July 15, 2013Sen. Greg Ball has once again been found to be New York's most "independent senator," based on research conducted by the New York Public Interest Research Group. According to NYPIRG, Ball, a Republican from Patterson, Putnam County, had the most independent voting record of his colleagues this past legislative session.
"I think most people in Albany know my tendency to break ranks and shake things up. I've chilled a little since my days in the Assembly, and am proud to be part of a great Majority with stellar members, but I still break ranks when I feel it's important," said Ball, the chairman of the Senate Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee. "As for toeing the party line, frankly both major parties are full of crap at the national level and we'd be better off if we did away with party labels altogether."
Ball voted most out of line with leaders of each of the three Senate conferences, including his own conference leader Sen. Dean Skelos, R-Rockville Centre. Ball voted in line with Skelos 83.35 percent of the time, which is less than the 83.42 percent of votes cast in line with Independent Democratic Conference leader Sen. Jeff Klein, D-Bronx. Ball most often disagreed with Democratic leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, voting with the Yonkers Democrat just 83.09 percent of the time.
Ball's voting record was decisively more independent than his colleagues, with the next Senator most out of line still a full percentage point away in the Republican conference. The next most independent voting record with IDC and Democratic leadership was about 3 percentage points from Ball.
One possible explanation for Ball's notably independent voting record is the senator also voted "no" on the most bills. Ball was one of 10 senators who voted 'no' on 100 or more bills, voting against 223 bills — 29 more than Sen. Velmanette Montgomery, D-Brooklyn, who voted against the second highest number of bills.
Bill Mahoney, research coordinator for NYPIRG, says Ball's voting out of step with his own conference leader could have political consequences for his future career.
"It's possible a 'no' vote on an important issue could hurt his relationship with the leadership and lose support for his campaign moving forward," Mahoney said.
According to Mahoney, this is the second year in a row that Ball has voted most out of line with conference leaders.