Joseph D. Morelle

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Joseph D. Morelle
Joseph Morelle 2009.jpg
Majority Leader of the New York State Assembly
Assumed office
January 1, 2013
Preceded by Ronald Canestrari
Speaker of the New York State Assembly
In office
February 3, 2015 – February 3, 2015
Preceded by Sheldon Silver
Succeeded by Carl Heastie
Member of the New York State Assembly
from the 136th District
Assumed office
January 1, 1991
Preceded by Pinny Cooke
Personal details
Born (1957-04-29) April 29, 1957 (age 59)[1]
Utica, New York[2]
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Mary Beth[2]
Children Three[2]
Residence Irondequoit, New York[2]
Alma mater SUNY Geneseo[2]
Profession Politician
Website Official website

Joseph D. "Joe" Morelle (born April 29, 1957)[1] is a member of the New York State Assembly representing the 136th Assembly District, which includes eastern portions of the City of Rochester and the Monroe County suburbs of Irondequoit and Brighton. Speaker Sheldon Silver appointed him as Majority Leader of the New York State Assembly in January 2013. As such, Morelle was Acting Speaker in the Speaker's absence.[3]


Morelle was born in Utica, New York, and grew up in the town of Irondequoit, where he attended Eastridge High School.[2] He went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in political science from SUNY Geneseo[2] in 1986.[1]

He lives in Irondequoit with his wife, Mary Beth.[2] They have three children:[2] Lauren, Joseph Junior, Nicholas.[1]

In his early years, he was a sales manager for a drycleaning and laundry business.[4]

County legislature[edit]

Morelle, a Democrat, made his first foray into politics at the age of 24 when he ran for a seat in the Monroe County legislature.[5] He failed to unseat the incumbent on the first try, but prevailed in the 1983 election.[6] He was re-elected once before running for the New York State legislature.[7]

State legislature[edit]

Morelle was first elected to the State Assembly in 1990.[2] He ran uncontested in the November 2008 general election[8][9] and won the November 2010 general election with 61 percent of the vote.[10][11]

During his tenure in the State Legislature, among the more than 200 laws authored by Morelle are major reforms to the workers compensation system, laws to require carbon monoxide detectors in one- and two-family homes, toughen regulations governing charitable organizations, protect the elderly and infirm who live in nursing homes or receive home based health care, and raise senior citizens' real property tax exemption. Morelle has sponsored bills to exempt veterans from certain state licensing fees, protect their gravesites, and assist them with regard to the civil service application process.

In January 2001, Morelle was appointed the Chairman of the Assembly Standing Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Sports Development. He worked with area leaders to develop Rochester as a center for tourism and the arts in Western New York.[citation needed]

In addition to the Tourism Committee, Morelle’s standing committee assignments have included Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry; Higher Education; Local Governments; and Libraries and Education Technology. At his request, the Speaker created the Subcommittee on Manufacturing in order to give New York’s manufacturing sector a greater voice in state government.

In 2005, Morelle issued a report, “Creating a State of Innovation: Unleashing The Power of New York’s Entrepreneurial Economy,” detailing New York’s economic decline, particularly in Upstate, and offering numerous policy recommendations to reverse this years-long trend.

In 2005, Morelle was elected chairman of the Monroe County Democratic Committee,[12] and held this position until 2014.

Campaign violations[edit]

In 1991, The Buffalo News reported Morelle was charged with 7 misdemeanor counts for violating state elections laws by improperly obtaining signatures for an election petition during his 1990 run for State Assembly. He was offered a plea to disorderly conduct on two counts. The signatures were for an Independent Party endorsement when he ran against Republican Mark S. Ogden. Morelle has never contested that he obtained the signatures in question fraudulently. A judge from the State Supreme Court ruled that he was in violation of election law, but he was nevertheless allowed to run on the Independence Party ballot.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d "Assembly Member Joseph D. Morelle (NY)". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved March 25, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Assembly District 132, Joseph D. Morelle: Biography". New York State Assembly. Retrieved March 25, 2011. 
  3. ^ McKinley, Jesse; Kaplan, Thomas; Craig, Susanne (January 27, 2015). "Sheldon Silver to Be Replaced as Speaker of New York State Assembly". New York Times. Retrieved January 27, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Morelle Narrowly Wins Over Ogden", Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, New York, pp. 8A, November 11, 1990 
  5. ^ "GOP Keeps Control of County Legislature", Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, New York, pp. 2A, November 4, 1981 
  6. ^ "Democrats Gain 2 Seats in Legislature", Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, New York, pp. 3A, November 9, 1983 
  7. ^ "Morelle Defeats His Challenger", Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, New York, pp. 3A, November 4, 1987 
  8. ^ "Election Results 2008: New York State Legislature". The New York Times. 2008. 
  9. ^ "Assembly Election Returns: November 4, 2008" (PDF). New York State Board of Elections. 2008. 
  10. ^ "Election Results 2010: New York State Legislature". The New York Times. 2010. 
  11. ^ "Assembly Election Returns: November 2, 2010" (PDF). New York State Board of Elections. 2010. 
  12. ^ "Morelle Officially Seeks Chair", Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, New York, pp. 2A, May 27, 2005 
  13. ^ "Rochester Assemblyman is Offered Plea Bargain", The Buffalo News, Buffalo, New York, December 19, 1991 

External links[edit]

New York Assembly
Preceded by
Pinny Cooke
New York State Assembly
132nd District

Succeeded by
Phil Palmesano
Preceded by
Phil Palmesano
New York State Assembly
136th District

Political offices
Preceded by
Ronald Canestrari
Majority Leader of the New York State Assembly