2016-07-27 / Political Page

Clinton Makes History: First Woman To Accept Democratic Presidential Nomination

At a momentous occasion, Hillary Clinton will make history tomorrow night when she steps up to the microphone at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, and becomes the first woman ever to say:

“I humbly declare that I accept the honor of becoming the Democratic Party’s candidate for the presidency of the United States of America.”

That simple declaration will be the first time in this nation’s history that a woman, not a man, will have the opportunity to break through into the exclusive domain held by men to run for and possibly win the job of running our nation’s affairs, both domestic and foreign, in this nation’s 240 years of existence.

Clinton’s historic action will set off a monumental reaction from the 60,000 or so men and women delegates gathered to select the party’s presidential candidate for November’s election. Traditionally, delegates engage in a wild scene when a candidate accepts the nomination – dancing around, banging on pots and pans, singing and dancing to show their joy. In this case, they’ll have to settle down and listen to Clinton’s acceptance speech.


Hillary Clinton speaking at an event in Des Moines, Iowa. 
Photo Gage Skidmore Hillary Clinton speaking at an event in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo Gage Skidmore As the Democratic candidate, Clinton and her vice president choice, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, of Virginia, will be opposed by Donald Trump and Vice President choice, U.S. Senator Mike Pence, of Indiana.

Getting back to Hillary Clinton, she waged two primary campaigns against Barack Obama, both won by Obama. After that he appointed her as the Secretary of State. Previous to the Obama campaigns, Hillary Clinton was the U.S. Senator from New York State. The wife of former President Bill Clinton, she served as First Lady during the former President’s two terms in office.

UNEXPECTED EXCITEMENT AS DEM CONVENTION STARTS: Last Sunday, on the eve of the Democratic National Convention which was set to start last Monday, there was sudden news of the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz as Democratic National Committee Chair. The reason given was “email problems.” Wasserman Schultz, a House of Representatives member from Florida, was missed from the convention at a key time.

V.P. KAINE EARLY SPEAKER: Clinton’s choice for running mate, Senator Tim Kaine (Virginia) spoke at the opening session on Monday night and made a good impression. He took aim at Donald Trump and drew good applause from the delegates. Kaine, a former governor, is expected to have a major role in the campaign. Former President Bill Clinton spoke on Tuesday evening and, as always, his performance was very effective.

Other speakers scheduled were President and Mrs. Obama, NY Governor Cuomo, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, US Senators Chuck Schumer, Bernie Sanders, and Gillibrand.

QUEENS CONTINGENT AT CONVENTION: Congressman Joe Crowley is leading a goodly number of Queens pols who are delegates at the convention. They include: Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, state Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblymembers David Werpin and Francisco Moya, and City Councilmembers Paul Vallone, Karen Koslowitz, Elizabeth Crowley, and Julissa Ferreras Copeland. Also District Leader Anna Marie Anzalone, Leroy Comrie, and Dirk McCall, from Maloney’s district.

Maloney is also co-sponsoring a contest to decide which is tastiest – New York cheesecake or Philadelphia cheesesteak. Just a little levity to relieve the tension.

CROWLEY, SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND HAIL OK FOR BILL HONORING LGBT ACTIVISTS: NY US Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Joe Crowley announced that the legislation to rename the Jackson Heights Post Office, located at 78-02 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights as the “Jeanne and Jules Manford Post Office” has passed in both the Senate and the House of Representatives unanimously last month.

With passage secured in both chambers of Congress, the bill now heads to the President’s desk for his signature. With this final signature, the post office would be renamed in honor of Jeanne and Jules Manford.

“Through their groundbreaking advocacy, Jeanne and Jules Manford were committed to the all-American value of equality,” said Schumer. “Time and again, Jeanne and Jules Manford proved not only their love and acceptance toward their openly gay son, Morty, but also as leaders of the LGBT community in New York and across the country. I am proud to have sponsored legislation that will rename the Jackson Heights Post Office in honor of these Queens natives, and look forward to President Obama signing it into law, as it is a truly fitting tribute to the Manfords’ legacy of work.”

“Jeanne and Jules showed how love and passion can move us to make a positive change in our community,” said Gillibrand. “Their advocacy is deeply ingrained in the LGBT movement here in New York, and around the country – from their unmatched love for their son, to the Queens Pride Parade marches every year on 37th Avenue, to their founding of an organization that for the last 44 years has fought for LGBT equality. This designation would be a fitting tribute to honor their courage in their decades-long fight for the LGBT community. I am pleased that this legislation has passed Congress and look forward to the President signing it into law.”

“In standing beside their son, Morty, after he was targeted for his sexual identity, Jeanne and Jules Manford helped ignite a sea of change in the hearts and minds of the people of Queens, New York City, and across the country,” said Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx). “Now, our effort to honor their legacy of love and courage is on its way to the President’s desk and on the verge of becoming a reality. The Jackson Heights Post Office, an important stop along the route of the Queens Pride Parade, will soon bear Jeanne and Jules’ names and I thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and my colleagues in the House for their roles in honoring the Manfords, their work to advance LGBT rights, and the incredible impact it has had on the people of Queens.”

“A Post Office renaming might seem routine for some, but every June when the Queens Pride Parade passes in front of this Post Office, all can remember that their voice can change the world, as did Jeanne and Jules as allies to the LGBTQ community,” said Jody Huckaby, Executive Director, PFLAG National.

Jeanne Manford, a Queens native, publicly denounced the beating of her openly gay son, Morty Manford, for protesting news coverage of the gay rights movement in 1972. Later that year, Jeanne and her husband, Jules, founded the Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, an organization that advocates on behalf of the LGBT community.

Jeanne Manford was the first Grand Marshal of the Queens Pride Parade, which passes in front of the Jackson Heights Post Office. After her passing in 2013, President Obama posthumously awarded her the Presidential Citizens Medal, one of the highest honors an American civilian can receive, for her advocacy work. Jules Manford had passed away in 1982.

Jeanne and Jules Manford are survived by their daughter, Suzanne Manford Swan.

ADDABBO BILL BOOSTS MENTAL HEALTH ED: Legislation (S.6046/A.3887), approved by both the Senate and Assembly before the end of the 2016 session, would update New York law to ensure that mental health education is always an integral part of school health classes offered to students throughout the state, according to Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr.

Addabbo (D–Howard Beach), a co-sponsor of the bill and longtime member of the Senate Education Committee, noted that it has been four decades since New York’s education laws began to call for health education instruction in schools.

“This legislation will help to codify existing law to underscore that instruction in mental health is integral to providing students with the comprehensive information they need to live happily and safely while avoiding high-risk behaviors,” said Addabbo. “It’s vital that our young people be taught that physical and mental health are deeply connected. Ensuring an emphasis on mental health instruction may help students recognize, in themselves and others, symptoms of depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and provide more avenues for effective intervention.”

Addabbo noted that school health classes focus on a variety of issues ranging from nutritional instruction, to sexual education, to lessons based on the dangers inherent in drug and alcohol use and abuse.

“This legislation won’t change school curricula, but it will underscore that our young people need to know that physical and mental health are not mutually exclusive,” he said. “A broader and deeper understanding of these issues may also help to reduce the stigma often associated with mental health disorders and encourage our young people to seek help when they need it.”

The legislation passed both the Senate and Assembly in mid-June and must now be sent to Governor Cuomo to be signed into law or disapproved.

MENG STATEMENT ON SUBPOENA ISSUED TO NYS AG: U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D–Queens) issued on July 15 the following statement on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee issuing a subpoena to New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman regarding his inquiry into Exxon Mobile it reads:

“The actions by Republicans on the Science, Space and Technology Committee are ludicrous and nothing but pure politics. GOP members of the panel who are pushing this probe forward should back off, and stop their questionable and inappropriate meddling in the official work of the New York State Attorney General. Eric Schneiderman is a tireless public servant who does an outstanding job fighting for New Yorkers, and I will continue to stand by him if this meritless inquiry continues.”

STAVISKY ACCUMULATES MORE THAN $150,000 IN CAMPAIGN FUNDS: State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D–Flushing) accumulated $155,811.31 in on-hand campaign funds as of July 15, after months of fundraising.

This is the fifth year in a row the senator has been faced with a primary. Over those years, she has raised more than $1.3 million from supporters.

“I appreciate every donation I receive, down to the last dollar,” Stavisky said. “This is hard-earned money people are donating, to show they believe in me and my campaign enough to invest in me. I do not take that lightly. The generosity people have shown me over the years is flattering and reassuring. I hope in future campaigns, we will see stronger campaign finance reforms in place to make sure donor dollars are being used the way they were intended to be used.”

KIM’S STATEMENT ON CUOMO’S EXPLOITATION TASK FORCE: Assemblyman Ron Kim (D–Flushing) issued the following statement:

“I have always strongly condemned the exploitation of workers in New York, and Governor Cuomo’s efforts to expand the Task Force’s investigations across many different industries is a step in the right direction. However, the need for greater transparency in the state’s inspections and enforcement process remains. There is still a clear perception among many New Yorkers, strongly supported by circumstantial and anecdotal evidence, that the Task Force’s past actions selectively targeted minority, immigrant, family-owned businesses. Legislation that I have introduced, the Transparency in Enforcement Act (A9070), would go a long way towards dispelling this notion by requiring state agencies to release comprehensive, disaggregated data for all owners inspected.”

CUOMO SIGNS BILL TO EXEMPT SALES USE TAXES ON FEMININE HYGIENE PRODUCTS: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has signed legislation that eliminates sales taxes on feminine hygiene products. The bill (A.7555-A/8.7838), exempts these products from local and state sales tax Cuomo stated.

“This is a regressive tax on essential products that women have had to pay for far too long, and lifting it is a matter of social and economic justice,” Cuomo said. “I commend Assemblywoman Rosenthal and Senator Serino on their strong advocacy and for hard work in passing this important legislation.”

Feminine hygiene products have been taxable since the state sales tax was first instituted in 1965, even as a wide variety of other goods, such as food and family planning products, have been exempt. New York is one of the first states to join the movement to exempt feminine hygiene products from sales tax, which is expected to save women purchasing tampons, and other similar products, an estimated $10 million a year.

Senator Sue Serino said, “With the signing of this bill today, we are taking a monumental step forward in reforming our out-of-touch tax laws and we are sending a strong message to New York’s women that they are being heard. This day is long overdue and I commend Governor Cuomo, as well as my colleagues in the Senate, for helping to finally make this tax a thing of the past. It is my hope that we can continue down the path of applying common sense to our tax laws as we work to make our state more affordable for all New Yorkers.”

Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal said, “I am proud that my bill exempting feminine hygiene products from state and local sales taxes has been signed into law by the Governor. The signing of this bill into law represents a new dawn. Women statewide will no longer be burdened by a lingering tax that was levied at a time when women were not part of government and the decision-making process. The tampon tax is regressive, and lifting it will spare all women the extra monthly burden of paying taxes on products that are already unaffordable to many.”

NEW SPECIAL MASTER OF SEPTEMBER 11 VICTIM COMPENSATION FUND: Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D–NY), Jerrold Nadler (D–NY), and Peter King (R–NY), co-authors of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, issued the following joint statement regarding the stepping down of Sheila Birnbaum as the Special Master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) and the appointment of Rupa Bhattacharyya as the new Special Master. They stated:

“We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Ms. Sheila Birnbaum, who is stepping down as Special Master, for her service to her country and to the responders and survivors of 9/11. She faced enormous challenges in implementing the law, restarting the fund, and making sure families’ claims were processed and ultimately paid. She oversaw the distribution of approximately $1.8 billion to more than 9,000 claimants. She has touched the lives of thousands of Americans and helped ensure the government lived up to its responsibilities to care for those suffering from the 9/11 attacks against our nation. We thank her for her dedication and for her service.

“As we approach the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, we welcome Ms. Rupa Bhattacharyya to her new position as Special Master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) and look forward to meeting with her soon and working with her to ensure that the remaining sick and injured 9/11 responders, survivors, and their families whose claims have not yet been finalized receive the financial compensation they need and deserve.

“When we passed the reauthorization of the James Zadroga Act late last year, we wisely did away with the pro-rata requirement that had delayed help to so many people for so long. As we move forward, we will continue to work with the Justice Department and the VCF to look for ways to innovate and improve the VCF to ensure that we process the remaining claims quickly and that we provide the proper financial assistance to the injured 9/11 responders, survivors, and their families. We have made tremendous progress in our fight for health care and financial assistance for those injured by the attacks and their aftermath, but our work is not over. Many of the remaining claimants, whose cases are especially complex, have been waiting for years for assistance. Once again, we look forward to working with Ms. Bhattacharyya to meet their needs as we continue the critical work of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund.”

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