Gianaris Named To Important Democratic Party Finance Post
Apparently impressed with the campaign fundraising talents exhibited by Assemblymember Michael Gianaris over the past two years as he tested the waters for a possible run for state attorney general, state Democratic Party leaders have selected the Astoria lawmaker to be the finance chairman for the statewide organization for next year’s crucial elections.
The title confers responsibility upon the 35-year-old official to coordinate the fundraising efforts of candidates from the top of the ticket on down, from New York City and Long Island north to the Canadian border and as far west as Buffalo.
Commenting on the important appointment, Gianaris said he was honored “to be entrusted with an appointment which carries such significant responsibilities for so many candidates and for our party as a whole. You can be sure I’ll give this position all the attention it deserves and that I’ll do my utmost to justify the confidence shown in me.”
This is a major year for the Democrats, who hope to reclaim the governor’s chair after its having been in Republican hands for 12 years. State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is the likely candidate and polls show him as a clear leader in the race, for which he has no Republican opponent as yet.
The Dems also expect United States Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to win re-election. As yet, her opponent is unnamed also.
The party should have no problem holding on to control of the Assembly. More importantly, there’s a realistic chance they can take control of the state senate after many, many years in the minority. Certainly, the incumbent Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, is giving indication that he may be toppled from his high perch, judging by the campaign he’s staging to get strong candidates at the top of his party’s ticket.
State Democratic Party Chairman Assemblymember Herman (Denny) Farrell wanted to put the finance chairman’s job in responsible hands. His choice of Gianaris is a good one, as Gianaris recently announced he would not pursue the attorney general job, but would run for re-election to his Assembly seat. He’ll be free to roam the state to help other Democrats with their fundraising.
Gianaris, a Harvard graduate, proved during his campaigning over the past three years that he knows a thing or two about attracting contributions. He raised more than $2 million in campaigning for the attorney general post, an impressive sum to amass so early in his political career.
Gianaris is in good company in being entrusted with his party’s fortunes in the upcoming elections. At the beginning of the year, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer was appointed finance chairman of the Senate Democrats. The national Democratic organization harbors hopes of making gains next year against Republican Party control of the upper house of the Congress.
PIRRO CAN’T HIDE: Jeanine Pirro just can’t avoid the glare of headlines, whether they’re detailing her inability to decide which public office to run for or covering her attending a hero cop’s funeral mass.
Last Wednesday, after the funeral of slain cop Danny Enchantegui in The Bronx, attended by thousands of officers angered by the killing, Pirro was reportedly heard giggling while chatting with state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, who last week cut the props out from under her campaign against U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The Daily News reported one officer brusquely told her, “Shut up”, which she did. Later, she denied it, saying someone might have said something to which she responded, but she insisted there was no disrespect shown. She also cited her long year’s of working closely with cops as Westchester District Attorney.
Two days later, a Quinnipiac University poll showed Pirro would get trounced by Clinton, 62 to 30 percent, but would make a much more competitive showing in the race for state attorney general. In that contest she was shown losing to Democrats Mark Green (43 to 35 percent and Andrew Cuomo (49 to 32 percent).
Commenting on the polls’ showings, Pirro continued to call attention to her activities as a candidate against Clinton.
Quinnipiac also issued results of a poll which found Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Eliot Spitzer easily defeating any of four Republican challengers: William Weld, Tom Golisano, Randy Daniels and John Faso.
PADAVAN ‘CHAMP OF SERVICES’: Goodwill Industries in Astoria awarded its first annual “Champion of Service Award” to state Senator Frank Padavan (R–C, Bellerose) on Monday in recognition of his “outstanding work with people with disabilities and other disadvantages.”
“New Yorkers are fortunate to have a champion in the state legislature like Senator Padavan,” Rex L. Davidson, president and chief executive officer of Goodwill Industries, said. “His dedication to New York’s disabled and disadvantaged population has made a tremendous difference in our local community and in the life of the city.”
Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey each year serves more than 60,000 people facing barriers to employment, said the organization’s chief operating officer, William I. Forrester.
“These barriers may include mental, physical and emotional disabilities and a variety of other difficult issues,” Forrester stated. “The senator has either sponsored or co-sponsored nearly every major legislative gain over the past two decades for this population. We are proud to make him our first Champion of Service.”
The award, which was presented at a ceremony at the Goodwill facility at 4-21 27th Ave., hailed Padavan for his accomplishments for the Queens community, which include securing financing to modernize and expand Flushing Hospital Medical Center and Jamaica Hospital and Medical Center.
FIGHTS HMO PREMIUM HIKES: New York State needs greater oversight of health maintenance organizations’ ability to raise premiums as they please with no government ability to reign them in, Assemblymember Mark Weprin (D–Little Neck) declared.
“Insurance companies and HMOs continue to report record profits while families and small business owners struggle with skyrocketing insurance premiums,” Weprin said in a release.
“According to the state Insurance Department, HMO profits nearly doubled from 2000 to 2002, yet enrollment actually declined over the same period,” the lawmaker added.” “In order to end this trend, we clearly need a watchdog to determine whether new premium increases are justified.”
Weprin said he was speaking out on the issue because there is talk of a new round of HMO rate hikes. He supports a bill that restores the Insurance Department’s ability to hold hearings and review proposed rate increases. The department would then be empowered to grant, reduce or reject any premium increase in excess of 5 percent.