Didi Barrett, the democratic challenger in SD 41 (Dutchess, Columbia counties) is getting ready to do an interview with The Albany Project. Watch a short video about her campaign, and submit your questions for Didi here.
The Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee, an organization focused on bringing a new generation of Democratic women candidates, informed voters, and political activists throughout New York, endorsed Susan Savage, Kathleen Joy, and Carol Gordon this week- bringing the total of endorsed Democratic candidates to 10. They called these women leaders in their community that "will be powerful voices in Albany" and "who represent the new face of leadership in New York."
It was a busy week for Tony Avella. He was the subject of two glowing profiles - one by Celeste Katz, of The Daily News, and the other by Nathan Duke , of YourNabe.com. Katz referred to Avella as a "die-hard maverick reformer." Avella had this to say about his vision for Albany: "We need new leadership in Albany and we need fresh voices and we need reform, and I think Sampson understands that. As I say, I've spoken to a number of the incumbent Democratic state senators and they look forward to having me up there. They want another voice to speak out and say we need change." Duke's piece, titled "Avella promises to shake up Albany politics," highlighted Avella's determination to "push the envelope in Albany" and clean up a government that has become defined by dysfunction. "I think a lot of people are turned off and disgusted by what they see," Avella said. "There is dissatisfaction with the government. I tell people you can’t not vote because then the system will keep going along. I think we should shake it up."
Additionally, Avella received the endorsement of the Planned Parenthood of NYC Action Fund. "Tony Avella has returned a 100% pro-choice questionnaire and has pledged to be a leader on women’s health in the New York State Senate," said Joan Malin, president & CEO of the Action Fund. "In the New York City Council, Tony Avella was known for his independence, tenacity and passionate advocacy. Avella has pledged to use that same energy to advocate on the behalf of reproductive rights and health in the NYS Senate." He also released a new campaign video , which does a great job outlining his background, why he is running to reform Albany, and how he'll serve the residents of Queens. You can check it out here.
Susan Savage is receiving great coverage on her newly released campaign video, where she outlined a positive vision to lower taxes, create jobs, and foster economic development in the 44th Senatorial District. "The most important thing to people who live in upstate New York in the 44th District is jobs. Jobs mean opportunities and for too long jobs have left the area. In Schenectady County, I’m proud of the fact we have been able to create thousands of jobs... Jobs, economic development, and taxes – those are the issues we need our State Senate and state government to focus on," Savage said. As Schenectady County Chairwoman, Savage created over 3,000 jobs and attracted $400 million in private investment capital to the area. YNN ran a piece this week detailing titled "More downtown growth as Schenectady transformation continues," which detailed this incredible transformation that Savage spearheaded. In her new video, Savage also speaks of her longtime ties to, and passion for, upstate New York. Check out the video here.
Farmers across New York applauded Sen. Darrel Aubertine and Sen. Dave Valesky for leading the effort to defeat the Omnibus Farmmworker Labor Bill that would have had catstrophic effects for farms across the state. Dean Norton, president of New York Farm Bureau, said he was grateful for Sen. Aubertine’s hard work to educate other Senators on "the devastating effects this bill would have on agriculture and the rural economy." He also praised Sen. Valesky for recognizing "that the bill was totally incompatible with farming today, which depends on unreliable weather to plant and harvest crops. He cast his vote in favor of our local farmers and the future of local foods and the rural economy."
Sen. Aubertine also received a major endorsement from
The Central Trades and Labor Council this week. The council represents more than 24,000 AFL-CIO members in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. "This is a huge endorsement," Mr. Aubertine said. "Clearly, having the support of the labor community is a huge asset. I'm gratified that it went the way it did." Sen. Aubertine's principled vote earlier this year against the furlough of workers in a budget extender was important, and was made in consultation with labor leaders, he said. "It wasn't cavalier," he said. "That decision wasn't made in the dark of night."
Mary Wilmot released a new campaign video earlier this week where she discussed the issues her district is facing and outlined her ideas to combat them. "I grew up in my district. I would like to partner with the business community, the health care community.... I want to take the community’s ideas to Albany and work together on resolving on some of our problems... I believe we need to cap property taxes, talk about mandate relief, and work on job creation." Wilmot's campaign has been gaining momentum and she has recently been endorsed by Eleanor's Legacy, The Women's Campaign Forum, and The New York League of Conservation Voters. You can check out the video here.
Joanne Yepsen's remarkable leadership on the Aqueduct bidding process provided results this week. Over the past few years, with incumbent Roy McDonald representing the 43rd Senatorial District, the bidding process for the Aqueduct Race Track has been plagued by nightmarish delays. Last week, Yepsen urged the state to act quickly on New York State Lottery Division’s recommendation to award the Aqueduct Race Track video lottery terminal contract to Genting Inc. She hosted a roundtable discussion with Sen. Eric Adams, chair of the Senate Racing Committee, to talk about the Aqueduct Race Track bidding, argue for the necessity of capital investment in the Saratoga Race Course, and highlight the local jobs and economic activity tied to such a project. Much to her delight, Senate Democrats then acted swiftly to accept the Division of Lottery's recommendation, and a finalized deal appears to now be imminent. Yepsen is fighting for small businesses in the area that say without the tourism associated with the track, their bottom lines would take a 20% hit and force them to close. "New York state is losing $1 million a day in revenue until the VLTs are up and running at Aqueduct, forcing taxpayers to pick up the difference in funding state programs. Tragically, this nine-year delay has cost $2.5 billion in revenue to New York state, all at a time when our deficit and unemployment rate are of great concern," Yepsen said.
She is also getting a little help from a big name in her campaign efforts - U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand attended a fundraising brunch Aug. 14 to benefit Yepsen’s campaign. In a show of the tremendous local support of her campaign, she outraised McDonald by more than $30,000 -- and had $76,000 cash on hand -- in her last filing.
Michael Boyajian, of Room Eight Politics, trailed Didi Barrett as she knocked on doors in her district introducing herself to voters. Boyajian reported an overwhelming anger with the politics of Albany and described voters who liked that Barrett "was not a politician but a concerned citizen called to duty because of what was happening in the state capital" and who were happy they "someone like Didi who was listening" to their concerns. You can read Boyajian’s full account here.
Mike Kaplowitz denounced The State Assembly for failing to pass the property tax cap that the Democratic Majority in the State Senate recently passed. "It is disappointing that the Assembly left town for the summer without also passing the property tax cap. This is Albany dysfunction at its worst. There is no excuse for the Assembly’s failure to enact the cap into law." Kaplowitz brought attention to the fact that New Yorkers pay the highest property taxes in the country and that local property taxes in New York grew by 73% from 1998 to 2008 -- more than twice the rate of inflation. "Unless the Assembly enacts a property tax cap immediately, more New Yorkers will lose their homes, more families will be forced to leave our state, and more jobs will be lost," Kaplowitz said.
Robin Wilt had her campaign in the 56th SD profiled by The Albany Project. She described her candidacy for the State Senate as a "natural extension of the experiences I have accrued over the past several years as a small business owner, a parent, and a community activist advocating for policy that will help working families." Wilt also explained how an economic resurgence in Rochester is possible: "Rochester is blessed with a highly-educated population that historically has been very entrepreneurial. With targeted development funds, Rochester could become a center for green-based technologies, and we could create opportunities in educating a work force trained in implementing those technologies." You can check out the rest of the interview here.
Kathleen Joy was endorsed by some of her colleagues on the Syracuse Common Council this week. Joy declared that she will be a voice of independence in Albany, despite pressures that may exist to vote with her party. She pointed to this year's budget negotiations as a perfect example in demonstrating the need for such a perspective. "This was not the best way to go. If I were in Albany, I would have done things differently. Again, it goes back to collaboration. Let's work hard. Let's sharpen up our pencils. Let's get something done," said Joy.
Republican incumbent Senator George Winner was coined the "poster boy for Albany ethics mess" by The Daily News this past week. The Daily News' Ken Lovett revealed that Winner has a glaring, previously hidden conflict of interest on hydrofracking - a controversial and dangerous method of extracting natural gas from a miles-deep rock formation known as the Marcellus Shale - which is an issue of grave concern to all water-drinking New Yorkers. Winner has been one of the most vocal supporters of permitting hydrofracking while his law firm has done work for some of the very companies who are seeking to make millions off the process and who are lobbying the Senate to be able to drill upstate. The Daily News put it mildly when they said this kind of corruption is simply "unacceptable, given the high stakes for New York's water quality. Not when one bad well sunk too close to New York City's reservoirs could ruin the drinking supply for millions."