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The New York State Senate chamber. Photo:  <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/-jvl-/">JvL</a> CC <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en">some rights reserved</a>
The New York State Senate chamber. Photo: JvL CC some rights reserved

Senate coalition responds to diversity critics

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The newly formed coalition of Republicans and Democrats who will run the New York State Senate in January made its first public appearance yesterday. The senators responded responded to criticism that the new government leaves out blacks and Hispanics.

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Reported by

Karen DeWitt
NYS Capitol Correspondent

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Senator Jeff Klein , the leader of a five-member Democratic faction that has teamed up with the 30 Republicans, says he knows many Democratic African-American and Latino senators are upset.

"They raised concerns about diversity, which I'm more than happy to address," Klein said.

Senator Klein says issues pushed by the new coalition, including raising the minimum wage and reforming New York City's Stop and Frisk policy, will help African-Americans and Hispanics, as well as other New Yorkers.

The senators spoke in Rockaway, Queens, where the coalition announced a Senate task force to help expedite Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts.

Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos says he believes the coalition will be a success. Skelos says he and Senator Klein "have looked each other in the eye", and said "we're going to make this work".

The Senators say working together on storm cleanup is one example of how the new coalition can function.

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