Archive for April, 2009

NY Dems Praise Passage of President Obama’s Budget by the House and Senate

April 30, 2009

NEW YORK, NY – New York State Democratic Committee Chair June O’Neill today issued the following statement praising the passage of President Obama’s budget by the House and the Senate:

“Yesterday, both the House and the Senate passed President Obama’s budget – sending a clear signal that Democrats intend to deliver on the promises that were made in November.

The landmark budget put the focus back on things Americans need most – affordable health care, investments in clean energy that reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and support to help ease the burden of the current economic crisis.

Right here at home, we were the first state to adopt a budget this fiscal year. Like President Obama’s budget, Governor Paterson’s budget makes reforms to our health care systems and creates major savings for taxpayers. It also reflects the Governor’s commitment to fiscal responsibility and government reform.

These two budgets provide for the much needed changes Americans and New Yorkers so desperately need.”


NY Dems Mark President Obama’s First 100 Days in Office

April 29, 2009

NEW YORK, NY – New York State Democratic Committee Chair June O’Neill today issued the following statement recognizing the major accomplishments achieved during President Obama’s first 100 days in office:

“On January 20 we celebrated the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama. Today, as we look back at the past 100 days since he took office, we can be proud of the new course President Obama has put us on and of the major accomplishments that have been achieved.

President Obama has made our government work for Americans again. He passed an economic recovery package that will create millions of new jobs and passed a budget blueprint that invests in our future. The President also signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Act to ensure women are paid equally, lifted the ban federal funding for potentially life-saving stem research, and passed legislation to enhance the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

In New York, these accomplishments have translated into $253 million in stimulus funds to create nearly 1,400 housing units, as well as $430 million for state wastewater infrastructure and $38 million for a green innovation grant program. Under Governor Paterson’s leadership, this money will be used on programs that will benefit New Yorkers and create economic stability for our state.

New York Democrats, with Governor Paterson at the helm, remain committed to delivering on the promises that were made in November. We will continue to work to elect more Democrats – like Scott Murphy – who will help contribute to the change we need, and we will continue to be staunch supporters and advocates of the work being done by our Democratic leaders in Washington and in Albany.”

NY Dems Statement on Equal Pay Day

April 28, 2009


NEW YORK, NY – New York State Democratic Committee Chair June O’Neill today issued the following statement recognizing Equal Pay Day and the work done by both our Democratic leadership in Washington, and Governor David A. Paterson, to expand equal rights:


“Today our country marks Equal Pay Day and recognizes the obstacles American women have encountered in the workplace. Women in our country have long struggled to gain equal footing and despite some major achievements, women still earn 78 cents for every dollar earned by men.


But, our Democratic leadership has made it clear this type of discrimination will not be tolerated in our country. When President Obama took office in January, he sent a clear signal that it was time make serious changes. The first bill the President signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which makes it illegal for women to be paid differently than men for the same job.


Right here in our great state, Governor Paterson has made expanding equal rights a priority as well. He has been a staunch advocate for making New York a discrimination-free state that supports and promotes equality. We share the Governor’s vision that New York can and should be a progressive and tolerant state that leads the way in human and civil rights.


There is still much more to achieve, but with strong Democratic leaders like President Obama and Governor Paterson setting the course, our country – and our state – will continue to work toward ending discrimination on all levels.”

As Some Hear His Political Death Knell, Paterson Hears a Call to Arm

April 25, 2009


Faced with an increasingly popular rival in Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo and a growing loss of confidence among top Democrats, Gov. David A. Paterson is making a pointed pitch to New York’s political establishment: I’m not dead yet.

In a series of phone calls and private meetings with top Democratic officials, major donors, leading business executives and union leaders, Mr. Paterson has apologized for his administration’s mistakes, asked for their support and insisted that he intends to run and win in 2010, according to those who have been on the receiving end of Mr. Paterson’s efforts.

“The terms are, ‘This is why I think I have a problem, this is what I am trying to do about it, and I would like your ideas on how to improve,’ ” said H. Carl McCall, the former state comptroller and a prominent Democratic figure. “The implicit part of it is, ‘I’m not going anywhere, and I will try to provide the leadership that New York needs.’

”Mr. Paterson’s aggressive behind-the-scenes effort — coming 17 months before the 2010 primary — is remarkable simply because it is necessary. In essence, Mr. Paterson was making an early move onto the campaign trail, several advisers said, from rolling out a new campaign logo and Web site to assembling a dedicated “war room.” The goal is to reignite enthusiasm for Mr. Paterson, mount a strong defense of his record and fend off suggestions from worried party leaders that he step aside next year and allow Mr. Cuomo to head the ticket.

Underscoring the pressure Mr. Paterson faces, some close friends and allies have privately been discussing — apparently without Mr. Paterson’s knowledge — where the governor might land if he did decide not to run. One idea that has come up is a position at Columbia University, where Mr. Paterson earned his undergraduate degree and where he has been an adjunct instructor, according to some of those involved in the discussion.

“I don’t think anyone has broached that subject with him, but we are all talking about it with each other,” said a friend of the governor’s, who requested anonymity because Mr. Paterson would probably not appreciate any suggestion that he step aside. “At some point, someone is going to have to broach that with him.”

But at a moment when Mr. Paterson’s low approval ratings and successive fumbles have many top Democrats concerned that he will drag down the entire party ticket in 2010, the governor appears determined to fight on.

“The governor is reaching out, sitting with business leaders, assuring them that he has got his second wind and is going to move on key issues,” said Kathryn S. Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City, an association that includes some of the city’s top business leaders, many of them major donors and fund-raisers for campaigns for governor.“There is general confidence that he means it,” Ms. Wylde said.

Mr. Paterson has also delivered his message to some of his key financial backers, some of whom might otherwise be inclined to sit on their money until they know whether he will recover.

“It was, ‘This is what I did, Steve, and I’m going to be staying, and continuing to fight,’ ” said Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, which represents New York’s major landlords and developers. “He clearly needs to get his message out.”Mr. Spinola, who helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Mr. Paterson from developers when he first became governor, noted that his group was unhappy with the governor for agreeing to a major tax increase on high earners as part of this year’s budget. Asked whether he would be as supportive of Mr. Paterson next year, Mr. Spinola replied, “The answer is, there is plenty of time left for people to get their message across.”

Mr. Paterson delivered his message in a more public setting last Friday, when he spoke in Saratoga Springs at an annual conference of Democratic leaders from rural counties. Mr. Paterson gently tweaked Mr. Cuomo, who was also there, for his ambition, joking, “There’s no ‘I’ in A.G.” Mr. Paterson also declared that Democrats would be victorious in 2010, “starting with me.”

“No brag,” Mr. Paterson added. “Just fact.”

Reasserting himself among fellow Democrats is one element in a broader strategy that Mr. Paterson and his staff have outlined since the budget was passed this month. At a recent meeting at the Hotel Plaza Athénée in Manhattan, the governor and more than a dozen of his top advisers and fund-raisers discussed how Mr. Paterson can reconnect with the Democratic base, soothe wounds left over from the budget battles and ward off a potential primary challenge from Mr. Cuomo.

Following Mr. Paterson’s proposal last week to legalize  same-sex marriage, he is counting on his leadership role on the issue to bolster confidence in his ability to lead on important items and draw support from liberals. His staff is carefully orchestrating the announcement of public-works projects paid for by the federal stimulus package to reap maximum political benefit. In the coming weeks, Mr. Paterson will ask the Legislature to move on his proposal to cap property taxes, a matter of great concern to suburban voters.

Meanwhile, the campaign’s new war room will focus on promoting and defending the governor’s record, especially the passage of this year’s $131 billion budget, for which Mr. Paterson and his aides believe he has not gotten enough credit.“This is a real campaign, and this is going to have all of the elements of a campaign,” said Tracy Sefl, a political consultant to Mr. Paterson. “He is going to run hard, and he is going to run on his record.”

But underscoring the failing confidence within his own party, Mr. Paterson has focused much of his behind-the-scenes outreach on major Democratic forces, such as large labor unions. Mr. Paterson met at his Manhattan office several weeks ago with Michael Fishman, the president of Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union, which has been frustrated with the slow pace of legislation to require higher wages on projects sponsored by the state’s industrial development agencies.“The governor wanted me know that he was intent on working more closely with us,” Mr. Fishman said. “I asked him to support reform of the state’s industrial development agencies, and he agreed to do so.”

But Mr. Paterson’s overtures have not all been warmly received. The governor got a polite but tepid reception on the phone from George Gresham, the head of 1199 S.E.I.U. United Healthcare Workers East, according to one person close to the union. That person said the governor seemed overconfident and unaware of how much anger remained from his recent battles with the union over budget cuts. The union is close to Mr. Cuomo, and support from its members would be pivotal in a primary.

Some of the governor’s calls do appear to be bearing fruit. After consulting with Mr. Paterson, for example, the United Federation of Teachers has entered the fight over bailing out the  Metropolitan Transportation Authority, a crucial test of Mr. Paterson’s administration, and is now lobbying recalcitrant lawmakers to back the governor’s bailout proposal. “I don’t think for a minute he doesn’t have a long road to go, and have a lot of challenges,” said Randi Weingarten, the union’s president. “But I think he can be a great governor.”


April 24, 2009

GLENS FALLS, NY – New York State Democratic Chair June O’Neill today issued the following statement congratulating Scott Murphy on his tremendous victory in the 20th Congressional District:

“Today, residents of the 20th Congressional District finally have the representation they deserve in Washington. Though the odds were stacked against him, Democrat Scott Murphy ran a positive, aggressive campaign and proved to voters in NY 20 that he understands the unique issues they are facing.

While Republicans said no to plans that would benefit Upstate residents, Scott took a stand in favor the President’s economic recovery package which will create thousands of new jobs across the district. Scott’s victory in a district where Republicans far outnumber Democrats sends a clear message – residents in NY 20 have had enough of the status quo, and enough of the same failed Republican policies. They are ready for a fresh face and new voice that will fight for the change that’s so desperately needed in Washington.

Governor Paterson and the New York State Democratic Committee were proud to have played an integral role in securing victory for Scott. With the Governor’s leadership, we contributed countless volunteer hours and resources to his campaign – sharing Scott’s message with voters across the district and working to ensure that every vote was counted.  Both the NYSDC and the Governor look forward to working with Scott as he assumes his new role.”

Statement from NYSDC Chair June O’Neill On Earth Day

April 23, 2009

NEW YORK, NY – As millions of people across the globe celebrate the 39th annual Earth Day today, June O’Neill, Chair of the New York State Democratic Committee, issued the following statement:

“Nearly four decades ago, the first Earth Day marked the birth of a new national environmental consciousness paving the way for landmark policies that protect public health and preserve our environment for future generations.

We have made important gains. But for too long, Washington and Albany have been held captive by the special interests. They turned a blind eye to the energy crises and to the gathering threat of climate change that is affecting people here in New York State.

President Obama has given us a new reason to celebrate this Earth Day: his Administration has committed to a comprehensive energy plan that will generate millions of new clean energy jobs, break our dependence on foreign oil, reduce deadly pollution and finally tackle global warming and its potentially catastrophic effects.  These jobs will stay here in New York and can’t be shipped overseas.

And right here in at home, our Governor, David Paterson, has been a champion on environmental issues. Today, he signed the Better Bottle Bill, which will create reduce litter, boost recycling, and create jobs, into law.

Democrats have been leaders on these issues, and they continue to push for change in Washington and in New York. April 22nd will always be a day to recommit ourselves to a healthier, cleaner planet; but this year, in the throes of some very difficult economic times, Earth Day has a renewed sense of purpose. Today is a reminder of the opportunity we have to reinvest in the American worker, make the United States a leader in the global energy industry, and increase our energy independence.”

Behind in the Vote Count, Jim Tedisco’s Campaign Continues its Attempt to Prevent Thousands of Votes from Being Counted

April 16, 2009

GLENS FALLS, NY – As votes in the 20th Congressional District race continue to be counted, and Scott Murphy’s lead continues to grow, Republican Jim Tedisco’s campaign has ramped up its desperate efforts to prevent thousands of votes from being counted.


“Jim Tedisco is clearly growing increasingly desperate,” said June O’Neill, NYSDC Chair. “His campaign continues to push for votes to be thrown aside without any real basis for their dismissal – disenfranchising voters in a sad attempt to delay an inevitable loss.  Jim Tedisco is preventing residents in the 20th Congressional District from having the representation they deserve during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.”


The Facts:


Today Tedisco said, “It’s a dead heat right now… You’ve probably seen what we’ve asked for, which is to have every single person who voted, especially our military personnel, have the opportunity to have their ballots counted.” [Politiker NY, 3/16/09]



However, his campaigns actions say something very different.

·        Before the polls even closed on Election Day, the Republicans filed a lawsuit to slow down the vote count. 

·        In court, on Monday, April 6, 2009 Tedisco’s campaign attempted to delay the counting of ballots until the next week. The State Supreme Court sided with Scott Murphy’s campaign and agreed that absentee ballots shall start being counted Wednesday, April 8 as scheduled. 

·        In Columbia County — which Murphy won on Election Day–absentee ballots started being counted today at 12:45 pm. Columbia County had agreed to count ballots until 6 pm today. At 4:20 p.m., Tedisco’s people just got up and walked out. In that 3.5 hour time period, the Tedisco campaign made 38 challenges, while the Murphy campaign only made one.

·        On Tuesday, April 14, Republicans challenged Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s ballot.