By Nathan Duke
Another two other members of the Queens delegation captured high-profile posts for the 2006 session, with Assemblywoman Vivian Cook (D-Jamaica) promoted to assistant majority leader from majority whip and Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin (D- Flushing) switching from chairman of the Real Property Taxation Committee to chairman of majority conference. Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Ridgewood) made the move from chairwoman of the banks committee to chairwoman of the education committee. Lafayette will be promoted from speaker pro tempore to replace Norman as deputy speaker, following Norman's three felony convictions in 2005 for intentionally soliciting illegal campaign contributions.An immediate responsibility for Lafayette will be working with the city Department of Education to ensure coordination between the city and state in developing school facilities and getting state support for city education projects.Lafayette was first elected to the state Assembly 30 years ago. He will continue to serve as the senior member of the Banks, Transportation and Insurance committees in the Assembly.Former Republican Queens councilman and mayoral candidate Tom Ognibene said Lafayette was likely appointed to replace Norman to help Silver strengthen his ties between Manhattan and Queens. “Obviously, Sheldon Silver wants to remain close to Queens County,” he said. “Ivan Lafayette has been a very hardworking loyal Democrat, so I'm sure (Silver) wants to reward that. I'm sure he wants to reach out beyond Manhattan. If you want to keep your leadership, you need to make sure county leadership supports you.”Cook, who has been in the Assembly for 15 years, was promoted from majority whip to assistant majority leader.McLaughlin, who was first elected to the Legislature in 1992, will be spending his last year in the Assembly as chairman of majority conference. The assemblyman recently announced he would not run for re-election this fall, but will instead focus on his labor leadership. McLaughlin is president of the New York City Central Labor Council, a federation of 400 union locals representing more than 1.3 million workers.Nolan, an assemblywoman of 22 years, said her responsibilities as chairwoman of the Assembly's Education Committee will include overseeing educational policies and programs affecting pre-kindergarten, elementary, secondary and adult education in all 704 state school districts.”It's a great day for every child in New York State,” Councilman Eric Gioia (D- Sunnyside) said of Nolan's promotion.Reach reporter Nathan Duke by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.