ALBANY — The Assembly’s Republican minority conference swore in Melissa L. Miller as one of its seven new members Tuesday and made a promise to confront what it called Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s dictatorial handling of the state.
Miller was sworn in to her 20th Assembly District seat serving Nassau County. She defeated Democrat Anthony Eramo, who has served three years on the Long Beach City Council.
Miller, of Atlantic Beach, has been an advocate for better care for children with special needs like her own 16-year-old son, who is disabled and suffers from seizures. As part of that effort, she has supported the use of marijuana for medical purposes as a leader of the Compassionate Care New York group. The legislature approved medical use of marijuana under strict regulation in 2014. The system continues to require updates and some expansions take place this year as patients start to receive the drug.
On Tuesday, she said she was humbled by her quick rise as a new face in politics.
Assembly Republican Leader Brian Kolb (R-Canandaigua) praised her for her advocacy for disabled children, then lit into Cuomo and outlined the GOP conference’s plans for the 2017 legislative session.
“We’ve got to remind the governor that this not a dictatorship,” said Kolb. . “We are supposed to be all in this together and hopefully our governor will wake up to the fact that this is not all about him.”
Miller’s seat was vacated by Democrat Todd Kaminsky when he was elected to the state Senate earlier in 2016.
Also sworn in as new members of the GOP conference were:
- Kevin Byrne for the 94th district in Putnam and Westchester counties.
- Joseph Errigo for the 133rd district near Rochester.
- Brian Miller for the 101st district covering Oneida, Herkimer, Otsego, Delaware, Ulster, Sullivan and Orange counties.
- Angelo Morinello for the 145th district in Niagara and Erie counties, whose 95-year-old mother, Mary, held the Bible for his oath.
- Michael Norris for the 144th district in Niagara, Erie and Orleans counties.
- Mary Beth Walsh for the 124 district in Saratoga and Schenectady counties.