ALBANY — Buffalo-area Sen. Rob Ortt was elected Senate minority leader by Republicans on Friday to succeed Sen. John Flanagan of East Northport, who is retiring from the chamber.
Ortt, at 41 years of age and just five years in office, represents a change for the Republicans, who lost the majority to Democrats in 2018 after more than a half-century of nearly uninterrupted control.
Flanagan, 59, is leaving the Senate to take a job with Northwell Health.
The vote also signals the shift of GOP power from Long Island after Flanagan and, before him, former Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), ruled the majority since 2008. Skelos, who was convicted in a political corruption case, was released from federal prison in April.
Legislators make $120,000 in base pay, which will rise to $130,000 on Jan 1. The minority leader job incudes a stipend of $34,500, but Ortt won’t likely get that until Jan. 1 when the next legislative session begins.
Ortt is from North Tonawanda, where he once was mayor. He enlisted in the U.S. Army shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and served in Afghanistan. He earned a Bronze Star.
“Rob brings to the job a wealth of private sector and local government experience giving him a unique understanding of the impact of Albany’s policies,” said state Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy. “He’s answering the call when strong Republican leadership is needed to save our state … to win back control of the state Senate.”