New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested Thursday morning on federal corruption charges.
In response, newly elected State Sen. Rob Ortt, R-C-I-North Tonawanda, issued the following statement:
"Today's news of Assembly Speaker Silver's arrest is troubling for the state of New York. It reinforces my beliefs that strict accountability and transparency be enforced when it comes to those entrusted with the public's confidence.
"The criminal charges must play out in the courts and the leadership discussion is a matter for the speaker and his Assembly Democrats. But we must not let this distract us from the work we must carry out as elected officials, especially as we enter budget negotiations with so much on the line for Western New Yorkers."
New York GOP spokesman David Laska called for the New York City Democrat's resignation.
"Sheldon Silver must immediately resign from the State Assembly," Laska said. "While this is another sad day for New York, we cannot be distracted from the important business of growing our economy and creating jobs."
Assemblyman John Ceretto, R-C-I-Lewiston, echoed that sentiment.
"Today I renew my call for Sheldon Silver to resign from the Assembly in light of his arrest on charges of corruption and taking millions of dollars in kickbacks," Ceretto said in a released statement. "Silver is the embodiment of Albany's culture of corruption and we cannot start repairing the public's trust in government as long as he is still in power. Silver has been at the center of Albany's corruption for years, most notably with his use of taxpayer dollars to pay off victims of sexual abuse in the Assembly. Hopefully, today's developments are the beginning of the end for Silver's reign in Albany.
"In addition, today's events also further underscore the need to pass a comprehensive anti-corruption package. We must pass term limits for legislative leaders like Sheldon Silver, strip the pensions of public officials convicted on corruption charges, and increase penalties for corrupt public officials.
"As an elected official, I consider it a privilege to serve on behalf of the people. It is our duty to serve with integrity, so it is critical that we pass these anti-corruption reforms and restore trust in our government."
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said, "Although the charges announced today are certainly very serious, I want to note that I've always known Shelly Silver to be a man of integrity, and he certainly has due process rights. And I think it's important that we let the judicial process play out here."