Niagara Gazette — Gov. Andrew Cuomo is losing his No. 1 cheerleader.
Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy made it official this past week when he announced that he would not seek re-election this fall as Cuomo’s running mate.
Duffy’s departure is certainly a significant loss to the five-member, fledgling New Stadium Working Group that Cuomo has appointed to help keep the Buffalo Bills in Western New York. Others on that committee include Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Empire State Development President Kenneth Adams and Buffalo-Niagara CEO Dottie Gallagher-Cohen. Duffy was viewed as an excellent choice to offer a calm, informative and enlightening voice to such a critical decision.
On the more pressing issue, Democrat party leaders generally agree that Cuomo will name another Western New Yorker or someone on Long Island as his running mate. With the future of the Bills on the front burner, he is more likely to lean toward WNY in the selection process. But it doesn’t have to be Byron Brown. Why not dark-horse Dyster, who seems to have established a solid relationship with the state chief executive? He would be an excellent choice.
The problem with the No. 2 post in Albany, which pays $151,000 per year, is that the lieutenant governor’s role too often is relegated to ribbon-cutting, project unveilings and representing the governor at funerals. Karen DeWitt, who covers the Capitol for National Public Radio (NPR) , says that Duffy may simply have “become disenchanted with the job.”
For the record, 11 of the state’s 56 governors first served as lieutenant governor.
Perhaps no one was better qualified to move into the Executive Mansion than Malcolm Wilson, a 20-year veteran of the state Assembly, a scholar and astute parliamentarian, who spent 15 years as Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller’s lieutenant governor.