Statement from New York State Senator Kathy Marchione (R,C,I-Halfmoon) Chair of the Senate’s Local Government Committee:

“This morning I called Senator Dean Skelos to let him know that I would be calling on him to step down as Leader of our Conference. I felt that he needed to hear it from me, first. I came to this decision after a great deal of prayer, reflection and deliberation. This has not been an easy decision but it was necessary. I believe in the presumption of innocence. In our nation, you are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. After witnessing how my friend Joe Bruno was put through a legal meat grinder – and the enormous personal, financial toll it caused him and his family, and how he was ultimately vindicated – it did give me pause. I feel strongly that everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence and should not be tried in the media. However, my calling for Senator Skelos to step down was necessary because it had become clear that he cannot effectively lead our Conference. This is the people’s government, it’s important that we get back to the people’s business. That includes repealing all or parts of the unconstitutional SAFE Act, taking real steps to improve our economy, especially upstate, cutting government red tape and fixing the teacher evaluation process. Today is the National Day of Prayer and I ask individuals to please join me in praying for our leaders, our elected officials and, most important, praying for New York State.”