Breslin And Morse Spar Over Minimum Wage
Deputy Senate Minority Leader Neil Breslin was not at a loss for friends at his news conference reiterating his support for raising the state’s minimum wage.
At the Albany Labor Temple this morning Breslin was flanked by Rep. Paul Tonko and Assemblymen Hakeem Jeffries (who is also a House candidate in Brooklyn), Ron Canestrari and Bob Reilly. His brother, former Albany County Executive Mike Breslin, was in the audience.
“When you look at the minimum wage that exists in New York state, every New Yorker should be totally embarrassed,” Breslin said. “Every New Yorker.”
He urged attendees to “up the tempo” on the minimum wage discussion, which faltered in the Republican-led Senate earlier this year and after Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared it harder to approve than same-sex marriage.
“It’s not a Democrat or Republican issue,” Breslin said. “It’s an issue of economic justice, of social justice and fairness. And if we don’t get it then shame on us.”
That Breslin, along with the rest of the Senate Democratic conference, supports raising the state’s $7.25 minimum wage to $8.50 is no secret. And his Democratic primary opponent, Albany County Board of Legislators Chairman Shawn Morse, does to.
And now both campaigns are trying to point out their guy just wants to raise the minimum wage more than their opponent.
In a statement, Morse’s campaign noted that Democrats didn’t work to raise the minimum wage during their ill-fated two-year stint in the majority from 2008 to 2010 (oddly, this has been something of a Republican talking point whenever Democrats say the GOP should pass specific pieces of legislation, such as independent redistricting).
“If Neil Breslin cared so much about raising the minimum wage, he would have pushed harder to get it done when the Democrats had the majority,” Morse said in a statement. “This is yet another instance where he is quick to hold a press conference about what he supposedly would do, but has a history of being slow to act when it was really needed. Clearly, the minimum wage is long overdue for an increase, but Senator Breslin should explain to the voters why he had time to make Pedro Espada the Majority Leader, time to collect tens of thousands of dollars from insurance companies, time to pocket his salary from a lobbying and law firm without revealing his clients, but no time to give working families the raise they need and deserve.”
Not to be outdone, Mike Murphy, a spokesman for the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, notes that the Democratic-controlled Albany County Legislature (where Morse is chairman) can raise the minimum wage itself, but so far hasn’t.
There are a lot of cross-currents in this primary, making its outcome in doubt.
Morse is aided by the four-member Independent Democratic Conference, which has pumped thousands of dollars into his campaign and he has access to Sen. Jeff Klein’s contributors. But turnout on primary day is almost impossible to predict.
The primary is being held Sept. 13, a Thursday, rather than a Tuesday, which is the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Low turnout generally favors incumbents.
And there are at least three — that’s right three! — Democratic Assembly primaries going on that day as well for the open Capital Region seats.
In addition to today’s event, Breslin’s campaign has some new mail that’s going out. Here it is:
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on August 17, 2012 at 2:17 pm, and is filed under Albany, Democrats, State Senate. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|