President of WAMC radio speaks about Silver amid arrest

ALBANY, N.Y. – Sheldon Silver has played a leading role in New York politics for 20 years and now in the wake of his arrest, some have spoken about the legacy the Assembly Speaker has in the state.

Sheldon “Shelly” Silver, 70, was born in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. He has lived there his whole life and began his political career as an Assemblyman in 1976. While serving as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, he was voted in as Speaker of the Assembly in 1994.

Dr. Alan Chartock, President of WAMC radio, University at Albany Professor and Director of the Legislative Gazette, has interviewed Silver on his radio show often and says publicly, he’s a quiet guy but politically, he’s extremely powerful.

“He is a guy who is enigmatic. We don’t really know what he’s thinking,” Chartock said. “There’s something in politics called the iron law of oligarchy means you may have a big legislature but one guy is sitting at the top making the decisions. The Wizard of Oz and that is Shelly Silver.”

As for his accomplishments during his two decades as Speaker, former Assemblyman Ronald Canestrari said he worked to help the average New Yorker.

“Whether it’s rent control in New York City, which definitely affects his district, or aid to education helping those districts that were the poorest,” he said.

Silver’s been called ‘one of the three men running New York’, making decisions with Governor Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.

“He would come to the democratic majority with some ideas, and if we said, ‘No, we don’t like this,’ he would adjust accordingly,” Canestrari said. “That’s true leadership.”

Silver is also known for the repeal of New York City’s commuter tax and his opposition to the legalization of professional MMA.

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