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Exclusive: Sabrina LaMar has the last laugh, explains her decision to caucus with GOP

Monday evening, Monroe County Legislator Sabrina LaMar was named president of the Monroe County Legislature. LaMar's history-making moment made her the first Black female to be named president in 200-years. The new role was an unexpected power move after months of infighting between local democrats. The former member of the Black and Asian Democratic Caucus had the last laugh when she and 14 Republicans voted to elect her as president.

LaMar stated she advised democrats of her interest in being elected as president. However, Democrats chose to vote for Caucus Leader Yversha Roman. LaMar explained, "I went to Republicans and asked if they would vote for me as president. Some said I would never get their support as president, others said absolutely, I think you're the best person to lead us forward." The Democrats' decision not to consider LaMar as president may be problematic in more ways than one. The recent election ushered in 15 democratic seats helping elevate the party to the majority by one seat. The last time Democrats held the majority was in 1992.

LaMar believes the issues within the Democratic party stem from racism and sexism. Unfortunately, the community has watched the breakdown of the Democratic party play out publicly. LaMar called out Joe Morelle Sr. for contacting her employer and attempting to get her fired after a disagreement with Joe Morelle Jr. LaMar also stated that issues were brewing behind the scenes as well. LaMar was the designated candidate for the Democratic party, but the Monroe County Democratic Committee "only turned in 7 signatures and turned in tons of signatures for other designated candidates." LaMar stated she attended the Democratic election day party but did not receive an invitation, and "no one congratulated me while I was there."

LaMar, who holds the swing vote, which means her "vote would determine the yay or nay" confirmed her decision to caucus with the GOP. She stated, "there is a provision in the county charter that allows a party member to caucus with the other party. I submitted a letter to Dr. Joe Carbone on 12/31."

Press Release:

LaMar to 'Bridge' the Political Divide in County as Legislature President Sabrina LaMar (D) Agrees to Preside over a Split Legislature; Becomes First Black, Woman President Monroe County Legislator Sabrina LeMar (D - City of Rochester) announced today that she has agreed to a leadership arrangement in which she will preside over the County Legislature as its President. Upon taking office, President Lamar will serve as a bridge between a County Legislature that is otherwise divided equally with 14 other Democrats and 14 Republicans. LaMar, a lifelong Democrat, will remain a Democrat but will join with members of the Republican Party to form the "Majority Caucus" in the County Legislature. "Today, I am announcing that I intend to rise above partisan politics and instead choose to be a bridge between 'politics as usual' and getting things done, which is exactly what my constituents want -- they want someone who can get beyond petty political bickering and deliver results," said Legislator Sabrina LaMar. '"I want to be very clear, because I know others will try to speak for me -- I have always been a Democrat, I remain a Democrat and I don't intend to ever be anything but a Democrat. However, I am not afraid to reach across the aisle to deliver results for my constituents. I represent a district that is largely African American and one with a significant number of residents in poverty and I sincerely believe I can best serve my neighbors as the President of the Legislature." LaMar's Presidency would be historic because she will be the first African American Woman to preside over Monroe County's Legislative Branch as President of the Legislature. She would also be the first Democrat and first Legislator representing the City of Rochester to become President in nearly 35 years. Former Legislator Ronnie Thomas (D - Rochester) served as President from 1986-1987. "My neighbors elected me to work for them and to be their voice in Monroe County Government," said Legislator Sabrina Lamar. "I can deliver more results and be an even louder voice for my people as President of the Legislature and I intend to do just that. The Legislature Democrats were trying to get my support for their preferred President candidate who was a white male from the suburbs. I firmly believe that a Black, woman, Democrat President from the City of Rochester will be a better advocate for city residents who look like me instead of another suburbanite and I know my constituents and neighbors agree." LaMar has pledged to be even handed in dealing with all Legislators regardless of their party
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