And Now Introducing State Senate Leader John Sampson ...
Here are a few highlights on the career of John Sampson,
- Like Smith, Sampson is a soft-spoken pol who hasn't made a huge impression since he was elected to the senate in 1996. Also like Smith, Sampson has long held a large warm spot in his heart for the real estate industry, whose clout remains undiminished in
- A former Legal Aid attorney, Sampson figured out early in his career that there was more money to be made representing landlords than tenants. He hooked up with the law firm of Alter & Barbaro, headed by another ex-tenant lawyer who had seen the light, B. Mitchell Alter.
- Alter, a true wild man of the Court Street bar, recognized talent when he saw it. "Yeah, I encouraged him to think about politics," Alter told the Voice in 2005. "I said, 'You are a good-looking guy, you talk well. Politics might be a good thing for you.'"
- Sampson beat longtime incumbent Howard Babbush, a hack from the Thomas Jefferson Democratic club. It helped that Babbush had been a notorious semi-show in
- Sampson, whose father came from
- Fast forward to 2005 when Norman himself faced indictment on multiple charges of embezzlement by District Attorney Joe Hynes, and Sampson decided to run for D.A. Norman was busy going to trial all through the primary season but he still rooted for his candidate. "I will be doing everything in my power to get rid of Joe Hynes by telling all of the people I can to vote for John Sampson,"
- Hynes' aides were so worried about Sampson winning and moving to quash all of the pending Norman investigations that they planned to bar him from the office until his inauguration, sources said.
- Sampson's resume didn't impress everyone. The Bar Association found him unqualified, saying he just didn't have the experience for the job. It hardly mattered. Sampson, the only African American in the campaign, finished a close second to Hynes in a four-way race, giving the D.A. (who has no significant primary opponent so far this year) a good scare.
- One more special highlight from the D.A. race was Sampson's trip to
- Finally, Sampson could use the exposure his new post will bring: His current senate campaign committee lists just $1,041 in the bank.
Attention, ladies and gentlemen of the Greater Albany League of Lobbyists: The bar is now open!