Democrats in New York, It Pays to Be No. 2". The New York Times. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  3. ^ Kaplan, Thomas; Confessore, Nicholas (January 5, 2011). "4 Democrats in State Senate Break With Leaders". The New York Times. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Spector, Joseph (April 16, 2018). "After seven years, it's all over for the Senate Independent Democratic Conference". LoHud.com. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Wang, Vivian (April 16, 2018). "As Session Resumes, a Democratic Truce in Albany Seems Uneasy". The New York Times. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  6. ^ a b "NY Sen. Jeff Klein accused of forcibly kissing staff member". Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Alessandra Biaggi defeats Bronx Sen. Jeff Klein in NY primary". pix11. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  8. ^ Lombardo, D. September 13, 2018. "Former IDC senators struggling to retain Democratic support". times union (Albany). Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  9. ^ Dave Goldiner (September 13, 2018). "Jeff Klein Loses Bronx Primary Amid Bloodbath For Democratic Senate Turncoats". The Forward. Retrieved September 14, 2018. ...the district, which was gerrymandered to link majority white neighborhoods with substantial Jewish populations in Riverdale and across the borough in the East Bronx around Co-Op City
  10. ^ Celock, John (December 4, 2012). "New York State Senate Slips To Republicans Via Coalition With Independent Democrats". Retrieved April 2, 2018 – via Huff Post.
  11. ^ Roy, Yancey (December 5, 2012). "Skelos praises his Senate deal with Dems". Newsday. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  12. ^ Roy, Yancey (December 5, 2012). "Skelos praises his Senate deal with Dems". Newsday. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  13. ^ Hammond, Bill (January 15, 2013).[1]. New York Daily News. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
  14. ^ "Churchill: Baffling wine bill leaves a sour taste". Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  15. ^ "Klein, Silver take new positions on minimum wage". Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  16. ^ Kaplan, Thomas (March 18, 2013). "Deal in Albany to Increase New York's Minimum Wage". Retrieved April 2, 2018 – via NYTimes.com.
  17. ^ King, David Howard. "2016 A Far Different Election Year for Independent Democrats". Gotham Gazette. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  18. ^ "Senate's Independent Democratic Conference announces end to alliance with Republicans - UPDATED". New York Daily News. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  19. ^ "Jeff Klein Defeats Oliver Koppell, Promises Strong Future For IDC". New York Observer. September 10, 2014. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  20. ^ "John Liu concedes to State. Sen Tony Avella one week after Democratic Primary". New York Daily News. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  21. ^ Mckinley, Jesse (November 5, 2014). "In Rebuke to Democrats, Voters Return Control of New York Senate to G.O.P." The New York Times. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  22. ^ Roy, Yancey (December 5, 2012). "Skelos praises his Senate deal with Dems". Newsday. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  23. ^ a b "Klein, diminished but still desired, sides with power". Capital New York. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  24. ^ https://www.cityandstateny.com/articles/politics/new-york-state/jeff-kleins-wild-ride.html
  25. ^ "GOP takes full control of NY Senate, but retains 'coalition' with Valesky, IDC". The Post-Standard. Syracuse, New York. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  26. ^ Roy, Yancey (December 5, 2012). "Skelos praises his Senate deal with Dems". Newsday. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  27. ^ "State Senator Abandons Outside Employment in Wake of Silver's Corruption Charges". Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  28. ^ "FACT CHECK: Is a New York Lawmaker Accused of Sexual Misconduct Negotiating Anti-Harassment Laws?". Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  29. ^ "New York State Unofficial Election Night Results". New York State Board of Elections. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  30. ^ Vivian Wang (September 13, 2018). "Democratic Insurgents Topple 6 New York Senate Incumbents". The New York Times. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  31. ^ Carl Campanile (September 14, 2018). "Jeff Klein spent $3M in stunning loss to newcomer Biaggi". New York Post. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
  32. ^ Lisa W. Foderaro (September 11, 2018). "He Led a Group of Disloyal New York Democrats. Will It Cost Him His Seat?". The New York Times. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
  33. ^ Susan Arbetter [@sarbetter] (September 14, 2018). "Here's a corrected rundown of the party lines that former IDCers' who lost their Democratic primaries are still on: Klein: Ind Valesky: Ind; WEP Peralta: Ind; Reform; WEP Hamilton: Ind; WEP Alcantara: Ind Avella: Ind; WEP" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  34. ^ Mahoney, Bill (September 17, 2018). "Life after defeat? Questions remain about plans for Democratic primary losers". Politico. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  35. ^ https://www.lohud.com/story/news/politics/elections/2018/11/06/alessandra-biaggi-set-oust-former-idc-leader-state-senate-race/1891107002/
  36. ^ Conley, Kirstan; Brown, Ruth (February 8, 2018). "State senator says he's single — except for his girlfriend of 10 years". New York Post. Retrieved September 23, 2018.

External links[edit]

New York Assembly
Preceded by
George Friedman
New York State Assembly, 80th District
1995–2004
Succeeded by
Naomi Rivera
New York State Senate
Preceded by
Guy Velella
New York State Senate, 34th District
2005–2019
Succeeded by
Alessandra Biaggi
Preceded by
Thomas W. Libous
Deputy Majority Leader of the New York State Senate
2009–2010
Succeeded by
Thomas W. Libous
Preceded by
Committee dormant
Chairman of the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Committee Incumbent