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The Power Dozen

Illustration by Riccardo Vecchio  

Sheldon Silver
WHO: Speaker
WHAT: New York State Assembly

The gravelly voiced Lower East Side trial lawyer has been demonized as the symbol of cloak-and-dagger government. But even Silver’s most ardent critics admire his political prowess. While the rest of Albany seems like a carnival of incompetence, Silver has stood out as a force of stability. “If you need anything done, you go to Silver,” says consultant George Arzt. Silver has been a stalwart of traditional liberalism and a check against Bloomberg’s most lofty ambitions. Silver cares only about keeping two constituencies happy: Assembly Democrats and his district voters. It’s the speaker, not the City Council, who is the final arbiter. No on the West Side stadium. No on congestion pricing. Yes on mayoral control. “He can stop Bloomberg in Albany, and he can shift billions on a political accounting ledger by approving or blocking legislation. And he does it without any flamboyance or telegraphing his intentions,” says Mark Green.


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