After committee ‘musical chairs,’ Squadron chairs Social Services

Volume 79, Number 32 | January 13 – 19, 2010

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After committee ‘musical chairs,’

Squadron chairs Social Services

State Senator Daniel Squadron was named chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Services last week, a sizeable appointment for the freshman senator.

The announcement was part of a Senate shake-up in which Majority Leader John Sampson, a Democrat, made history by appointing two Republicans to chair committees. It was the first time that a majority party in the state Senate has ever given major committee leadership positions to minority-party senators.

Sampson appointed Republicans George Maziarz to chair the Committee on Energy and Telecommunications and Tom Morahan to chair the Committee on Mental Health and Hygiene.

The appointments set off a game of political musical chairs that ultimately landed Squadron with his new title. Morahan’s appointment bumped state Senator Shirley Huntley, who was previously chairing the Mental Health and Hygiene Committee, so Sampson gave her the Committee on Cities instead. That’s the committee that Squadron was chairing, so Sampson moved Squadron to lead the Social Services Committee instead.

Squadron, who was previously vice chairperson of the committee, said the committee is particularly important given the economic downturn.

“We must protect the safety net, and invest in jobs, families and long-term skills, while making our state government more efficient, effective and accountable,” Squadron said. “These goals are particularly vital as we make do with increasingly limited resources.”

Squadron replaces Senator Velmanette Montgomery, who previously chaired the Social Services Committee. Montgomery is still chairing the Committee on Children and Families.