Assemblyman Oaks reacts to Silver sentencing

Sheldon Silver, the former Speaker of the New York State Assembly was once one of the most-feared politicians in Albany. Today at 72-years-old, Silver learned of his fate. He had already been found guilty, but there was a lot of discrepancy regarding the length of his sentence. Judge Valerie E. Caproni issued his sentence, which shockingly exceeded a decade. It was that moment when New Yorkers learned that Silver would spend the next 12-years behind bars.While some had attempted to justify his actions by pointing out the positive things he had done for his constituents, Caproni was not swayed. She said his actions had “incalculable harm to the people of New York.” She went on to point out his actions, historically, were not that of an “honest person.”Assemblyman Bob Oaks commented on Silver’s conviction – calling for greater ethics reform at the state level. Oaks explained that while this is a significant step in terms of precedent, it doesn’t do the entire state of New York politics justice. The necessity of ethics reform in New York hasn’t been something as harshly debated. In fact, most residents believe it’s time for ethics reform. Real ethics reform. It continues to be something that has remained challenged in getting significant or concrete legislation behind. On May 12th, former New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skellos will be sentenced. A week after that, another former leader of Senate Democrats will be up for sentencing. Both having already been convicted of crimes.Now, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio are facing inquiries of their own, which have been spearheaded by investigations launched by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. Like many, Oaks says now is the time for change. Whether change actually happens in this legislative session, like some are calling for, remains to be seen.

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