2018-08-22 / Political Page

I On Politics

MENG PROPOSES AMENDMENT TO LOWER VOTING AGE TO 16: Congress Member Grace Meng (D-NY) announced on August 15 that she has introduced legislation in the House of Representatives that would lower the voting age in America to 16 years old.

Meng’s measure (H.J. Res. 138) seeks to replace the 26th amendment to the United States Constitution with a new amendment that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote. The last time the voting age was changed was when it was lowered from 21 to 18 in 1971.

“I am a firm believer that we should empower our young people and that includes extending the right to vote for 16- and 17-year-olds,” said Meng. “Voting is a serious responsibility. But I believe that our youth are mature enough at these ages to responsibly cast a ballot. Over the past year, we have seen a huge wave of inspirational and passionate activism by students from all across the country. Students are demanding change on issues such as gun safety, climate change, and health care. They deserve to have their voices heard at the ballot box, and to have a say in the change for which they’re vigorously advocating. It’s clear to me that they should be allowed to vote.”

“16- and 17-year-olds are legally permitted to work and they pay federal income tax on their earnings,”

Meng added. “They are legally permitted to drive motor vehicles, and if they commit crimes they are tried as adults. I think it is only fair to allow them the right to vote as well.”

Meng noted that cities in 13 states and the District of Columbia have the legal ability to lower the voting age for local elections through charter amendments, and several have already done so. In Takoma Park, Maryland—the first city in America to lower the voting age for local elections to 16— and in Hyattsville, Maryland, 16- and 17-year-olds are voting at rates that nearly quadruple those of older voters. Internationally, at least 20 countries allow citizens under the age of 18 to vote, and 16- year-olds in the recent Scotland elections had a 75 percent turnout rate—a rate higher than voters three times their age.

Constitutional amendments require passage by two-thirds of the House and Senate, and ratification by three-fourths of the nation’s state legislatures. If enacted, the voting age would be lowered for federal, state and local elections.

Meng’s legislation has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee, where it is awaiting further action.

BAY TERRACE CIVIC’S MEET THE CANDIDATES NIGHT FORUM: The Bay Terrace Community Alliance is presenting their Meet The Candidates Night Forum at the Bay Terrace Garden Jewish Center, 13-00 209th Street, in Bay Terrace, on Wednesday, August 29, 7 pm. All qualified candidates for the following offices have been invited: governor, lt. governor, attorney general, state comptroller, US Senate, US Congress member (3rd CD), State Senate (11th SD), State Assembly (26th AD). The following candidates have been confirmed: Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro (R) candidate for governor; former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner (Serve America Movement) candidate for governor; Council Member Jumanee Williams (D) lt. gov candidate; NYC Public Advocate Tish James (D) candidate for attorney general; Leecia Eve (D) candidate for attorney general; Congress Member Tom Suozzi (D) candidate for US Congress (3rd CD); Dan DeBono (R) candidate for US Congress (3rd CD) State Senator Tony Avella (D) candidate for State Senate (11th SD); former Comptroller John Liu (D) candidate for State Senate (11th SD); Simon Minching (R) candidate for State Senate (11th SD); Vickie Paladino (R) candidate for State Senate (11th SD); Assembly Member Ed Braunstein (D) candidate for State Assembly (26th AD); David Bressler (R) candidate for State Assembly (26th AD). This event is free, accessible and open to the public.

CRUZ ENDORSED BY COUNCIL MEMBER RICHARDS: Catalina Cruz, Democrat for State Assembly (39th District), received the key endorsement of NYC Council Member Donovan Richards (D-Queens) for her grassroots campaign. Richards, the chair of the City Council Public Safety Committee, worked with Cruz while she was an attorney at the City Council. Like Cruz, Richards ran his own insurgent, progressive campaign for office in Queens, when he was first elected in 2013.

“I am endorsing Catalina Cruz because we need new leadership in Queens. Catalina is a proven leader for the community who has delivered results for tenants, immigrants, and workers,” said Council Member Richards. “She will fight hard in Albany to finally bring home the resources her community needs and deserves. Catalina will be a powerful and welcome addition to the State Assembly.”

“It is an honor to receive the endorsement of City Council Member Donovan Richards. He has been an aggressive fighter for Queens and he has had the courage to stand up for what is right, regardless of the establishment opposition,” said Cruz. “We both understand that only people-powered campaigns can defeat corporate money and special interests. If we truly want to fix the MTA, keep New York affordable, and improve education, we need to build change from the bottom up. I aspire to work as independently and successfully as Council Member Richards has, once I.m elected.”

Council Member Richards joins a growing list of supporters for Cruz.s campaign. She has earned the endorsements of Congress Member Luis Gutierrez, Council Members Daniel Dromm, Margaret Chin, Jimmy Van Bramer, Carlos Menchaca, Helen Rosenthal, Mark Levine, former Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and former Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, and numerous organizations. Cruz is an experienced attorney and a leader for immigration reform and workers’ rights. She most recently served as the chief of staff for the City Council finance chair. Cruz’s campaign highlights her work to help pass key legislation protecting workers, women, and business owners. She has previously served as the director of the governor .s Exploited Workers Task Force. She began her career as a housing attorney and currently serves as the president of the Latino Lawyers Association of Queens County.

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