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Democrats Split to Give Independents the Majority


Nov. 29, 2004 — Sen. Celestino White Sr., member of the newly formed consensus majority, announced Monday that the group will hold a press conference Dec. 8 on the makeup of the 26th Legislature.
The group intends to disclose officers, committee chairs and membership to the various standing committees at the conference, which will be held at 2 p.m. at Walkers By the Sea Restaurant.
The coalition was formerly announced Nov.23 through a release sent out by White. The consensus majority was formed when Democratic senators Lorraine L. Berry, Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg and Shawn-Michael Malone broke from their party and aligned themselves with the then minority made up of Independents and Independent Citizens Movement members. The individuals forming the new eight-member majority are: Berry, Donastorg, Malone, White, Norman Jn Baptiste, Terrence "Positive" Nelson, Usie Richards and Liston Davis.
Berry will head the group as president and Jn Baptiste as vice president. White will serve as majority leader.
Members of the Democratic Party have decried the actions of Berry, Donastorg and Malone, whose breaking away deprived them of having the majority in the Senate and caused division among party members. Before the three senators broke away, Sens. Louis Hill and Ronald Russell had been elected to lead the Democratic majority as president and vice president respectively.
At a meeting of the Democratic Party Nov. 23, members came together to seek ways to unify the members and to get the three departed senators to reunite with the other Democratic senators to form a majority once more.
"We elected 10 Democrats and we ought to be led by 10 Democrats," Delegate Donna Christensen, said at the meeting.
However, Berry said she would stand by her decision and neither Donastorg nor Malone has shown signs of relenting for now. (See "Senate Majority is Finally Official, For Now").
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