2018-08-01 / Political Page

I On Politics

GIANARIS: SENATE GOP ALLOWED EXPIRATION OF SCHOOL SPEED CAMS: NYS Senator Michael Gianaris issued the following statement about the expiration of school zone speed cameras.

“Today is a sad day for New York: rather than do their jobs, Senate Republicans continue to play politics with our children’s safety by allowing the school zone speed camera program to lapse. As these cameras go dark, families will wonder if their children will be the next victims of reckless drivers. This failed leadership shows why a Democratic majority is more necessary than ever.”

MENG’S AMENDMENTS REVIEW FEMA’S DISASTER RESPONSE IN PR; HELP SEPARATED FAMILIES: Congress Member Grace Meng (D-NY), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, secured three key amendments in the Homeland Security Appropriations bill that would require a review of the federal response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and help those who have been detained and separated from their families after crossing the US-Mexico border. The bill now heads to the House floor.

Meng’s amendment regarding Puerto Rico would require the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general to issue a report on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) response to Hurricane Maria which struck the island last September. The report would specifically require an assessment of how FEMA could improve its response to appeals for housing aid.

“The response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria was slow and wholly inadequate, and 10 months after Puerto Rico was devastated by the storm, our fellow Americans on the island continue to struggle with rebuilding,” said Meng who traveled to Puerto Rico with Congress Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) earlier this year to assess recovery efforts. “There were many mistakes and failures with the agency’s performance— from disbursing aid to addressing appeals for housing assistance— and these problems must not repeated for future disasters.”

“When Congresswoman Meng and I visited Puerto Rico in January, we witnessed firsthand the destruction and the inadequate conditions residents were forced to endure: homes with without power or clean water, and communities with damaged hospitals and destroyed schools,” said Congress Member DeLauro, a cosponsor of Meng’s amendment.

Another one of Meng’s amendments would require all Department of Homeland Security forms that detained individuals must sign to be printed fully in Spanish and English. These include forms used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Meng’s final amendment would allow detained parents who have been separated from their children to make free phone calls to their children. The measure would also allow these parents to confer with counsel over the phone at no cost as well.

“It is unconscionable that parents who had their kids ripped away from them at the border remain separated from their children,” said Meng. Meng traveled to the border near McAllen and Brownsville, Texas last month where she saw detained children and spoke with parents who have been separated from their kids. She visited the Port Isabel ICE Detention Center and toured the McAllen Border Patrol Station and Centralized Processing Center.

While Meng was pleased that her amendments were added to the bill, she criticized the inclusion of $5 billion for the president’s border wall.

“Spending billions of dollars on a senseless border wall is outrageous,” said Meng. “It will not make our nation safer and it’s a huge waste of taxpayer money that can instead be used for more worthwhile programs such as those which help children and the elderly or initiatives that create jobs and strengthen our economy.”

The Homeland Security Appropriations bill provides funding for the Department of Homeland Security for fiscal year 2019 which begins in October.

CUOMO ON FEDERAL JUDGE’S ORDER TO RELEASE PABLO VILLAVICENCIO: Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “The order to release Pablo Villavicencio from federal detention is a victory for New Yorkers and for basic human rights—but it shouldn’t be. Mr. Villavicencio was held for 53 days, and that is 53 days too long. This never should have happened. There was absolutely no legitimate reason to lock up Mr. Villavicencio and take him from his wife and children, and I am relieved that he will finally be reunited with his family.

“While the federal government continues its un-American assault on immigrants, New York will stand with our immigrant communities and strive to uphold the values embodied by the lady in our harbor. As the presiding judge said today, ‘the powerful are doing what they want, the poor are suffering what they must.’ Not anymore.”

MALONEY ON RELEASED EMAILS IN CENSUS CITIZENSHIP QUESTION CASE: Following the release of emails related to Secretary Wilbur Ross’ decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, Congress Member Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), co-chair of the House Census Caucus, released the following statement:

“These just-released emails between Secretary Ross and his staff make it clear that voting rights enforcement was nothing more than a manufactured ruse to justify adding a citizenship question and that the secretary lied to Congress when he said it was DOJ that ‘initiated the request.’ The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee needs to hold hearings and conduct an investigation into this matter to determine what else the administration has tried to hide about the 2020 Census.”

SPEAKER JOHNSON: DAILY NEWS LAYOFFS A HUGE LOSS: Statement By New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson released a statement regarding the New York Daily News layoffs: “The New York Daily News’ latest round of layoffs is a huge loss to New York City. It has a special place in my heart—and the hearts of my council colleagues—because it shines a light on city government in a way that appeals to all New Yorkers, including those who are impacted by our policies but often shut out of power. The Daily News is the paper of record for the working woman and man. The free press holds politicians and corporate leaders in power accountable, and today is a sad day for transparency and responsibility.

“I am devastated by this news, and my heart is with every hardworking staff member of the Daily News who lost their job today, including their City Hall reporter, Erin Durkin. The city will not be the same without her coverage of the City Council. This is a huge loss for local journalism and this city. I am also thinking of those who remain at the Daily News and will continue to try and hold truth to power but with significantly less resources.

“The Daily News produces some of the best journalists in the business, and I look forward to seeing these editors and reporters who lost their jobs take their talents to outlets fortunate to have them.”

FIRST-EVER FAITH & POLITICS INSTITUTE CONGRESSIONAL PILGRIMAGE: A bipartisan group explores confluence of abolition and women’s suffrage movements. Congress Members Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) and Tom Reed (R-NY) joined the Faith and Politics Institute (FPI) to host a first-ever pilgrimage exploring the confluence of two significant freedom movements with deep roots in New York State: the abolition movement and women’s suffrage. The 2018 American Experience Pilgrimage took place July 20 through July 22, with the group visiting Auburn, Peterboro, Seneca Falls, Canandaigua and Rochester.

“I am so glad that FPI took my suggestion of a western New York trip and made it a reality. There is so much history in this region and so many great figures who not only called western New York home, but used it as their home base in the fight to end slavery and the fight for women’s right to vote,” said Rep. Maloney. “The trajectories of the anti-slavery and pro-suffrage movements diverged at times, but there were so many important ways in which these leaders found common ground and common purpose toward equality. We need more of that today. I am proud to have worked with Rep. Reed and FPI to host this historic trip and am energized to take the lessons we learned this weekend back to Washington.”

“This weekend allowed me to reflect, grow and take into account our history while simultaneously encouraging me to think about bipartisan ways to make a true difference for the people in New York and our nation as a whole,” said Rep. Reed. “I would like to thank Rep. Maloney for joining me on this trip and FPI for coordinating this journey.”

“The Faith & Politics Institute’s pilgrimages bring members of Congress together outside of Washington, bridging divides of party affiliation, race, region and religion,” said Joan Mooney, president & CEO of the Faith & Politics Institute. “Thank you to Reps. Maloney and Reed for leading our first-ever pilgrimage to western New York to reflect on our country’s defining social reform movements and explore how lessons learned over 150 years ago are still relevant today.”

In Auburn and Peterboro on July 20, the group visited the National Abolition Hall of Fame, the Gerrit Smith Estate and the Harriet Tubman Estate and Seward House. In Seneca Falls and Canandaigua on July 21, the group toured the Women’s Rights National Historical Park on the anniversary of the first Women’s Rights Convention held in Seneca Falls in 1848. And in Rochester on July 22, participants visited the Susan B. Anthony Museum Carriage House and participated in a wreath-laying ceremony honoring Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony.

PERALTA ENDORSED BY UNIONS: NYS Senator Jose Peralta announced he has received the endorsements of IBEW Local 3, and UNITEHERE! Local 100, among numerous other important endorsements.

“In view of Senator Jose Peralta’s commitment to working families and strong support for labor, we believe that he has demonstrated the values that make him a candidate we in the trade union movement need in government,” said John E. Marchell, president, Local Union No. 3, IBEW.

Senator Peralta said, “I am honored to receive the endorsement from some of New York’s most hard-working and committed laborers, IBEW Local 3! I am very proud to have gained their support in my fight for reelection. Representing over 20,000 electrical workers in New York City, IBEW Local 3 has continuously worked to protect their members to ensure fair treatment in the workplace.

“I will continue my efforts to advance legislation that benefits all laborers. New York needs people like the members of IBEW Local 3 who are committed to their jobs, so I strongly believe that it is time we properly pay them back for all they do! I will defend their benefits, fight for good pay, and ensure they have the necessary equipment and safety standards needed to do their job effectively.”

Regarding the endorsement by UNITEHERE! Local 100, Peralta said, “I want to give a very special thank you to UNITEHERE! Local 100 for endorsing my reelection campaign. Their 10,000 members are the backbone of New York City’s economic strength and it is unfortunate that many un- knowingly take these folks for granted.”

The union’s members work predominantly in the hotel, food service, laundry, warehouse, and casino gaming industries.

“Senator Peralta has proven through the legislation he has championed and the times when he has stood by our members that he will fight for workers through his words and actions,” said UNITEHERE! Local 100 Secretary Treasurer Jose Maldonado.

“My efforts in Albany have all been to change that—raising the minimum wage, introducing paid family leave, and creating legislation to support women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and affordable housing. There is much more to be done in supporting these workers and their families. I look forward to seeing where our ongoing fight in New York takes us.”

For more information, visit peralta4queens.com.


Member Carolyn Maloney endorsed on July 26 Democratic State Senate candidate for District 13 Jessica Ramos against and incumbent and former Independent Democratic Conference member Jose Peralta. After backing Peralta in 2010, Maloney is vocally supporting Ramos this year, citing Ramos’ support for reproductive rights, affordable housing and fully funded schools.

“As Trump packs the Supreme Court with radical conservatives, we need progressive leaders in Albany now more than ever to protect labor, LGBTQ, and reproductive rights. Jessica Ramos is a public school parent, a pro-choice champion, and a strong labor advocate—and she will fight tirelessly for working families in Albany. I know Jessica will stay true to her progressive values and that she will never turn her back on the Democratic Party, that is why I’m proud to endorse Jessica Ramos for State Senate,” said Congress Member Maloney.

“As a leader on women’s issues and advocate for DREAMers, Congresswoman Maloney knows that the people of NY-13 need someone who will fight for them in Albany, not someone who will empower Republicans— and I’m thrilled to have her support,” said Ramos. “For years, Jose Peralta empowered Republicans in the State Senate... I’m going to Albany to fix our subways, protect affordable housing, and fully fund our public schools—and I look forward to partnering with Congresswoman Maloney to fight for working families across this city.”

Jessica Ramos is a Queens native, grassroots activist, and mother of two. A strong labor advocate with deep experience championing union rights, Ramos worked with Build Up NYC to fight for construction, hotel, and maintenance workers in New York City. Ramos has also worked with Social Service Employees Union Local 371 of AFSCME District Council 37 and 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union. Ramos was a member of Queens Community Board 3 and served as a Democratic District Leader from 2010 to 2014. Most recently, Ramos served as director of Latino Media for Mayor Bill de Blasio. Ramos lives in Jackson Heights with her husband and two young sons. Ramos does not have a driver’s license—she rides the subway every day.

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