With Skelos arrest eminent, Cathy Young could lead Republican Senate Majority

Senator Cathy Young represents Western New York’s Southern Tier. Earlier this year, The New York Post named her as Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ likely successor. Skelos has been under federal investigation by US Attorney Preet Bharara. His arrest is expected early next week.

Senator Young served as the Chairwoman of the Senate Republican Campaign Committee and has been a longtime membership of the party leadership structure. Her ascendence to power in Albany could change the face of the state capitol, currently besieged with corruption and self dealing.

Such clout in the State Legislature could mean unprecedented political leverage for Western New York. It’s unclear whether our region’s power brokers and business elite will grease the necessary palms to make it happen.

From her Senate website:

Serving in the New York State Senate, Senator Cathy Young has established a distinguished record of civic, professional, and volunteer achievements. An influential voice for tax relief, economic growth, job creation, protecting children and families, and reforming government, she has become a recognized friend of the taxpayer and an outspoken advocate for middle-class families across the state.

Born and raised in Western New York, she grew up on a third-generation dairy and crops farm in Livingston County before attending SUNY Fredonia and graduating magna cum laude from St. Bonaventure University with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication.

Before entering public office, Senator Young served as the Director of Communications and Development at the ReHabilitation Center in Olean, New York, and also taught leadership classes.

She has also served as a major in the Civil Air Patrol.

She first entered public office when elected to serve on the Cattaraugus County Legislature, where she held the leadership post of Majority Whip. Senator Young was also a member of the Cattaraugus County Board of Health and had the responsibility of ensuring the county did its part in meeting the health needs of residents.

She currently serves as the Assistant Majority Whip and chairs the Senate Committee on Housing, Construction, and Community Development. This committee works to revitalize communities, grow the economy, and help create safe, affordable housing opportunities, while assisting families in purchasing and preserving their homes.

She also Chairs the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources, which is dedicated to strengthening rural communities throughout the state and creating policies to harness all that rural New York State has to offer for the revitalization of our economy.

In the Senate, Senator Young also actively serves as a member of the Health, Agriculture, Environmental Conservation, Finance, Transportation, Rules, Insurance, State-Native American Relations, and Children and Family Services Committees.

She is also a member of the Joint Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, which is dedicated to examining the rise in heroin and opioid abuse, improving addiction prevention and treatment options, and working to prevent drug-related crimes and the other negative community impacts that can result from addiction.

In addition to these roles, she is a member of the Interstate Compact on Juveniles, the State of New York Agriculture Task Force, the Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, the Legislative Women’s Caucus, and the New York State Armed Forces Legislative Caucus.

She also founded the Legislative Wine and Grape Caucus and sponsored legislation creating the New York State Council on Food Policy, of which she is also a member.

Previously, Senator Young also served as the Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, a leadership position she took on immediately after joining the State Senate in 2005. As Chair, she worked to strengthen New York State’s top industry. She also Co-Chaired the Administrative Regulations Review Commission, which focuses on reducing regulations and red tape that impede job growth and economic development.

She has also previously served on the Nursing Shortage Task Force, the Sex Crimes and Women and Children Task Force, the New York State Juvenile Justice System Reform Task Force, and the Task Force on Educational Standards.

Prior to her time in the State Senate, from 1998 to 2005, Senator Young served in the State Assembly, where she held several top leadership positions, including Assistant Minority Leader Pro Tempore.

Among her notable accomplishments while serving in the Assembly was the passage of Penny’s Law, which provides for more appropriate sentencing for juvenile murderers, ensuring violent killers are not release prematurely.

Senator Young has now received nearly 200 awards and recognitions. Among these many honors are the Fredonia College Foundation Distinguished Service Award, the United University Professions’ 2008 Friend of SUNY Award, Alfred University’s J. Henry Smith Distinguished Public Service Award, and Business First’s 40 Under Forty recognition. For several years she has also been recognized by the New York State Farm Bureau for her support of New York’s farmers and agriculture. She was also named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Olean Rotary Club, and has been granted a lifetime honorary membership in several volunteer fire companies.

Married with three grown children, Senator Young lives in Olean with her family.


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