Rice Gets Overwhelming Endorsement From Queens Dems
Citing Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice’s expertise, passion and the drive to continue state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s good work, Queens Democratic Chairman Joseph Crowley and his organization endorsed Rice last week as their party’s nominee for attorney general in the September 14 primary and the general election to follow.
Crowley, speaking on behalf of the Democratic organization, also declared, “Today’s endorsement is just the beginning. We will stand by our good neighbor from Nassau County every day as a powerful ally, helping to deliver her victory.”
Getting the Queens Democrats in her corner adds to the impressive list of supporters, which includes the Kings (Brooklyn), Nassau, Suffolk and Albany county Democratic organizations. Also on that list are four upstate county Democratic organizations.
Backing up Crowley last Thursday in announcing support for Rice were Borough President Helen Marshall and dozens of elected and party officials and community leaders from every corner of the borough. Earlier this year, Rice also won the backing of the JFK Democratic Club in Jackson Heights and Assemblymember Grace Meng of Flushing.
Accepting the endorsements at a Borough Hall press conference, Rice recognized the electoral punch possessed by Queens in the statewide picture.
“Queens isn’t just a microcosm of the world, it’s a microcosm of New York state,” said Rice, whose parents lived in the borough for many years.
Rice added, “Every community you can find in the Empire State is represented here, and having the support of the Queens Democratic Organization and all of these leaders here today gives me the most diverse coalition of supporters of all the candidates running for attorney general.
“I’m excited to tell the people of Queens what I stand for, and to hear from them what issues matter most to them.”
Rice will be facing four opponents in the primary: state Senator Eric Schneiderman of Manhattan, Assemblymember Richard Brodsky of Westchester; Eric Dinallo, a former state insurance superintendent, and Sean Coffey, a Wall Street attorney.
Rice became Nassau DA in 2006, after defeating a 31-year Republican incumbent. She is also the first woman to hold the prosecutor’s post in that county.
Rice received the most votes for attorney general at the state Democratic Party convention and has raised more funds than any of her opponents. If elected, she’ll be the first woman to head the New York attorney general office.
Prior to her current position, she served as an assistant DA in Brooklyn and an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District in Pennsylvania.
Among those who endorsed Rice last week besides Crowley were Queens state Senators George Onorato, Shirley Huntley and Toby Ann Stavisky and 12 Assemblymembers from the borough, including Barbara Clark, Vivian Cook, Michael DenDekker, Michael Gianaris, Andrew Hevesi, Rory Lancman, Margaret Markey, Nettie Mayersohn, Michael Miller, Audrey Pheffer, William Scarborough and Michele Titus.
Assembly candidate Aravella Simotas, and City Councilmembers James Gennaro, Karen Koslowitz and Mark Weprin also gave Rice their votes.
Fifteen Democratic district leaders are also on board for Rice, including Gloria Aloise, Anne Marie Anzalone, Costa Constantinides, Joseph Dorsa, Mary Ann Dorsa, Frank Galluscio, Phillip Horn, Barbara Jackson, James Lisa, Honey Miller, Howard Pollack, Uma Sengupta, Michael Simanowitz, Archie Spizner, and Martha Taylor. District Leader Candidates Carol Gresser and Martha Taylor also endorsed Rice, as did Democratic state committee members Eileen Boland, Ronnie Croce, John Dorsa and Dennis Deahn.
CHRISTMAS IN AUGUST: Many members of Congress had their vacations interrupted and are back in Washington. The Democrats responded to a call from Speaker Nancy Pelosi to vote on a Democrat-sponsored $26 billion aid package that would help laid-off schoolteachers to continue working when the schools reopen next month.
The aid package would also help cashstrapped states to restore Medicaid cuts made in their budget because of budget shortfalls.
The brightened picture emerged when Senate Democrats weathered a month-long Republican filibuster against the aid package and voted to pass the aid bill.
Following the vote, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D–New York) praised the Democrat action as “a bottom-of-the ninth, come-from-behind victory to help stop layoffs”. Like his fellow Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, Schumer and many other Democrats face challenges in both the primaries and general elections, so the aid bill is welcomed politically and as a practical matter, too.
Immediately after the bill passed the Senate by a 61–to–38 count, Pelosi got on the phone and Internet last Thursday to get congressmembers back to the House to pass the bill, which meant the Republicans had to return to deal with the legislation also. Then all the pols could resume their vacations.
MORE GOOD NEWS FOR CROWLEY: Congressmember Joseph Crowley faces no challenges this election year as he runs for a seventh term, but besides the favorable aid legislation described above, the Elmhurst lawmaker was glowing last week about a federal grant headed toward his district to make further soundproofing improvements in the area surrounding LaGuardia Airport.
For several years, Crowley has made soundproofing schools and residences in Elmhurst and Jackson Heights against airport related noise pollution a top priority. The prospect of getting new funding to further additional noise abatement surfaced recently when a Crowley amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2009 was approved. The amendment directs funding to the Port Authority from the Department of Transportation to fund soundproofing at Vaughn College near LaGuardia Airport.
Crowley (D–Queens/The Bronx) is now urging Congress to vote to pass the Reauthorization Act so the PA can complete Vaughn College soundproofing. “This measure will help make LaGuardia Airport a better friend to its many neighbors,” Crowley said.
MALONEY ACTION ASSURES ACCURACY OF OIL/GAS REVENUE: With the issue of offshore oil drilling fresh in everyone’s mind because of the recent BP disaster off Louisiana, Congressmember Carolyn Maloney reports that her amendment to a bill to ensure accuracy in determing the U.S. share of gas and oil extracted from leased federal land may be coming up for a vote soon.
Maloney (D–Queens/Manhattan), a member of the House Committee On Oversight and Reform, said that the Consolidated Land, Energy and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act, along with her amendment, “will provide needed oversight and transparency to the management of the oil and natural gas industry”.
Maloney explained, “Right now, the American taxpayer does not accurately know the amount of oil and natural gas extracted on leased federal lands—so we don’t know how much the oil companies should pay in royalties.
“With the study required in my amendment, Congress, the Administration, and the American people will better understand the changes that must be made to ensure appropriate compensation for resources obtained from public lands.”
ADDABBO RETURNS PER DIEM PAY: Voicing his own frustration with the dysfunction in Albany, state Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D–Howard Beach) has returned the money he received as per diem pay covering expenses in the state capital while he was there for the special session called by Governor David Paterson during the budget crisis on July 28 and 2. Addabbo was not present the first day but attended the second day.
Addabbo explained that since the governor’s budget bills were not sent to the senate for a vote on either session day, no vote was taken by the senate during their time in Albany on those two days.
“I don’t believe in good conscience that I should take my per diem pay when we did no legislative work in Albany last Thursday. Therefore, I am returning my check,” Addabbo declared.
At the time, neither Assemblymembers nor senators were being paid their salaries since the state budget was deadlocked beginning last April 1. The back pay was due to be paid after the budget was passed, 125 days late.
Addabbo, who’s facing a challenge from Republican Anthony Como of Middle Village in November has received the endorsement of the New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV). In accepting, he described the organization “one of the most influential and effective environmental advocacy groups, not only in New York but the country”.
Addabbo added, “I look forward to working with them on our shared vision of a greener, cleaner New York.”