List of Speakers of the New York State Assembly

Last updated
Speaker of the New York State Assembly
Seal of New York.svg
Seal of New York
Incumbent
Carl Heastie

since February 3, 2015
Style The Honorable (diplomatic)
Mister Speaker (within the assembly)
Inaugural holder Walter Livingston
September 10, 1777
Formation New York State Constitution
Succession Third
Website

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.

New York State Assembly lower house of the New York State Legislature

The New York State Assembly is the lower house of the New York State Legislature, the New York State Senate being the upper house. There are 150 seats in the Assembly, with each of the 150 Assembly districts having an average population of 128,652. Assembly members serve two-year terms without term limits.

Contents

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 speaker Sheldon Silver). Through the heavy gerrymandering that has given him a near-permanent supermajority, the Assembly Speaker rarely faces any challenge to his post.

Speaker (politics) presiding officer of a deliberative assembly, especially a legislative body

The speaker of a deliberative assembly, especially a legislative body, is its presiding officer, or the chair. The title was first used in 1377 in England.

A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house.

U.S. state constituent political entity of the United States

In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders. Four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.

List of Speakers

Note

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.

The Constitution of the State of New York establishes the structure of the government of the State of New York, and enumerates the basic rights of the citizens of New York. Like most state constitutions in the United States, New York's constitution's provisions tend to be more detailed, and amended more often than its federal counterpart. Because the history of the state constitution differs from the federal constitution, the New York Court of Appeals has seen fit to interpret analogous provisions differently from United States Supreme Court's interpretation of federal provisions.

From 1777 to 1822

Kingston, New York City in New York, United States

Kingston is a city in and the county seat of Ulster County, New York, United States. It is 91 miles (146 km) north of New York City and 59 miles (95 km) south of Albany. The city's metropolitan area is grouped with the New York metropolitan area by the United States Census Bureau, It became New York's first capital in 1777, and was burned by the British on October 13, 1777, after the Battles of Saratoga. In the 19th century, the city became an important transport hub after the discovery of natural cement in the region, and had both railroad and canal connections. Passenger rail service has since ceased, and many of the older buildings are part of three historic districts, including the Stockade District uptown, the Midtown Neighborhood Broadway Corridor, and the Rondout-West Strand Historic District downtown.

Walter Livingston American politician

Walter Livingston was an American merchant, lawyer and politician.

Albany, New York Capital of New York

Albany is the capital of the U.S. state of New York and the seat of Albany County. Albany is located on the west bank of the Hudson River approximately 10 miles (16 km) south of its confluence with the Mohawk River and approximately 135 miles (220 km) north of New York City.

since 1823

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

SpeakerPartyCountyTook officeLeft officeNotes
Peter R. Livingston Dem.-Rep./Bucktails Dutchess January 7, 1823December 31, 1823
Richard Goodell Dem.-Rep./Bucktails Jefferson January 6, 1824December 31, 1824
Clarkson Crolius Dem.-Rep./
Tammany Hall
New York January 4, 1825December 31, 1825
Samuel Young Dem.-Rep./Bucktails Saratoga January 3, 1826December 31, 1826
Erastus Root Dem.-Rep./Bucktails Delaware January 2, 1827December 31, 1828two terms
Peter Robinson Dem./Jacksonian Broome January 6, 1829December 31, 1829
Erastus Root Dem./Jacksonian Delaware January 5, 1830December 31, 1830third term
George R. Davis Democratic Rensselaer January 4, 1831December 31, 1831
Charles L. Livingston Democratic New York January 3, 1832December 31, 1833two terms
William Baker Democratic Otsego January 7, 1834December 31, 1834
Charles Humphrey Democratic Tompkins January 6, 1835December 31, 1836two terms
Edward Livingston Democratic Suffolk January 3, 1837December 31, 1837
Luther Bradish Whig Franklin January 2, 1838December 31, 1838
George W. Patterson Whig Livingston January 1, 1839December 31, 1840two terms
Peter B. Porter, Jr. Whig Niagara January 5, 1841December 31, 1841
Levi S. Chatfield Democratic Otsego January 4, 1842December 31, 1842
George R. Davis Democratic Rensselaer January 3, 1843December 31, 1843second term
Elisha Litchfield Democratic Onondaga January 2, 1844December 31, 1844
Horatio Seymour Democratic Oneida January 7, 1845December 31, 1845
William C. Crain Democratic Herkimer January 6, 1846December 31, 1846
William C. Hasbrouck Whig Orange January 5, 1847December 31, 1847
Amos K. Hadley Whig Rensselaer January 4, 1848December 31, 1849two terms
Noble S. Elderkin Democratic St. Lawrence January 1, 1850January 30, 1850left the Assembly to return home to his sick wife
Robert H. Pruyn Whig Albany January 30, 1850 [9] March 14, 1850elected when Elderkin left the Assembly
Ferral C. Dininny Democratic Steuben March 14, 1850December 31, 1850
Henry Jarvis Raymond Whig New York January 7, 1851June 10, 1851
Joseph B. Varnum, Jr. Whig Albany June 10, 1851December 31, 1851elected when Raymond failed to attend special session
Jonas C. Heartt Whig Rensselaer January 6, 1852December 31, 1852
William H. Ludlow Democratic Suffolk January 4, 1853December 31, 1853
Robert H. Pruyn Whig Albany January 3, 1854December 31, 1854second term
DeWitt C. Littlejohn Whig Oswego January 2, 1855December 31, 1855
Orville Robinson Democratic Oswego January 16, 1856December 31, 1856The Assembly convened on January 1, but it took more than two weeks to elect a Speaker.
DeWitt C. Littlejohn Republican Oswego January 6, 1857December 31, 1857second term
Thomas G. Alvord Democratic Onondaga January 26, 1858December 31, 1858
DeWitt C. Littlejohn Republican Oswego January, 1859December 31, 1861three terms (third, fourth and fifth)
Henry J. Raymond Republican New York January, 1862December 31, 1862second term
Theophilus C. Callicot Democratic Kings January 26, 1863December 31, 1863elected by the Republicans in a split assembly
Thomas G. Alvord Republican Onondaga January, 1864December 31, 1864second term
George G. Hoskins Republican Wyoming January, 1865December 31, 1865
Lyman Tremain Republican Albany January, 1866December 31, 1866
Edmund L. Pitts Republican Orleans January, 1867December 31, 1867
William Hitchman Democratic New York January, 1868December 31, 1868
Truman G. Younglove Republican Saratoga January, 1869December 31, 1869
William Hitchman Democratic New York January, 1870December 31, 1871two terms (second and third)
Henry Smith Republican Albany January, 1872December 31, 1872
Alonzo B. Cornell Republican New York January, 1873December 31, 1873
James W. Husted Republican Westchester January, 1874December 31, 1874
Jeremiah McGuire Democratic Chemung January, 1875December 31, 1875
James W. Husted Republican Westchester January, 1876December 31, 1876second term
George B. Sloan Republican Oswego January, 1877December 31, 1877
James W. Husted Republican Westchester January, 1878December 31, 1878third term
Thomas G. Alvord Republican Onondaga January, 1879December 31, 1879third term
George H. Sharpe Republican Ulster January, 1880December 31, 1881two terms
Charles E. Patterson Democratic Rensselaer February 2, 1882December 31, 1882
Alfred C. Chapin Democratic Kings January, 1883December 31, 1883
Titus Sheard Republican Herkimer January, 1884December 31, 1884
George Z. Erwin Republican St. Lawrence January, 1885December 31, 1885
James W. Husted Republican Westchester January, 1886December 31, 1887two terms (fourth and fifth)
Fremont Cole Republican Schuyler January, 1888December 31, 1889two terms
James W. Husted Republican Westchester January, 1890December 31, 1890sixth term
William F. Sheehan Democratic Erie January, 1891December 31, 1891
Robert P. Bush Democratic Chemung January 5, 1892December 31, 1892
William Sulzer Democratic New York January, 1893December 31, 1893
George R. Malby Republican St. Lawrence January, 1894December 31, 1894
Hamilton Fish II Republican Putnam January, 1895December 31, 1896two terms
James M. E. O'Grady Republican Monroe January 5, 1897December 31, 1898two terms
S. Frederick Nixon Republican Chautauqua January, 1899October 10, 1905died in office during his seventh term
James W. Wadsworth, Jr. Republican Livingston January, 1906December 31, 1910five terms
Daniel D. Frisbie Democratic Schoharie January 4, 1911December 31, 1911
Edwin A. Merritt, Jr. Republican St. Lawrence January 3, 1912November 5, 1912resigned to take his seat in Congress
Alfred E. Smith Democratic New York January, 1913December 31, 1913
Thaddeus C. Sweet Republican Oswego January 7, 1914December 31, 1920seven terms
H. Edmund Machold Republican Jefferson January 5, 1921December 31, 1924four terms
Joseph A. McGinnies Republican Chautauqua January 7, 1925December 31, 1934ten terms
Irwin Steingut Democratic Kings January 2, 1935December 31, 1935father of Speaker Stanley Steingut
Irving M. Ives Republican Chenango January 1, 1936December 31, 1936
Oswald D. Heck Republican Schenectady January 13, 1937May 21, 1959longest serving Speaker (22 years and 4 months), died in office during his thirteenth term [10]
Joseph Carlino Republican Nassau May 21, 1959December 31, 1964as 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, 1965July 22, 1968vacated his seat during his second term upon appointment as a federal judge
Moses M. Weinstein Democratic Queens July 23, 1968December 31, 1968as Majority Leader became Acting Speaker upon Travia's resignation for the remainder of the term [11]
Perry B. Duryea, Jr. Republican Suffolk January 8, 1969December 31, 1974three terms, last Republican Speaker to date
Stanley Steingut Democratic Kings January 8, 1975December 31, 1978two terms, son of Speaker Irwin Steingut
Stanley Fink Democratic Kings January 2, 1979December 31, 1986four terms
Mel Miller Democratic Kings January 8, 1987December 13, 1991removed from office upon federal conviction in the middle of his third term
James R. Tallon, Jr. Democratic Broome December 13, 1991December 16, 1991as Majority Leader became Acting Speaker upon Miller's removal from office until the election of a successor
Saul Weprin Democratic Queens December 16, 1991February 11, 1994elected for the remainder of Miller's term, then re-elected to another term, died in office
Sheldon Silver Democratic New York February 11, 1994February 2, 2015elected Interim Speaker on January 24, 1994, after Weprin's incapacitation; [12] elected Speaker for the remainder of the term after Weprin's death, and re-elected eleven times; announced resignation to take effect one minute before midnight on February 2, 2015 after conviction; [13] Second longest serving assembly speaker in New York history
Joseph D. Morelle Democratic Monroe February 3, 2015February 3, 2015as Majority Leader became Acting Speaker upon Silver's resignation. Served for less than 12 hours.
Carl Heastie Democratic Bronx February 3, 2015present

Notes

  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.
  12. Interim Assembly Speaker Is Elected in the New York Post on January 25, 1994
  13. Sheldon Silver resigns as NY Assembly speaker in the New York Post on January 30, 2015

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