Assembly speaker has been a friend to Buffalo

The News thinks it’s “time for someone else as Assembly speaker.” I understand that The News is no fan of Sheldon Silver, but I think readers might benefit from a different perspective.

My experience with Silver is that he has been a good friend to Buffalo. Over the last decade, the Silver-led Assembly has directed hundreds of millions of dollars in state investment to building our region’s future. Major funding has gone to capital improvements at the University at Buffalo, for development of the Medical Campus, for upgrades at Roswell Park, for neighborhood renewal and for a plethora of job-creating, quality-of-life projects.

Last year, when the Buffalo business community sought an expansion of the historic homes tax credit, Silver made sure the Assembly passed the legislation, which, unfortunately, was vetoed by the governor.

I take issue with the editorial’s position that the speaker is somehow lacking the energy for the fights that need to be undertaken. Well before we elected Andrew Cuomo, Silver was the leading voice calling for greater investment in our inner-city schools, for early education funding, for keeping a college degree affordable, for marriage equality and for reforming campaign finance and our public authorities. Lest you have forgotten, in the fall of 1999, Silver came to Buffalo and presented his blueprint for constructing a Western New York innovation-based economy. That was long before the governor created his regional economic development councils. The speaker carries on the good fight to this day.

The News’ assertion that new blood matters in politics is naive and ageist at best. As a businessman, give me experience and passion for the work every time. Silver has both in spades.

Michael L. Joseph

President, Clover Management