Irondequoit, N.Y. --- Monroe County will soon be home to two lawmakers named “Joseph D. Morelle.” On Wednesday Monroe County Democratic Party Chairman Joe Morelle (also a New York State Assemblyman) will recommend that his son, Joe Morelle Jr., fill a vacant seat in the county legislature.
The vacancy comes in the wake of Democrat Ted O’Brien’s election to the New York State Senate in November. O’Brien reportedly approached Morelle Jr., 24, about filling his seat immediately after the November election. His name was then presented to the Irondequoit Democratic Committee for a vote and he received unanimous support.
Morelle Sr. is also a member of the Irondequoit Democratic Committee and was not present for that vote. He said the standard procedure to fill vacancies of this nature is for him, as the county’s party chairman, to put forward whatever name the town or city committee agrees to and in this case it happened to be his son.
Morelle Jr. is currently a leasing agent for Wilmorite’s Park Point at RIT facility. He graduated SUNY Geneseo in 2011 with a degree in Business Administration and he’s been a member of the Irondequoit Democratic Committee for six years. He currently serves as that committee’s secretary. Morelle Jr. said he was scheduled to graduate in 2010 but accepted a full-time job with Wilmorite in 2009 and completed his education as a part-time student.
When asked how he would respond to some who may question this appointment or accuse Morelle of practicing political patronage the Democratic Party Chairman responded:
“Well first is that he's got to run for election so it's really up to him to go out and convince voters that he's the right person for the job and frankly I don't want to be in a position where I have a double-standard that I tell my children it's okay for me to be involved in public service, and I've preached to you your whole life how important it is to give back to your community, but when there is an opportunity that you're excited about that somehow I was going to be the one to squelch it. That is not something I'm about to do. He'll have to chart his own course.”
When asked if Morelle Jr.’s only qualification for this job was his last name the elder Morelle responded: