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Grassroots Bulletin

June 2012 Grassroots Newsletter

New York Primary Outlook: June 26, 2012

On Tuesday, June 26, New Yorkers will have the opportunity to vote in several Congressional and one Senate primary. The retirements of Congressmen Towns and Ackerman have created the most contested of the upcoming primaries.

Additionally, redistricting essentially erased the region once represented by Congressman Turner. As a result, he is running in the Senate Republican primary pool, with the winner ultimately facing Sen. Gillibrand in November. Below are the highlights of the contested races in our service territory:

NY-6 Central Queens: Forest Hills, Flushing
OPEN: Congressman Gary Ackerman is retiring, leaving an open seat


  • NYC Councilwoman Liz Crowley
    • Crowley was first elected to the City Council in November 2008. She serves as chair of the Fire and Criminal Justice Services Committee and is a member of the following committees: Cultural Affairs; Environmental Protection; Housing and Buildings; Parks and Recreation; Rules; Privileges and Elections, and State and Federal Legislation. Advocating for NYC’s fire safety and emergencies services has been her main priority.


  • State Assemblyman Rory Lancman
    • First elected in 2006, Assemblyman Lancman currently chairs the Assembly Subcommittee on Workplace Safety and is a member of the following committees: Majority Steering; Judiciary; Codes; Labor; Banks; Housing, and Cities. Assemblyman Lancman’s legislative agenda has been focused on workplace safety, homeland security, public safety and government reform.


  • State Assemblywoman Grace Meng
    • Meng is currently the only Asian-American serving in the New York Legislature. She has focused on giving children access to health care and quality education, improving the quality of life for seniors and helping small business owners.


NY-8 Parts of Brooklyn: Bedford-Stuyvesant, Canarsie
OPEN: Congressman Edolphus Towns is retiring, leaving an open seat


  • NYC Councilman Charles Barron
    • Barron has been a community activist for 25 years and in 2001 was elected to the New York City Council. He serves as chair of the Higher Education Committee and is a member of the committees on Land Use; Consumer Affairs; Women’s Issues; Landmarks; Public Siting, and Maritime Uses. As chair of the Higher Education Committee, Barron spearheaded the restoration of over $10 million for students at City University of New York colleges.


  • State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries
    • Jeffries was sworn in as a member of the New York State Assembly in January 2007 and has sponsored bills that would strengthen tenant regulations, protect the infringement of civil liberties, reform state government, and facilitate the successful re-entry of formerly incarcerated individuals.


NY-11 Staten Island, Brooklyn: Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst
Congressman Grimm is the incumbent and is not facing a primary


  • Former Congressional Aide Mark Murphy
    • Murphy most recently served as borough representative for Public Advocate Bill de Blasio in Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Queens. He has also worked in both the U.S. House and the Senate. Mark grew up on Staten Island and is a graduate of the Catholic University of America.


  • Pizzeria Owner Alex Borgognone
    • Borgognone, a part-owner of his family’s Bronx pizzeria, Patricia's of Morris Park, opposes GOP plans to reform Social Security and Medicare. Borgogone’s advisors include longtime New York Democrat Robert Olivari.


NY-18 Hudson Valley: Poughkeepsie, Newburgh
Congresswoman Nan Hayworth is in the incumbent and is not facing a primary


  • Attorney and Former White House Aide Sean Maloney
    • Maloney has served as an advisor to President Bill Clinton and former Governor Eliot Spitzer. As a private practice attorney, Maloney has worked on tenants’ rights issues and marriage equality. Among his Congressional goals are ending the Bush-era tax cuts and closing tax loopholes.


  • Tuxedo Park Mayor Tom Wilson
    • Wilson has spent the last 11 years working in the financial services industry in Manhattan. Previously he worked as an independent commodity trader on the floor of the New York Board of Trade at the World Trade Center. As mayor of Tuxedo Park, Wilson has focused on public health and renewable energy.


  • Cortlandt Town Councilman Rich Becker
    • In addition to public service, Becker is a practicing physician. He works in the area as a cardiologist. Throughout his political career, Becker has focused on public health issues and local business development.


  • Wappingers Falls Mayor Matt Alexander
    • Alexander currently serves as Mayor of Wappingers Falls. Earlier in his career, he worked as a CPA and started a small business on Main Street in Wappingers Falls.


U.S. Senate
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is the incumbent and not facing a primary


  • Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos
    • Maragos is the founder of SDS Financial Technologies, which provides financial information and online trading services to the financial industry. Maragos has also worked in banking, consulting and information systems, including Citicorp and Chase Manhattan Bank.


  • Attorney Wendy Long
    • Long currently runs the Judicial Crisis Network, which promotes public education about the role of the judiciary and advocates for Supreme Court justices and other federal judges with a record of judicial restraint and respect for the Constitution, including Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. Earlier in her career, Long worked for U.S. Sen. Gordon Humphrey (R-N.H.) and then U.S. Sen. Bill Armstrong (R-Colo.).


  • Congressman Bob Turner
    • Turner has had a long career in business, with 40 years in the television industry. Most recently, Turner has served as the congressman from the soon to be eliminated NY-9 District. The congressman won in a special election on September 13th, 2011, after the resignation of former Congressman Anthony Weiner. He currently serves on the Foreign Affairs (Middle East subcommittee), Homeland Security, and Veteran Affairs committees.


According to the most recent polling data (Sienna College, May 6-10), Turner is in the lead with 15 percent, followed by Long (12 percent) and Maragos (6 percent).

    City Council Pushes Wage Mandates, Paid Sick Leave Bills

    The City Council in recent weeks has considered or approved a number of bills that increase regulation and costs across industries, causing concern among business groups that there could be more to come.

    City lawmakers have recently passed "prevailing wage" and "living wage" bills to boost pay for workers at some taxpayer-subsidized projects. They also approved a measure last month that requires banks to disclose detailed information on their lending operations throughout the city. Another new bill gaining attention would ban employers from checking a job applicant's credit history and basing hiring decisions on an applicant’s credit history.

    The prevailing-wage bill, which increases pay for service workers in buildings that receive at least $1 million in city subsidies, was championed by Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, which represents janitors, security guards and cleaning crews. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, meanwhile, organized the coalition behind the living-wage bill, which will require businesses taking at least $1 million in subsidies to pay their workers $10 an hour plus benefits.

    New talk of a mandatory paid-sick-leave bill is also gaining traction. Manhattan Councilwoman Gale Brewer has advanced a paid-sick-leave bill which would require businesses with fewer than 20 employees to provide five paid sick days per year per employee businesses with more than 20 employees to provide nine days off. Any other paid leave could be counted toward the sick time minimum under the current version of the bill. Workplaces with fewer than 20 workers a year-long grace period before the policy kicks in.

    Council Speaker Christine Quinn has said the bill would place an undue economic burden on small businesses. However, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn/Queens), ranking member of the House Small Business Committee, recently appeared at a City Hall rally organized by the NYC Paid Sick Days Campaign and the Working Families Party in favor of the proposal.

    State Legislature Debates Minimum Wage, Small Business Tax Credits

    The state Assembly passed legislation in late May that would increase the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.50 beginning in January 2013.
    Senate Republicans oppose the measure. Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would like to see an increase, but isn’t optimistic that the bill can be passed this year. He has not publicly supported the Assembly bill.

    Senate Republicans have said a minimum wage increase would hurt small businesses that couldn't afford it and have instead proposed a plan to provide $200 million in tax incentives for small businesses. The bill would provide a credit per each new hire made by a small business –  $8,000 for an employee who was collecting jobless benefits and up to $10,000 for a returning military veteran.

    The legislation would also include the elimination of income taxes paid by manufacturers over a three-year period as well as a 20-percent corporate tax cut for small businesses.

    The next Lunch and Learn is June 14 in the main conference room at 30 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn, from noon to 1 p.m. The presenting organization will be the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  

    Con Edison participates in Robotics Competition

    FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 to interest and inspire students in mathematics and science. The FIRST Robotics Competition is the largest high school event of its kind that develops critical skills in science and technology in a super-charged learning atmosphere. The corporate and community sponsored competition involves more than 50,000 students, teachers, mentors and engineers, on more than 2,000 teams from around the world.

    For the 2012 competition, Con Edison sponsored 11 high schools and employees gave over 500 hours of their time and expertise mentoring students and building robots.



    How many voting members are in the House of Representatives?

    Submit your answers to grassroots@conEd.com with "Civics Quiz" in the subject line for a chance to win a pair of tickets to see a Roundabout Theatre performance.

    Congratulations to Chun Mak who correctly answered the last quiz question: “Who designed the White House” The answer was James Hoban. Chun won two tickets to the Roundabout Theatre.

    The original White House was designed by Irish-born James Hoban. In 1814 the mansion was set on fire and many parts of the interior and exterior were destroyed. The West Wing was added during President Theodore Roosevelt’s tenure and the East Wing was built during World War II to hide the construction of an underground bunker.

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