Sunday, December 7, 2008

Senate Rumors Churn As Hillary Gets Tapped by Brian M. Rafferty - Queens Tribune

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After weeks of speculation, President-elect Barack Obama named U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton as the next Secretary of State. Once she is confirmed by the U.S. Senate she will resign her position and Gov. David Paterson will name her replacement.

The names swirling around of potential replacements change from day to day, and will likely continue to do so through the time that the Governor makes his pick, which is not expected to happen until late January at the earliest.

Several names related to Queens have been discussed as being directly or tangentially affected by the Governor’s choice. The names of possible direct replacements have included U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria), who said Tuesday that she would be thrilled if her name was considered.

“I certainly have worked hard for the district that I represent,” she said, noting that her district carries the two largest mass transit projects in the nation – the Second Avenue subway extension and the East Side Access project.

Other local politicians on the potential list also include U.S. Rep. Nydia Velasquez (D-Ridgewood) and U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), as well as Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who grew up in Jamaica Estates.

Maloney authored the 9/11 Health Bill, was co-chair of the 9/11 caucus, serves on the Financial Services Committee and chairs the subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit.

A longtime advocate for women’s rights, Maloney recently published a book titled “Rumors Of Our Progress Have Been Greatly Exaggerated,” which highlights the rolled back opportunities for women, especially during the Bush administration.

Ultimately, Maloney knows full well that the decision for the next Senator from New York will come solely from Gov. Paterson.

“In New York State we have many talented leaders, and I believe we need someone who would work hard and be successful in helping the State of New York,” Maloney said, adding that if she were selected, “I’d be incredibly honored to have the opportunity.”

There has been speculation if Cuomo replaced Clinton, Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) could fill the Attorney General post. Gianaris declined to comment on the speculation.

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Kew Gardens) said the day after the November election that he would rather stay in the House of Representatives or be mayor of New York City.

Political insiders have said it is likely that Paterson would appoint a woman, a minority or an upstate representative to fill the role.

No matter who ends up being selected to fill Hillary’s important Senate shoes, her other colleagues from Queens unilaterally wish her well.

“It’s hard to imagine a person who comes to the job as Secretary of State better qualified than Sen. Hillary Clinton,” Weiner said. “She not only has the experience dealing with world leaders from every part of the globe, having been first lady and now as Senator, but also having represented New York whose diversity is renown. We’re not losing her – we’re just sharing her with the rest of the world.”

Congressman Crowley shared a similar belief.

“President-elect Barack Obama’s ground-breaking nomination of Senator Clinton to Secretary of State speaks volumes of his desire to put the United States relationships with international community back on track,” he said. “It has been an honor and pleasure to work with her on behalf of the people of New York and while we will be losing her as an advocate for our state, the entire United States has gained an extraordinary Secretary of State who knows the world at-large.”