ALBANY COUNTY An Albany County legislator from Delmar has joined the race to replace outgoing Chairman Shawn Morse-pitting himself against three other potential Democrats for the position.
The chair’s vacancy comes at a tumultuous time for the Legislature, which has been widely criticized over the last four years for dubious redistricting practices, overstepping authority, opaque leadership and ongoing dissension within the ranks of its majority party.
Legislator Charles Dawson, a Democrat from the 35th District (Glenmont and Delmar), is a member of the newly formed Democratic Reform Coalition, a group of county legislators who have pledged to support specific reforms intended to increase accountability and transparency in county government. He will run for the seat against Green Island Democrat Sean Ward, who has the support of long-time Majority Leader Frank Commisso, and, possibly, two legislators who are also on the coalition for reform. Gary Domalewicz of Albany has been more outspoken regarding his intentions to seek support, but Bryan Clenehan of Guilderland, who said he was considering running just weeks ago, has withheld public comment. Clenehan is said to have the support of Joe O’Brien (Loudonville), the only Democrat to challenge Commisso, who has led the Democratic caucus since 1993. Growing dissatisfaction with that leadership is what led to the formation of the reform coalition and new field of challengers who feel that the status quo has become increasingly dysfunctional.
“The legislature’s way of conducting its business on behalf of the