Tag Archives: United States Senate

A Senator from Upstate

5 Oct


Above is Senator Kirsten Gillibrand‘s campaign’s second ad of the season.  As the first upstate Senator in nearly 40 years, she’s pretty in-tune with the mass volume of economic fail that’s befallen areas north of Poughkeepsie and west of the Hudson in the past several decades.

While in Congress, Gillibrand helped pass new tax deductions that allow middle class families to deduct up to $1,000 in property taxes and sponsored legislation to allow families to deduct 100 percent of their property taxes. She has continued this work in the US Senate.

Senator Gillibrand has made job creation or number one priority, launching an innovation agenda to foster new new high tech opportunities and passing legislation that will help small businesses gain access to the loans they need to grow. This year, Senator Gillibrand wrote the Upstate Works Act, new legislation (S.3787) to provide targeted support for a broad range of sector’s in the economy in – providing new capital for small business, retooling New York’s manufacturers to produce clean, domestic energy, providing tax credits for family farms to diversify their production, and creating new worker training opportunities for students and working adults to prepare for the jobs of the future.

And to stop the outsourcing that has devastated Upstate New York’s economy for decades, Senator Gillibrand voted in August to end tax subsidies for corporations that ship American jobs overseas and reward companies that create jobs right here at home.

Sharron Angle, Tea Party Hypocrite

28 Sep

Tea Party candidate for US Senate from Nevada, the detestable Sharron Angle, says this about Obama’s health care reform:

Angle’s prior aversion to government-run health care — at least for others — has been no secret. She openly touts her intent to “Repeal and replace Obamacare” on her website, and even claimed recently that such broad legislation was actually unnecessary because there was “nothing wrong with our health care system.”

“Our healthcare system is the best in the world,” said Angle of the American system, once rated37th-best in the world, in August. “Our doctors are the best…The access is not what is being denied.”

Despite Angle’s contention that access to health care is not an issue, more than 18 percent of Nevada’s population is currently uninsured, nearly 3 percent higher than the national rate.

And in 2009, Angle railed against mandated health care coverage even for autism treatment and maternity leave.

“You know what I’m talking about. You’re paying for things that you don’t even need. They just passed the latest one, is everything that they want to throw at us now is covered under ‘autism,'” Angle said, using air quotes for the neurological disorder. “So, that’s a mandate that you have to pay for. How about maternity leave? I’m not going to have anymore babies, but I sure get to pay for it on my insurance. Those are the kinds of things that we want to get rid of.

Anyway, Sharron Angle receives her health insurance through the federal civil service retirement program – that’s a federally-run single-payer program that you and I fund.

She’s one of those tea partiers who minds the “redistribution of wealth” only when she’s not the direct beneficiary.


26 May

New York’s senior Senator Chuck Schumer was formally nominated in a unique year where both of the state’s Senate seats are up for grabs.

In his speech, Schumer touched on the fact that the middle class is particularly distressed in this state.  He pledged to further work for a “strong middle class” that would rebuild a “hungry, searching…growing” New York.  Schumer pledged to make sure that economic changes wouldn’t just be the “whipped cream”, but help and raise up the “whole pie”.

Schumer spoke much of his annual 62 county tour, which was a reaction to attacks made by Senator Al D’Amato in 1998 – that Schumer would never go west of the Hudson or above 125th Street. After recounting loads of wonderful places he’s seen, Schumer exclaimed, “Man, I love New York”.

He went on to strike the quite popular and relevant theme of jobs – especially jobs for the put-upon middle class.  He touted education as the engine behind growing jobs for the middle class, and touched on clean energy and other innovative jobs.  He called for “hitting China where it hurts”, especially when it comes to growing our economy and ensuring fair trade and currency fairness.  Schumer called on New York to invest in old infrastructure, and also in new projects like high speed rail and universal broadband.

When banks won’t lend to New York businesses, he reminds them that the government bailed them out, and that they have a responsibility to help support – and extend credit to – New York businesses, like Hickey Freeman.  Citing Yahoo’s entry to Western New York, Schumer stated that businesses come here because of New York’s workforce, and it’s government’s job to ease the way to business to operate and grow.

The Theme: Established

26 May

So, these signs are plastered all throughout the Rye Town Hilton, as well as those for Gillibrand and Schumer, who hosted a breakfast this morning for delegates and “special guests”.  And “extra super special guests”.

Given that people like Sheldon Silver and John Sampson are scheduled to speak, it seems like an interesting, if not somewhat ironic, theme to strike.  I would assume that it was concocted in conjunction with the Cuomo campaign, which has indeed struck a particularly strong reformist theme, right down to the 224 page book of Andrew’s Wonkery.®

The whole thing is supposed to be gaveled into order in about 15 minutes, so I’ll try to get a spot on the floor and check in later with “news.”

The Specter of Pigeon

21 May

One of the overlooked results from Arlen Specter’s loss to Joe Sestak on Tuesday night is the fact that Pedro Espada patronage hire Steve Pigeon claimed to be instrumental in convincing Specter to switch to the Democratic Party last year.

It got the attention of a Kos commenter, and later Kos himself in a post from June 2009.  It quotes the Buffalo News:

Steve Pigeon, the former Erie County Democratic Party boss who helped mastermind Monday’s coup in the [New York] state Senate, is in line for a top Senate job if the takeover holds in the coming days.

“I expect to play a role. I’m being talked to,” Pigeon confirmed today at the Capitol […]

Pigeon and B. Thomas Golisano, the billionaire owner of the Buffalo Sabres, were still at the Capitol today doing a victory dance — and engaged in non-stop media interviews — for their role in helping the 30 Republicans and two Democrats in Monday’s coup.

Pigeon began working with Republicans and a small contingent of Democrats in late April on a plan to wrestle control of the Senate. Golisano, who poured millions into helping Democrats take control of the Senate in last fall’s elections, gave the green light to Pigeon to work on the coup following a sour meeting between Golisano and Smith at the end of April.

Guess what? Pigeon got his Senate patronage job thanks to Pedro Espada’s assholedness and Tom Golisano’s money.  But Specter lost his because he was too centrist for the Republicans and too opportunistic for the Democrats.

Which further proves the theory: there is nothing that Steve Pigeon does that is for the good of anyone but Steve Pigeon.

Senator Gillibrand

26 Jan

There has been a tantrum of anger from many downstate editorial boards and pundits (New York Times), (Daily News), (Village Voice columnist), (Joe Conason in Salon), (Newsday), and politicians (most notably Carolyn McCarthy NY-4) at this selection, and the rest of the state doesn’t know what, frankly, to make of the pick. Gillibrand is from the Hudson Valley, and her congressional district stretches from Lake Placid to the outskirts of Poughkeepsie – they don’t gerrymander ’em like they gerrymander ’em here. That’s a rural upstate district, so it makes sense that, like Brian Higgins, Gillibrand doesn’t adhere to some sort of random or brainless liberal template. She has to work the center because rural voters are different from New York City activists.

There’s an irony in complaints emanating from Long Island and the 5 boroughs about Gillibrand’s selection that is equal parts laughable and poignant. Those areas are awash in Albany and Washington clout. Upstate? Not so much.

Apart from the upstate/downstate and rural/urban divide that has come to the fore since Gillibrand’s selection, I think people were also quite put off by Paterson’s process. The endless speculation and leaking regarding Caroline, then no Caroline, then Caroline again, then Cuomo, was just ridiculous.

Gillibrand was not my first selection. It would have been interesting to hear the cries of outrage had Brian Higgins been selected, since his district actually does cover urban areas, as well as rural ones. He was geographically perfect, but apparently was the wrong gender.

Hopefully, Gillibrand will take a page from Schumer’s book and make sure to visit every county in the state at least once per year. One also hopes that Gillibrand will be a tireless advocate not just for her former congressional district, but for all of New York State. Her roots upstate mean that her concentration on the problems that affect everyone north of Dutchess and west of Orange counties will hopefully be keen and effective.

As an aside, check out this column by the Daily News’ Elizabeth Benjamin. It’s almost too much to bear just how awful our state government is, and how evidently proud of that they are.

Senator Gillibrand

24 Jan

HT Marquil @ EmpireWire.com

Well, We Now Know It Won’t Be Caroline

21 Jan

The New York Post is reporting that Caroline Kennedy will NOT be the next Senator from New York:

Caroline Kennedy last night withdrew her name from consideration to replace Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate after learning that Gov. David Paterson wasn’tt going to choose her, The Post has learned.

Evidently, Paterson decided not to go with Kennedy because she did so horribly in her media interviews and private meetings with officials.

The Post’s story seems to be leaning Cuomo.

Paterson’s Methodology

19 Jan

It is, quite frankly, less fair to the taxpayers of New York State than American Idol. I understand that Paterson has the absolute right to make this selection, but I can’t fathom why – in this climate – he would permit the uncertainty to go on and on this long.

And if the selection is, as rumored, Caroline Kennedy, then the wait is even less justified and just Paterson jerking the whole state around.

The Clinton Replacement

15 Jan

They’ve been polling statewide, and the people with statewide name recognition are winning. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo over Caroline Kennedy 30 – 21. In New York City, however, Kennedy beats Cuomo 31 – 29.

Since Clinton will be confirmed as SoS in a matter of days, Paterson may make his pick within a similar timeframe.

It’s my hope that Paterson selects a Democrat for the Senate position who has a solid track record of working hard for constituents, who has been vetted by an electorate, and who has an ability to come up with creative solutions to big, intractable problems, and who is a tireless advocate for the people not just living in his district, but the greater regional good.

Newsday has a roundup of the candidates (in addition to Cuomo & Kennedy):

_Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York City. In Congress since 1992, she has the support of three major women’s groups and could be seen as attractive to women and Catholics.

_U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand. She just won her second term representing a large, traditionally Republican district in the Hudson Valley to north of Saratoga Springs.

_Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi. In two terms, he righted the county’s fiscal crisis, led Paterson’s high-priority commission to reduce property taxes, and ran statewide in 2006 for governor against Eliot Spitzer for the Democratic nomination.

_Rep. Steve Israel from Long Island. In Congress since 2001, he has earned important committee positions in the House.

_Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. A former state senator with Paterson, Brown would provide geographic balance to the 2010 election ticket.

_Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion. Carrion has support in one of America’s most diverse areas and is also considered a contender for New York City mayor.

_Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York City. He has been in Congress since 1992 after serving 16 years in the state Assembly.

_Rep. Brian Higgins. First elected to Congress in 2004, he’s a former state assemblyman and grandson of Irish immigrants. He could bring western New York balance to the ticket.

_Randi Weingarten. The president of the American Federation of Teachers is a widely known leader of one of the most powerful labor and lobbying forces in New York.