In a bid to end speculation over his political future, city labor leader and state Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin (D-Flushing) issued a statement last week that he would not seek higher elected public office and would be running for re-election in the 25th State Assembly District in 2000.
"I would like to make it clear that I will not be seeking higher elected office now or in the future," said McLaughlin in the Feb. 29 statement. "I hope this puts to rest the speculation regarding my political future and confirms my commitment and dedication to the work of the New York City Central Labor Council and service to the community I have resided in for nearly 30 years."
McLaughlin, 47, was first elected to the state Assembly in 1992 and represents portions of Flushing and Whitestone. His district is bordered on the west by the Whitestone and Van Wyck expressways, on the north by Willets Point Boulevard, on the east by 166th Street and on the south by 61st Road.
Three years later in June 1995, McLaughlin was elected the third president of the New York Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, an umbrella organization of public and private sector unions with a combined membership of more than 1.5 working men and women.
In the past, the Times/Ledger editorial page has questioned whether McLaughlin's dual roles pose a conflict of interest, but the assemblyman said they do not and that a state Assembly ethics committee also cleared his holding the two jobs.
McLaughlin said he has never authored any legislation involving labor.
Michael Mullin, a spokesman for McLaughlin, said last week's statement was a response to recent rumors about the assemblyman's political ambitions, including a possible run for borough president.
"He felt those rumors and perceptions and speculations interfered with his ability to efficiently do both jobs he's got now," Mullin said.
The spokesman said McLaughlin did plan to run for re-election next year.
"It is my priority to serve the working men and women of the New York City labor movement," McLaughlin said. "I will also continue to make a contribution to my community and the community at large through my service in the state Legislature."
As a legislator, McLaughlin has authored more than a dozen state laws, including measures toughening crime laws, preserving the quality of life of residential neighborhoods, improving health care and helping Holocaust survivors qualify for state assistance.
His labor accomplishments include increasing the Central Labor Council's advocacy and grassroots political education efforts on city issues that affect working families. Under his leadership, the council has also provided resources and strategic assistance to several local unions engaged in collective bargaining negotiations and strikes, including commercial building workers, and health care and public employees.
©2000 Community News Group
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