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Peralta ascends Democrats’ Senate leadership ranks

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In the nearly one year that Jose Peralta has been a state senator representing western Queens, his star has surely risen.

Peralta was selected as one of four co-chairmen in charge of making sure Democrats recapture the Senate in 2012 and was chosen by Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson (D-Brooklyn) as Democratic whip – the fifth-highest leadership position among Democrats.

On top of the two posts, Peralta was also named the ranking member of the Senate Labor Committee by Sampson.

Meanwhile, state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans), who a year ago was the second-highest ranking Democrat in the Senate as temporary president of the body, was relegated to secretary of the Democratic Conference – the ninth-highest leadership position in the conference.

Newly minted Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria), who was appointed to lead the fund-raising arm of the Senate Democrats by Sampson, chose Peralta as one of four co-chairs of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.

“We are running offense and will have exceptional candidates in every region of this state and the funds to help them spread their message to voters,” Peralta said in a statement. “Election cycles come and go, but the failure of the Senate Republicans to protect working families has been a constant for decades. Sen. Gianaris is the right person to lead DSCC and I know my colleagues and I are hitting the ground running to elect new Democrats to the state Senate.”

As Democratic whip, Peralta will be in charge of counting votes for Senate Democrats on bills and in a statement he referred to the dysfunction plaguing Albany.

“The members of our conference bring different experiences and expertise to the Senate and I thank Sen. Sampson for recognizing that and elevating new members so we can more effectively represent our constituents,” Peralta said. “After decades of dysfunction, late budgets and members behaving badly, the taxpayers are desperate for fiscal discipline, greater ethical standards and a political system which serves and meets their needs.”

Peralta was elected to the Senate last year in a special election for the seat previously occupied by Hiram Monserrate, who was expelled from the body after being convicted of misdemeanor assault for slashing his girlfriend, Karla Giraldo, in the face with a glass.

Peralta easily won the election and Monserrate then turned his attention to Peralta’s up-for-grabs state Assembly seat, where he was defeated by Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Corona).

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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