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Mayor Brings Assembly Speaker Along for Latest Stop on Pre-K Victory Lap

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Mayor Bill de Blasio continued his pre-K victory lap on Thursday, with one slight change: he brought along Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, his Albany accomplice in the fight. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

You might say this bromance started in pre-kindergarten.

"If he had not made it his life's work to stand up for universal pre-k, we would not be standing here today," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"With his leadership, with his courage, he made universal pre-k the centerpiece of his mayoral campaign," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

De Blasio went out of his way on Thursday to pat the speaker of the state Assembly on the back, not just literally.

"We're in the home district of the man who's done the most to advance the cause of early childhood education," the mayor said. "He deserves a round of applause for that for sure."

The accolades were for one reason: Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver proved to be the mayor's most vocal ally in Albany. The alliance comes as the mayor butted heads with the governor over his pre-K proposal.

"Making this program a success, but a lot of other things that have to be done fore this city," Silver said. "We're there to help you do it as best we can."

For the mayor, that list includes creating a city minimum wage and getting speed cameras on city streets. Both need approval in Albany.

Silver has backed speed cameras, but his office was mum over a local minimum wage.

The speaker did not appear interested in taking up a tax on the rich in next year's session, either.

"Right now, it's an election year. People don't think beyond that," Silver said.

As de Blasio and Silver talked about opening up pre-k seats, the mayor also backed up the idea of using schools for other groups.

"They play a very, very important role in terms of providing social services and other important community services, and I think they deserve that right."

De Blasio was talking about religious groups.

The mayor was responding to a federal appeals court decision on Thursday, one that reversed a lower court opinion and would allow the city to ban the use of public schools for worship.

The mayor supports the use of the space by religious groups. His office said it was reviewing the decision.

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