A tea party-style group will stage a protest next week at the offices of Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) over his support of New York’s new, comprehensive gun-control law and what they call his cozy relationship with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat.
“We want Dean Skelos to step down as Senate leader,” said Steve Flanagan, head of the Conservative Society for Action, an Islip-based group. “We feel he’s working to closely with the governor.”
Flanagan said Skelos should have opposed the gun-control proposal instead of negotiating to add provisions that Republicans favor. (Skelos inserted provisions to increase penalties for illegal guns, for example.)
“He’s supposedly representing moderate and conservative suburban Republicans. We never thought he would cave on this,” Flanagan said of Skelos. The rally is set for noon on Saturday, Feb. 17.
A Skelos spokesman didn’t immediately comment.
When the Senate passed the gun law, Skelos said he supported the gun package because it was "well-balanced" and "comprehensive."
"If you have an assault weapon, nobody is going to take it away from you," Skelos said then. "Nobody is going to take away your 10-round clips. You're just going to have seven rounds in it. So, I think, on balance, the Second Amendment is protected, but also there are incredibly enhanced criminal penalties."
Flanagan's group backed an unsuccessful attempt to unseat Assemb. Joseph Saladino (R-Massapequa) last fall, after the CSA's claim that Saladino wasn't conservative enough failed to gain traction.
UPDATE: Skelos' spokesman Scott Reif sent the following statement in response to the CSA protest:
"Under Senator Skelos' leadership, New York has passed two early budgets that cut spending, enacted a property tax cap, eliminated the MTA payroll tax for thousands of businesses and all schools, rightsized state government, expanded the DNA databank to help prosecutors fight crime, mandated life without parole for anyone who kills a first responder and increased penalties for criminals who use illegal guns. We're proud of the many conservative victories that have been achieved over the last two years, and we're going to do even more."