ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — They say politics makes strange bedfellows.
Adding veracity to that adage was the vote Monday for Monroe County president.
Democrat Sabrina LaMar cut a deal with the GOP that gave her the top leadership role in exchange for a move that will allow Republicans to maintain their majority rule, which comes with a host of perquisites that includes staffing appointments.
The Republicans and LaMar will also have the power to set the legislature’s agenda.
“I intend to rise above partisan politics and instead choose to be a bridge between ‘politics as usual’ and getting things done, which is exactly what my constituents want — they want someone who can get beyond petty political bickering and deliver results,” LaMar said in a statement.
But the Democrats were having none of it.
In a statement released Monday night, Monroe County Democratic Committee Chairman Zach King claimed LaMar’s decision arose from her desire to increase her own political power.
“We’ve seen nationally what happens when Democratic officials won’t work with their own colleagues and become a rubber stamp for the Republican agenda,” King said. “It would be a shame for residents in Legislator LaMar’s district and throughout the County for that dysfunction to continue here.”
LaMar’s move is connected to a years-long tussle between two factions within MCDC that eventually led to a splinter group within the legislature called the Black and Asian Democratic Caucus, of which LaMar was a member.
That group caucused with the GOP giving them a super majority.
The primary election upended that group as voters tossed out most of its members, but LaMar remained and when Democrats secured 15 seats over the Republicans 14, Lamar picked up enough leverage to craft this power-sharing agreement with the GOP.
Lamar was voted in as president 15-14 with all 14 Republicans voting for her and all 14 Democrats voting against.
With that, she becomes the first Black woman to lead the legislature.
Meanwhile, Yversha Roman will lead the Democrats, who will remain in the minority despite post-election celebrations.