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Hoyt resignation stuns colleagues

By Joyce Kryszak

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-975757.mp3

Buffalo, NY – Long-time New York State Assemblyman Sam Hoyt abruptly resigned his seat Thursday to take a job in the Cuomo Administration.

Rumors had been flying for some time that Hoyt might take a job in the state economic development office. But Hoyt successfully skirted those rumors. And that made his sudden resignation late Thursday - effective immediately - a bit of a surprise even to his closest colleagues.

New York State Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples Stokes worked alongside Hoyt for nearly half his nineteen years in the Assembly.

"I have to figure it's going to be abetter position for him and his family and so, I want to congratulate him, although, clearly, it's always a loss when you lose a colleague," said Peoples Stokes.

Republican State Senator Mark Grisanti called Hoyt a good friend. And a critical member of the Western New York delegation. Grisanti said he made a point of letting Speaker Silver know Western New York exists.

"Sam was instrumental in UB 2020, with funding being restored to Roswell Park and other funding, so I think that message finally got through," said Grisanti.

But Grisanti also wished Hoyt well in his new job. Hoyt was unavailable for comment late Thursday. And, as of late Friday morning, Hoyt still had not scheduled a press conference to talk about his resignation or new job.

But in a written statement, Hoyt said he is taking a senior position with the Empire State Development Corporation. Grisanti said that too could be very good for Western New York.

"You always want someone to have a seat at the table in regards to that position," said Grisanti.

But Hoyt's departure means another vacant seat in the legislature. Cuomo must set special elections for five other state lawmakers and a congressman as well. Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Len Lenihan said he is not concerned about Democrats losing the 144th District.

"Both parties will put their best foot forward. We'll take a look to see who's interested and we'll nominate someone in due course, as will the Republicans," said Lenihan. "Then we'll do what we do. We'll have an election."

Lenihan expects a special election will be held sometime soon. He said a nomination from the Democratic party will come in the next couple weeks, before he leaves himself for a job with the state Democratic party.