- Joseph Bruno
Infobox State Senator
name =Sen. Joseph L. Bruno
state_senate3 =New York
birth_date =birth date and age|1929|4|8
Glens Falls, New York
spouse =Barbara Frasier (deceased)
children =Joseph, Susan, Kenneth, and Catherine
Brunswick, New York
Joseph L. Bruno (born
April 8, 1929) is an American businessman and Republican politician. He was the Temporary President of the New York State Senateand its majority leader.
June 23, 2008, Bruno announced that he would not seek reelection to the State Senate in 2008. On June 24, 2008, Bruno stepped down from the positions of Senate Majority Leader and "temporary president of the senate", but remained a State Senator. On July 18, 2008, Bruno resigned from the New York State Senate.
Under the New York State Constitution, the "temporary president of the senate" performs the duties of the lieutenant governor when that office is vacant, or its office-holder is out of state. [http://www.senate.state.ny.us/lbdcinfo/senconstitution.html Constitution of the State of New York] , Article IV, Section 6, Paragraph 4. "In case of vacancy in the office of lieutenant-governor alone, or if the lieutenant-governor shall be impeached, absent from the state or otherwise unable to discharge the duties of office, the temporary president of the senate shall perform all the duties of lieutenant-governor during such vacancy or inability." Alternate link: [http://www.dos.state.ny.us/info/pdfs/cons2004.pdf Constitution of the State of New York] .] He represented the 43rd New York State Senate District.
Bruno was born in
Glens Falls, New York, and graduated from of St. Mary's Academy. He has a B.A. degreein Business Administrationfrom Skidmore Collegeand served in the Korean Waras an infantrySergeant. Bruno served as president of the New York State Jayceesand in 1964 was named by them as one of the five "Outstanding Young Men of the State." [ [http://www.senate.state.ny.us/Senatorbio.nsf/b6fbd50d35ec52cb85256eb60060d397/83418d17e18e1c1385256fd2005861fb?OpenDocument Joesph Bruno's bio.] ]
Bruno and his wife Barbara Frasier (deceased) are parents of four children: Joseph, Susan, Kenneth and Catherine. Senator Bruno lives in Brunswick in
Rensselaer County, New York.
There is at least one building named for Bruno in each of the fourteen towns and two cities that comprise
Rensselaer County, New York. In addition, the Houston AstrosA short-season affiliate Tri-City ValleyCatsplay in Joseph L. Bruno Stadiumsituated on the Troy-North Greenbush border.
Bruno was first elected to the New York State Senate in 1976 from a district composed of the counties of Rensselaer and Saratoga. He was first elected Temporary President of the New York State Senate in January 1995 and re-elected to that position in 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2005.
In 1966, Bruno was on the campaign staff of Governor
Nelson Rockefeller, and from 1969 to 1974 he served as Special Assistant to Speaker of the Assembly Perry B. Duryea. From 1968 to 1969, he was President of the New York State Association of Young Republicans. He also served as Chairman of the Rensselaer County Republican Committee from 1974 to 1977.
Bruno, along with Governor
George Patakiand Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, was instrumental in bringing the return of the death penaltyto New York State in 1995. The New York Court of Appeals(the highest state court) ruled the law they passed to be unconstitutional, because that law gave jurors deadlocked between life without parole and execution no choice but to give eligibility for parole after 25 years. When faced with this choice, the Court of Appeals feared that execution would seem unfairly preferable. In the 10 years since the law was passed, New York's crime rate plummeted without ever seeing an execution, perhaps weakening public support for the death penalty. Silver let the law die in 2005 without much debate.ref|NYDailyNews-CAPITAL-PUNISHMENT-1995-2005 According to an editorial in " The Buffalo News", Bruno forced a bill through the Senate on June 27, 1995that would have forced girls under 16 to get consent from both parents for an abortion. It never passed the New York State Assembly.ref|BuffaloNews-PREGNANT-TEENS
In 2005, Bruno proposed research into high speed rail development in New York State as part of a plan to boost
Upstate New York's economy.ref|BrunoWebSite-High-Speed-Rail
As the Temporary President of the Senate, Bruno is Chairman of the Rules Committee and an "ex officio" member of all Senate standing committees and statutory commissions.
A minor league baseball stadium in
Troy, New York, the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, is named after the Senator.
Bruno has dominated politics in the County, as well as the state, experiencing only two major defeats; when Democratic Judge Patrick McGrath won re-election as County Court Judge by 69 percent in 2003, and when East Greenbush Town Justice Bob Jacon defeated District Attorney Patricia DeAngelis for an additional County Judgeship that was created by the State Senate specifically for DeAngelis in 2005.
In February 2005, Bruno stated that America, instead of battling insurgents in
Iraq, should declare victory and "get the troops out of there." [ [http://www.nysun.com/article/26996 Bruno: 'Get the Troops Out of There'] , " The New York Sun", February 3, 2006. Retrieved on 2008-03-17.]
2007 legislative session
At the start of the 2007 session, it appeared the highly popular incoming Governor
Eliot Spitzerwould be able to enact an ambitious reform agenda over the opposition of a weakened Bruno. However, the 2007 state budget was deemed by many as similar to the budgets approved during the Pataki years, which some dubbed a victory for Bruno.
Entering 2007, Bruno's hold on Senate control appeared more tenuous than in prior years, as the Republicans lost the senate seat formerly held by
Nicholas Spano, failed to regain a Republican leaning seat in Syracuse and with a caucus diminished to 33 members had to defend the open seat of Michael Balboniin Nassau County, which was lost to a Democrat in a February 6, 2007special election.cite news|url=http://timesunion.com/AspStories/storyprint.asp?StoryID=560993|title=Spitzer's Senate choice wins |author=Elizabeth Benjamin|date=February 7, 2007 |work= Times Union|accessdate=2008-03-18] Balboni had resigned to take a top post in the incoming Eliot Spitzeradministration. The electoral reverses and the ongoing FBI investigation led some Republicans to suggest Bruno might step down as Majority Leader. [cite news|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/22/nyregion/22bruno.html|title=More Records Subpoenaed in Bruno Case|author=Danny Hakim and Mike McIntire|date=December 22, 2006|work= The New York Times|quote=On the political front, Senator John Bonacic... became the first Republican to call openly for Mr. Bruno to step down as majority leader, a rare act of defiance among Senate Republicans.|accessdate=2008-03-17] There were also rumors some Republican senators might cross the aisle to throw control of the Senate to the Democrats.
Bruno's position became more tenuous in February 2008 after another special election loss, that of the heavily Republican 48th District in
Watertownformerly held by James W. Wright.This loss diminished the Republican edge to a single seat and press speculation centered on whether the remaining GOP senate caucus would cause Bruno to step down. [cite news|url=http://timesunion.com/AspStories/storyprint.asp?StoryID=667122|title=Senate loss slams state GOP|author=Irene Jay Liu|date=February 27, 2008|work= Times Union|accessdate=2008-03-18]
In April Bruno also appeared to hold veto power over two other Spitzer initiatives:
gay marriage[cite news|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/02/nyregion/02bruno.html|title=Bruno Opposes Bill to Legalize Gay Marriage|author=Nicholas Confessore|work= The New York Times|date=May 2, 2007 |accessdate=2008-03-18] and campaign finance reform[cite news |url=http://www.nypost.com/seven/04252007/news/regionalnews/bruno_vs__ri_hie_pitz_regionalnews_kenneth_lovett__post_correspondent.htm|title=Bruno vs. Ri¢hie $ptiz|author=Kenneth Lovett|work= New York Post|date=April 25, 2007|accessdate=2008-03-18 ] . He challenged Spitzer to restore the state's death penaltylaw. [cite news |url=http://www.observer.com/2007/spitzer-albany-and-death-penalty |title=On Death Penalty, Bruno and Spitzer Versus Assembly |author=Azi Paybarah |work= The New York Observer|date=April 25, 2007 |accessdate=2008-03-18 ] He also has criticized the Governor's plan to issue driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, claiming it was aimed at stuffing the ballot box with Democratic voters. [cite news|url=http://www.nypost.com/seven/09262007/news/regionalnews/bruno_warns_of_illegal_vote_dr.htm|title=Bruno Warns of Illegal Vote Drive|author=Kenneth Lovett|work= New York Post|date=September 26, 2007|accessdate=2008-03-18]
Police surveillance controversy
July 23, 2007, New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomoadmonished Governor Eliot Spitzer's administration for ordering the State Police to track Bruno's travel records, particularly his use of a state helicopter.cite news|author=Danny Hakim|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/23/nyregion/23cnd-spitzer.html|title=Spitzer's Staff Misused Police, Report Finds|work= The New York Times|date=July 23, 2007|accessdate=2008-03-17] At the direction of top officials of the Spitzer administration, the New York State Policecreated documents meant to cause political damage to Bruno.cite news|url=http://www.theithacajournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070723/NEWS01/70723006/1002|work= The Ithaca Journal|title=Cuomo: Spitzer aides used state police to try to damage Bruno|author=Cara Matthews|date=July 23, 2007|archivedate=2008-03-17|archiveurl=http://m.lohud.com/detail.jsp?key=62289&full=1] The governor's staff had stated they were responding to a Freedom of Information Act(FOIA or FOIL) request from "The Times-Union" of Albany in late June.cite news|url=http://www.troyrecord.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=18619713&BRD=1170&PAG=461&dept_id=7021&rfi=6|work=Troy Record|title=Spitzer aides blamed for leak|author=Michael Gormley|date=July 24, 2007 Not available, 2008-03-17.] On May 23, Spitzer's Communications Director Darren Dopp wrote Rich Baum, a senior Spitzer adviser, that "records exist going way back"cite news|url=http://www.oneidadispatch.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=18620173&BRD=1709&PAG=461&dept_id=68844&rfi=6|work= Oneida Dispatch|title=Spitzer aides linked to Bruno leaks|author=Michael Gormley|date=July 24, 2007|accessdate=2008-03-17] about Bruno's use of state aircraft, and that "Also, I think there is a new and different way to proceed re media. Will explain tomorrow." Dopp later wrote another e-mail to Baum after a story ran in the "Times-Union" about a federal grand juryinvestigation of Bruno's investments in thoroughbred racing horses, and wrote: "Think travel story would fit nicely in the mix."
A 57-page report issued by the Attorney General's office [http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/newyork/ny-bc-ny--brunoflights-exce0723jul23,0,3604652.story] concluded that Spitzer aides attempted to create negative media coverage concerning Bruno's travel before any FOIA request was made.cite news|url=http://www.buffalonews.com/home/story/125390.html|work=
The Buffalo News|title=Cuomo criticizes Spitzer for using State Police to monitor Bruno|author=Tom Precious|date=July 23, 2007 Not available, 2008-03-17.] The investigation looked into both Bruno's travel and the senate leader's allegation that Spitzer used State Police to spy on him.cite news|url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-6800103,00.html|work= Guardian Unlimited|title=Report: NY Governor's Office Leaked Data|author=Michael Gormley|date=July 23, 2007 Not available, 2008-03-17.] Cuomo concluded that "These e-mails show that persons in the governor's office did not merely produce records under a FOIL request, but were instead engaged in planning and producing media coverage concerning Senator Bruno's travel on state aircraft before any FOIL request was made."cite news|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/24/AR2007072401999.html|work= The Washington Post|title=N.Y. Governor Moves to Limit Ethics Scandal|author=Anthony Faiola|date=July 25, 2007|page=A06|accessdate=2008-03-17] It noted that the "Times-Union's" initial FOIL request didn't even ask for the records involving Bruno that the paper was later given by aides to Spitzer.cite news|url=http://www.nypost.com/seven/07242007/news/regionalnews/spitzer_aides_dirty__cuomo_regionalnews_fredric_u__dicker__state_editor.htm|work= New York Post|title=Spitzer Aides Dirty: Cuomo|author=Fredric U. Dicker|date=July 24, 2007|accessdate=2008-03-17] The "Times-Union's" requests sought documents on use of state aircraft by seven officials, including Spitzer, Bruno and Lieutenant Governor David Paterson, yet Spitzer’s office released only Bruno's itinerary.cite news|url=http://www.buffalonews.com/home/story/125834.html|work= The Buffalo News|title=Spitzer aides faulted for smearing Bruno over use of state aircraft|author=Tom Precious|date=July 24, 2007 Not available, 2008-03-17.] The Spitzer administration and the State Police provided far more details about Bruno than about other officials to the "Times-Union", including records to reply to a request under the state’s Freedom of Information laws, though no such request had even been made.cite news|url=http://www.timesunion.com/aspstories/storyprint.asp?StoryID=608526|work= Times Union|title=Exhaustive effort to 'get Joe' boomerangs on Spitzer's aides|author=Fred Lebrun|date=July 24, 2007|accessdate=2008-03-17] The report noted that the state acted outside the laws in what it released, such as documents that resembled official state travel records, “which they were not" according to Ellen Nachtigall Biben, a former prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office, who contributed to the report. The report stated that the "Times-Union" request came after the story about Bruno’s travels was published, and was "not consistent" with Spitzer administration claims that all it did was respond to a FOIA request.cite news|url=http://www.localnewswatch.com/jordanfalls/stories/index.php?action=fullnews&id=136679|work= Jordan Falls News|title=Spitzer sanctions top aides over scandal|author=Sara Kugler|date=July 24, 2007 Not available, 2008-03-17.] No other officials were subject to the same scrutiny as Bruno, and in some cases, the reports created by State Police were pieced together long after the trips, sometimes based on the memory of the police escorts involved.
The report cleared Bruno of any legal violations in his use of the state's air fleet.cite news|url=http://www.newsday.com/news/local/newyork/am-spitzer0724,0,243893.story|title=Spitzer punishes aides after AG report|work=
Newsday|author=Melissa Mansfield|date=July 23, 2007 Not available, 2008-03-17.] Spitzer also used the state aircraft during the first six months of his term as governor for political purposes, including a stop in Rochester to attend an event for the Monroe County Democratic Committee on a day in which he had a number of stops related to public business.cite news|url=http://timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=608513&category=FRONTPG&BCCode=HOME&newsdate=7/24/2007|work= Times Union|title=Spitzer aides on the outs|author=James M. Odato|date=July 24, 2007 Not available, 2008-03-17.] The report criticized Spitzer's office for using State Police resources to gather information about Bruno's travel and releasing the information to the media.cite news|url=http://www.nysun.com/article/58958|work= The New York Sun|title=Spitzer Faces Probe in Senate|author=Jacob Gershman|date=July 24, 2007|accessdate=2008-03-17]
Spitzer responded at a July 23 press conference that "As governor, I am accountable for what goes on in the executive branch and I accept responsibility for the actions of my office" and that his administration had "grossly mishandled" the situation.cite news|url=http://blog.silive.com/advanceupdate/2007/07/report_governors_office_compil.html|work=
Staten Island Advance|title=Report: Governor's office compiled, leaked data on Bruno|author=Sally Goldenberg|date=July 23, 2007|accessdate=2008-03-17] Spitzer issued an apology to Bruno and stated that "I apologized to Senator Bruno and I did so personally this morning."
However, Spitzer's apology did not end the dispute. Four probes by the state Attorney General's office, the State Senate Investigations Committee, the Albany County District Attorney's office, and the New York Commission on Public Integrity (the state ethics board), are ongoing.
On March 29, 2008, the "
The Buffalo News" reported "former Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer lied to prosecutors" about his role in Troopergate, but "the Albany County district attorney said he will not pursue any criminal charges against the already disgraced ex-governor." [ [http://www.buffalonews.com/home/story/310393.html The March 29, 2008 Buffalo News article] ]
Performing Lieutenant Governor's duties
As the Senate's majority leader, Joseph Bruno was next in line to obtain the powers and duties, but not the office, of Governor of New York. Following
Eliot Spitzer's resignation on March 17, 2008, Bruno, as "temporary president of the senate", commenced performing "all the duties of lieutenant-governor" in accordance with the New York State Constitution.cite news|title= Paterson's move to governor elevates Bruno|date= March 12, 2008|url=http://www.silive.com/newsflash/index.ssf?/base/news-24/1205353168168390.xml&storylist=simetro|work= Staten Island Live|publisher= Associated Press|accessdate=2008-03-13]
The last person, before Bruno, to perform the Lieutenant Governor's duties without being the Lieutenant Governor was Republican Senate Majority Leader and Temporary President
Warren M. Anderson, who did so from February 1985 to December 1986, following the resignation of Lieutenant Governor Alfred DelBello.
June 23, 2008, Bruno confirmed that he would not seek re-election in the fall of 2008. [cite news|url=http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/newyork/ny-bc-ny--brunofuture0623jun23,0,1960648.story|title=NY Senate leader Joseph Bruno won't run again|work= Newsday|publisher= Associated Press|first=Michael|last=Gormley|date=2008-06-23] On June 24, 2008, Bruno stepped down as "temporary president of the senate" and as Senate Majority Leader. [cite news|url=http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/newyork/ny-bc-ny-xgr--skelosprofile0624jun24,0,5762765.story|title=New majority leader a skilled, savvy politician|work= Newsday|publisher= Associated Press|first=Frank|last=Eltman|date=2008-06-24] On July 18, 2008, Bruno resigned his New York State Senateseat. [ [http://www.wnbc.com/politics/16890437/detail.html N.Y. Senate Leader Bruno To Resign Seat] ]
During the budget process in 1995, Bruno, new to the Majority Leader role at the time, made a comment about Blacks and Hispanics who "got their hands out" pressuring the legislature to avoid cuts to social services. [cite news|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE7DD1039F93BA35757C0A963958260&n|title=Governor Criticizes A Chief Ally|author=James Dao|date=April 8, 1995|work=
The New York Times|accessdate=2008-03-18] [cite news |url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE3DA103EF933A25757C0A963958260&pagewanted=all|title=Budget Battle Heats Up in Albany as Legislative Leaders Trade Harsh Words|author=Kevin Sack |date=April 10, 1995|work= The New York Times|accessdate=2008-03-18]
According to the "
Syracuse Post-Standard", "Bruno said he was referring to the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, which is a major force in the Democratic majority in the Assembly." [SyracusePostStandard-Bruno-Assailed] Bruno's defense was that he was referring to political caucuses, not all blacks and Hispanics; he offered a blanket apology for offending some people, but refused to take his words back. [AlbanyTimesUnion-Sharpton-to-Bruno]
Fiscal conservative pundits originally were very supportive of Bruno's agenda in the State Senate [cite news |url=http://www.city-journal.org/html/11_2_new_yorks_rep.html |date=Spring 2001 |title=New York's Republican Crack-Up |author=Steven Malanga |work=
City Journal|publisher= Manhattan Institute|accessdate=2008-03-18 ] In recent years they have expressed concern over his willingness to cooperate with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silveron budgets they deem excessive, endorsements he has received from state employee labor unions, including health careunion Local 1199, and recruiting former Democrats as Republicans to campaign for swing seats in the Senate, such as districts in Syracuse and the Bronx. [cite news|url=http://blogs.timesunion.com/capitol/?p=2834|title=Mystery Candidate Revealed|date=November 22, 2006|author=Elizabeth Benjamin|publisher= Times Union|work=Capitol Confidential|accessdate=2008-03-18] [cite news|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9501E7DF123AF934A25754C0A9629C8B63|title=Conservative Party Refuses To Endorse Senate Leader|author=Jonathan P. Hicks|date=July 17, 2004|accessdate=2008-03-18]
In December 2006 Bruno disclosed the
Federal Bureau of Investigationhad been looking into business associates who had received state grants. [cite news|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/20/nyregion/20bruno.html|title=Bruno Is Subject of Inquiry by F.B.I.|author=Michael Cooper and Danny Hakim|date=December 20, 2006|work= The New York Times|accessdate=2008-03-18] The FBI investigation appears to have led to Bruno ending one of his long-time consulting jobs in 2007. [cite news|url=http://timesunion.com/AspStories/storyprint.asp?StoryID=649518|title=Bruno cuts ties to firm|author=James M. Odato|date=December 22, 2007|work= Times Union|accessdate=2008-03-18]
List of New York State Senators
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