Former Sen. Craig Johnson, sometimes called the unofficial member of the Independent Democratic Conference, said in an interview yesterday he’s confident that his friend Sen. Jeff Klein can pass a host of progressive legislative goals, even if the Republicans would have to go along with plans to increase the minimum wage or reform stop and frisk arrests.

Johnson, who represented the Nassau County district and was defeated in 2010 in a narrow race against Republican Jack Martins, envisioned the new governing plan this way:

“I think it’s a demonstration is it’s a demonstration of how government should work,” Johnson said. ”You have a bill, you put the bill on the floor and you debate the bill and you vote on the bill. If Republicans oppose the bill, they’ll have the opportunity to oppose the bill, propose amendments on the bill and they can have a clear debate.”

Johnson also defended the move by the IDC to share power with the Senate Republicans in the majority coalition, saying it’s much different than the 2009 legislative coup during his term in office.

“This is clearly not a coup. I think what it demonstrates is a commitment by the Republicans in the state Senate as well as the IDC and Jeff Klein to move the state forward,” he said.

He also urged patience.

“You’ll always have your naysayers on your left or on the right. This is different. This is change, change takes time, people should be patient, the kinks are going to have themselves out,” he said

Thanks to NY1′s indefatigable Mark Kottler for grabbing the sound.