For Immediate Release
Contact: Duncan Crary, 518-274-2723
TROY, NY (Dec. 12, 2012) — When Troy attorney Jack Casey published his satirical political novel “A Parliament of Fowls” (StoneGate Ink, Sept. 2012), he hoped that statehouse shenanigans described in the book would never repeat themselves.
“It’s déjà vu all over again,” Casey said of the recent formation of a “bipartisan governing coalition” in the New York State Senate. Under the power-sharing plan, a block of five swing vote Democrat senators will prevent their own party from taking control in spite of the Democrats appearing to have won the majority during the recent election.
“This is nearly the same thing that happened during the 2009 New York State Senate ‘coup’, except it’s not done secretly and it’s happening at the beginning at the session,” Casey said. “Looks like budget negotiations will now be conducted by ‘Four Men In A Room.'”
As a real-life participant, Casey knows first-hand about the 2009 senate “coup,” which was the inspiration for his latest novel. The former senate parliamentarian (1996-2008, 2011-2012), was tapped in June ’09 to write the parliamentary script to return majority control to the Republican party as two Democrat senators switched party allegiance.
Eventually, the “coup,” as it was called, effectively shut down state government with an unbreakable 31-31 tie between Democrats and Republican senators after one of the swing Democrats returned to his party.
The correction — creating a 63rd seat so there never will be a tie — apparently hasn’t worked, Casey noted, because party affiliates will still switch sides. While today’s “bipartisan” coalition might not paralyze state government, it does subvert the political process by placing an undue power into the hands of very few, Casey observed.
Customarily, there are two parties in the legislative bodies of New York, and whichever party is in the majority controls the house. But under the newly formed senate coalition, five maverick Dems have agreed to align with the GOP in exchange for a hefty share of power. Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos, (R-Long Island), has agreed to share authority over the chamber with Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, (D-Bronx), leader of the five maverick Dems. Klein, who represents 5 senators, will have co-equal status with Senator Skelos (who represents 31, or possibly 32, senators) because he holds sway with the swing votes of four other members.
“Here you have five minor characters with a tremendous amount of influence on the destiny of New York, simply because they’re willing to broker their votes for power,” Casey said. “Legislative politics is all about compromise, but these five disgruntled Democrats who can’t get along with their own party will wield disproportionate power by siding with the ‘enemy.'”
Because of the breakdown of votes by party line, this block of five swing voters will determine which legislation gets reported to the chamber and passed by the body, Casey explained. If the coalition votes with the Democrats, then the Democrats will pass their legislation. If they go with Republicans, then the Republicans pass their bills, he said.
Ultimately, Casey says the maverick Dems will be accountable to the people who voted them into office. But they’re in office now, and he wonders how solid their commitment to Republican values will be — especially on contentious issues like minimum wage, abortion, tuition payments to illegal immigrants and women’s rights. If their commitment to Republican values is total, Casey wonders why they don’t just switch their enrollment and become Republicans.
“In my novel, I used the term ‘Wildcard.’ These five Dems want to be the wildcard in the poker hand,” Casey said. “They’re neither fish nor fowl. They want to be all things to all people.”
“When public officials concentrate more on their own power and aggrandizement than on the public good, they’re not fulfilling their oaths of office,” Casey said. “And that’s how the august New York State Senate, long known for its decorum and debate, degenerated into a parliament of squawking fowls in ’09 and it looks like we’re in for Round 2.”
“A Parliament of Fowls” is available in paperback through independent booksellers and online at Amazon. It is also available as an ebook on Kindle, Nook and other e-readers.
For information, visit: http://JackCasey.com
To request a review copy of “Parliament” or schedule an interview with Jack Casey, contact Duncan Crary at 518-274-2723
Publicity images: http://DuncanCrary.com/clients/JackCasey