With less than three weeks until the end of the New York State Legislature’s session, Long Island Progressive Coalition is making an all-out, do-or-die effort to rally pressure on two key Long Island Republican State Senators, Jack M. Martins in the 7th District (Nassau) and Phil Boyle in the 4th Senate District (Suffolk/Nassau) to pressure their leader, Dean Skelos, also of Long Island, to allow a vote on the Fair Elections bill that already passed the state Assembly, May 7.
“Don’t Come Home Without It,” was the rallying cry at the May 29 Fair Elections New York Lobby Day. Now they are planning events to “bird-dog” the Senators in their home districts at their offices and Long Island railroad stations.
To be clear, the activists are only asking that Senator Dean Skelos, who is a co-Majority Leader with Jeff Klein of the Independent Democrats Caucus, allow an up-or-down vote in the Senate, rather than the bill languish. This is much like President Obama asking for Congress to merely allow a vote on gun safety legislation.
Like gun safety legislation, the vast majority of New Yorkers – 72% – favor fair elections reform.
Martins and Boyle are singled out because they are both in “moderate”-leaning districts which could swing the other way in 2014.
Indeed, Martins, whose district includes progressive-leaning Great Neck known for its political activism and strong turnout, beat out the first Democrat to hold the Senate seat in nearly 100 years, Craig Johnson, but running as an incumbent, had a surprising challenge from an unknown progressive Democrat, Daniel S. Ross, in the 2012 election, 51.8% o 48.2%.
Long Island Progressive Coalition will be outside Martins offices at 151 Herricks Road, Garden City Park, waving posters, handing out literature.
They will be “bird-dogging” Sen. Phil Boyle office, 23 Argyle Square, Babylon.
Some mornings, the group also intends to leaflet at the Long Island railroad stations at Babylon and Great Neck.
In a case that highlights the “pay-to-play” politics they are seeking to address in Fair Elections law, the group will also hold a rally on Tuesday, June 4, at noon, at Nassau County Legislature building, 1550 Franklin Avenue, Mineola, to raise awareness about County Executive Ed Mangano receiving campaign contributions from companies that got contracts for clean-up. For example, Looks Great Services got up to $70 million from the county for clean-up in the months after the storm and gave just over $27,000 to Mangano in 2012-13.
While the Fair Elections Law for New York State would cover only state elected offices, it is widely expected that towns, cities, counties and local municipalities will adopt the provisions, including public finance mechanism and disclosure. Indeed, New York State is seen as being a model for states around the country.
For information: Long Island Progressive Coalition, 516-541-1006, ext10, www.LIPC.org.
Karen Rubin, Long Island Populist Examiner
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