Joseph Zaretzki

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Joseph Zaretzki (March 9, 1900 - December 20, 1981) was an American lawyer and politician from New York. He was Majority Leader of the New York State Senate in 1965, the only Democrat in this position since the adoption of the New York State Constitution of 1938 until Malcolm Smith attained the position in 2009.

Life

He was born on March 9, 1900, in New York City. He served in the United States Army during World War I.

In November 1947, he was elected to the New York State Senate, to fill the vacancy caused by the appointment of Alexander A. Falk as Civil Service Commissioner.[1] Zaretzki represented the Washington Heights area of Manhattan from 1948 to 1974, sitting in the 166th, 167th, 168th, 169th, 170th, 171st, 172nd, 173rd, 174th, 175th, 176th, 177th, 178th, 179th and 180th New York State Legislatures. He was the Democratic Minority Leader from 1957 to 1964, and from 1966 to 1974.

In 1965, the Democratic Party achieved for the only time since 1938 a majority in the State Senate, but the Democratic senators were divided in two factions, 15 senators allied with Mayor of New York City Robert F. Wagner, Jr., and 18 senators allied with U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy. After a month of deadlock, Zaretzki—the long-time Minority Leader—was elected Temporary President on February 3 with the votes of the Wagner men and the Republicans who had voted for Earl W. Brydges, but were urged by Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller to end the deadlock.[2]

He died on December 20, 1981, in Beth Abraham Hospital in the Bronx.[3]

Sources

  1. ^ Senator Zaretzki Is Sworn in the New York Times on November 18, 1947
  2. ^ [1] His election to the majority leadership, in TIME Magazine on February 12, 1965
  3. ^ [2] Obit in NYT on December 21, 1981 (subscription required)
New York State Senate
Preceded by
Alexander A. Falk
New York State Senate
23rd District

1948–1965
Succeeded by
Irwin R. Brownstein
Preceded by
Royden A. Letsen
New York State Senate
32nd District

1966
Succeeded by
Abraham Bernstein
Preceded by
Whitney North Seymour, Jr.
New York State Senate
28th District

1967–1972
Succeeded by
Sidney A. von Luther
Preceded by
Robert García
New York State Senate
29th District

1973–1974
Succeeded by
Franz S. Leichter
Political offices
Preceded by
Francis J. Mahoney
Minority Leader in the New York State Senate
1957–1964
Succeeded by
Earl W. Brydges
Preceded by
Walter J. Mahoney
Temporary President of the State Senate
1965
Succeeded by
Earl W. Brydges
Preceded by
Earl W. Brydges
Minority Leader in the New York State Senate
1966–1974
Succeeded by
Manfred Ohrenstein
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