Crown Heights

Hamilton named chairman of State Senate Banks Committee

Brooklyn lawmaker joined maverick IDC in Nov.

January 12, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
State Sen. Jesse Hamilton says helping minority and women-owned businesses gain access to capital will be a focus of his tenure as Bank Committee chairman. Photo courtesy of Hamilton’s office
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State Sen. Jesse Hamilton, who broke away from his fellow Senate Democrats in November and joined up with the maverick Independent Democratic Conference, was named chairman of the Banks Committee a few days after the IDC reached a power-sharing agreement with Republicans in the legislative chamber.

Hamilton (D-Crown Heights, Park Slope, Sunset Park) will succeed state Sen. Diane Savino (D-Coney Island-parts of Bensonhurst-Staten Island), a founding member of the IDC, as Banks Committee chairman.

The announcement took place on Jan. 11.

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“I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to address a range of challenges New Yorkers face. Building upon the work of Sen. Savino, I plan for the committee to focus on more economic inclusion, expanding access to financial services, combating redlining and strengthening protections for New York families. Under Sen. Savino’s leadership, the committee made inroads in protecting consumers from subprime auto loans and protecting homeowners from foreclosures,” Hamilton said in a statement. 

Hamilton also said that he will put a great deal of effort into finding ways the state can assist small businesses owners, particularly minorities and women, to gain access to capital. The committee will be looking into problems with reverse mortgages and fees charged with families sending money abroad.

“I plan to address these challenges and more as chair of the NYS Senate Banks Committee. We need financial services that meet the needs of all New Yorkers,” Hamilton said. 

In addition to heading up the Banks Committee, Hamilton will also serve on the following committees: Education; Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities; Judiciary; Commerce, Economic Development, and Small Business; Consumer Protection; Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections; and Insurance.

Hamilton surprised many in the political world in early November when he announced that he had decided to join the IDC. With the addition of Hamilton, the IDC, led by state Sen. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx-parts of Westchester) now has seven members.

“The Independent Democratic Conference delivers for New Yorkers: the best paid family leave program in the nation, a $15 minimum wage, and the toughest gun laws in the country. They get results. That’s why I’ve decided to join my fellow Democrats and become the newest member of the IDC,” Hamilton said at the time of his decision to join the IDC. “This conference will continue to innovate, delivering to the people who matter most, my community and our fellow New Yorkers. Standing with them, I will be a prominent voice on affordable housing, quality education, safe streets and criminal justice reform. I look forward to serving with the Independent Democrats and achieving more victories for all New Yorkers.”

The group was formed in 2011 when Klein, Savino and other Democrats expressed dismay with the political agenda of Democratic leaders in the state Senate.

Klein and his IDC colleagues have entered into power-sharing arrangements with Republicans to enable the GOP to maintain control over the state Senate.

Currently, there are 32 Democrats and 31 Republicans in the 63-seat state Senate, giving the Democrats a one-seat advantage. But thanks to the IDC’s partnership with the GOP and Democrat state Sen. Simcha Felder (D-Borough Park-Midwood) — who is not an IDC member but who caucuses with the Republicans — the GOP enjoys control of the chamber.

Hamilton first won election to the 20th Senate District in 2014. He replaced former state Sen. Eric Adams, who ran for Brooklyn borough president in November 2013 and won.


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