Three Regents re-elected, despite Common Core criticisms

Posted at: 03/11/2014 9:27 AM
Updated at: 03/11/2014 8:28 PM
By: Steve Flamisch

ALBANY – In a joint session of the legislature, the state Assembly and Senate voted Tuesday to re-elect three incumbent members of the state Board of Regents

Christine Cea, who represents Staten Island, Dr. James Cottrell, an at-large member from Manhattan, and Wade Norwood, an at-large member from Rochester, will serve five-year terms.

"I am obviously delighted that three of our members were re-elected," said Dr. Merryl Tisch, Chancellor of the Board of Regents. "It is an honor to serve with them. They are all good people."

Regent James Jackson, who represented much of the Capital Region, withdrew from consideration. The legislature elected Monticello Village Justice Josephine Finn to replace him.

Tisch declined to say why Jackson, a longtime teacher and principal at Shaker High School, abruptly withdrew the night before the vote. Attempts to reach Jackson were not successful.


The vote came at a time when the governor, many lawmakers, and education groups are criticizing the board over its rollout of the new Common Core learning standards.

Senate Republicans, who have traditionally boycotted Regents votes because Assembly Democrats wield a powerful majority, attended this vote to send a message.

"This Board of Regents is responsible for the flawed implementation of Common Core in New York State," Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos said, reading a prepared statement.

Sen. John Flanagan, a Republican who chairs the Senate Education Committee, cited the need for "fresh faces" on the 17-member board.

"This is one of the few lightning rod opportunities that we have to exercise our discretion and our judgment on behalf of our residents," Flanagan said.


In the end, most Senate Republicans – and Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk (D – Duanesburg) – voted for neither the incumbents nor the challengers. They voted "no" on all nominees.

"I voted no on all nominees… to challenge the flawed selection process used to choose the candidates," Sen. Jim Seward (R – Oneonta) said in a statement.

Assembly Republicans voted for the challengers, while Assembly Democrats and most Senate Democrats voted for the incumbents – propelling them to victory.

"When you look at the challenges in education today, you can't lay the blame just at the feet of the Board of Regents," Assemblyman John McDonald (D – Cohoes) said.

"I can’t blame it solely on those four members up for re-election this year. Therefore, I was supporting their re-election."


Sen. Neil Breslin (D – Bethlehem): Voted for all three incumbents and Finn

Sen. Hugh Farley (R – Niskayuna): Voted for none of the nominees

Sen. Betty Little (R – Queensbury): Voted for none of the nominees

Sen. Kathy Marchione (R – Halfmoon): Voted for none of the nominees

Sen. Jim Seward (R – Oneonta): Voted for none of the nominees

Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk (D – Duanesburg): Voted for none of the nominees


Assem. Pat Fahy (D – Albany): Voted for all three incumbents and Finn

Assem. Pete Lopez (R – Schoharie): Voted for the challengers

Assem. John McDonald (D – Cohoes): Voted for all three incumbents and Finn

Assem. Steve McLaughlin (R – Melrose): Voted for the challengers

Assem. Angelo Santabarbara (D – Rotterdam): Voted for all three incumbents and Finn

Assem. Phil Steck (D – Colonie): Voted for all three incumbents and Finn

Assem. Jim Tedisco (R – Glenville): Voted for the challengers

Note: The other 13 members of the Board of Regents, including Chancellor Tisch, are not up for re-election this year.