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[UPDATED] Micciche to side with Lej Dems 

[UPDATE] County Legislator Tony Micciche is leaving the Republican Party, switching his registration to the Democratic Party, and joining the County Legislature's Democratic Caucus, according to a press release from the Monroe County Democratic Committee.

Micciche will be the 12th Democratic member in the in the 29-seat Legislature, so the party is still a long way from the majority.  He represents the 26th Legislative District, which covers parts of Gates, Greece, and Northwest Rochester.

“I strongly believe that government has a solemn responsibility to protect and champion our children, our families and our workers,” Micciche said in the press release. “Today I am announcing that I am leaving the Republican Party, because its leadership is not leading the way. Democrats are fighting for our children. Democrats are fighting for our families. Democrats are fighting for organized labor and for first responders. I am proud to join their fight."

Brittaney Wells, the new chair and executive director of the MCDC, welcomed Micciche, as did Legislature Minority Leader Cynthia Kaleh.

“Legislator Micciche has long been a champion for working class families both in his district and across Monroe County — regardless of their party affiliation, background or beliefs,” Wells said in the press release. “As we continue to fight for inclusiveness and equal access to opportunity, we are proud that our number has grown one stronger, and welcome Tony as a Democrat.”

Kaleh said that Micciche's voice will be welcomed and that he shares the caucus's goals of "a financially stable, transparent, and ethical government that operates on behalf our constituents and neighbors across our community."

In the County Legislature, Micciche introduced legislation to establish a county-wide zombie property registry. Republican leaders sent the proposal to the administration for review and never brought it back for a vote.

Micciche ran against Mayor Lovely Warren in the last year's election. And some of his positions were anathema to the Democratic platform. He has called for elimination of Rochester's Sanctuary City policy, said that he wants drug testing for people receiving public benefits, and that he'd push for neighborhood police precincts in schools.

He has also said he'd work with state and county officials to set up child care centers staffed by people receiving public benefits.

But not all Democrats appear ready to welcome Micciche into the party. Yversha Roman,  the leader of the 26th Legislative District Democratic Committee who ran against Micciche for the Lej seat, sent out the following statement this morning:

"As the elected committee leader of the 26th Legislative District for the Monroe County Democratic Party, the news of Republican Tony Micciche’s party change is a surprise to me. Tony’s desire to become more aligned with our party’s principals comes after years of bashing our values and attacking young African American and Latino youth, calling them criminals. As the first Latina LD leader of our Democratic Party, I stand in solidarity with those who truly live our values and look forward to having LD 26 represented by a Democrat that understands our point of view and perspectives, but most importantly respects everyone as people. This coming spring, LD 26 will be endorsing a candidate to represent our party on the Democratic line and we welcome all who represent the values and principles of our community to seek this designation."

This post has been updated to include a statement from Yversha Roman, the leader of the 26th Legislative District Democratic Committee.

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