Oct 20th - 4:27 pm
Here’s a roundup of reaction from New York’s two senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and U.S. Rep. Peter King, the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee to the death of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
There’s no mention of politics (i.e. the merits of the U.S. strategy of “leading from behind” in the effort to oust the longtime ruler) but a general sense that the death of the man who helped fund the deadly Pan Am bombing in 1988 is a good thing.
“New Yorkers know better than almost anyone else how evil a man Moammar Gadhafi was. Hopefully his death will bring some degree of closure to the many families who lost loved ones on Pam Am Flight 103. The world is a better and safer place without him.”
“Qaddafi was a brutal dictator who killed 189 Americans and his own people. His death will allow the people of Libya to unify and write the next chapter of Libya’s history. As the new Libyan government moves forward on the path toward democracy, they must hold all those responsible for terrorist acts under Qaddafi’s brutal reign accountable. The Transitional National Council must get all the information we can learn about the Lockerbie bombing and put Al-Megrahi back in prison where he belongs.”
“This is a great victory for the people of Libya and the world. Gadhafi obviously was a mass murderer and a reckless dictator. With him gone, it certainly gives an opportunity to stabilize the Middle East but, the United States must do all that it can to ensure that the radicals do not hijack the Libyan revolution.”
Sep 28th - 11:11 am
Sen. Chuck Schumer is urging supporters to sign a petition supporting the so-called “Buffett Rule” proposed by President Obama, which is aimed at increasing taxes on the mega-rich.
Schumer, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, writes that “we could have a game-changer” in the tax debate.
There’s not a doubt in my mind: We could have a game-changer in the tax debate. Last week, President Obama stepped up to propose the so-called Buffett rule, which would close some of our deficit with new revenue from those making over $1 million a year, rather than relying simply on cuts to middle-class programs. Contrast that with the Republicans trying to leverage the deficit debate to cut Social Security and end Medicare as we know it. That contrast will make the Republican position almost indefensible with voters. And all the signs point to the president getting ready to go all in on this. But to make the gambit work, we need every Democrat behind him.
Still, given the lack of support for the tax plan in Republican-led House and even among Schumer’s Democratic majority in the Senate, the passage of the tax is doubtful.
Sep 14th - 12:14 pm
After canceling his own conference call (on getting federal disaster aid for flood-ravaged NY farmers), Sen. Chuck Schumer teamed up with DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to push back against the GOP spin that Congressman-elect Bob Turner’s upset win in NY-9 spells bad news at the national level for Democrats, and President Obama in particular.
Schumer, who represented NY-9 for 18 years, insisted the district is about 75 percent the same today, geographically speaking, as it was when he was in office, but drastically different when it comes to demographics. There are more Orthodox Jews, he said, and also more immigrants, making the district skew even more conservative than it had been back in his day.
The senior senator said it would be a “big mistake” for anyone to try to extrapolate between what happened in NY-9 last night and what might happen in New York – or, for that matter, the nation – in 2012. He noted that when he last ran statewide (in 2010), his two worst-performing Assembly districts in New York City (where he received just over 50 percent of the vote) were in NY-9.
“It’s not a bellwether district, and trying to read what any specific group or any specific person did does not make sense,” Schumer stressed.
Schumer said he believes Obama will not only carry NY-9 in 2012, but “do well” there, particularly as he shifts the focus to jobs and the economy. Wasserman-Schultz said that anyone looking for predictions in next year’s presidential election should look at Obama’s standing in battleground states, where his numbers remain respectable.
The DNC chair insisted NY-9 became vacant “in what can be called unusual circumstances,” and can’t be considered indicative of anything in particular. As for NV-02, where the Republican won an open House seat, she said the Democrats had expected to lose that race and “didn’t really play” there as a result.
Wasserman-Schultz, a Florida Jew, also predicted Obama – and the Democrats in general – “have consistently received the Jewish vote and will again” due to the president’s “strong record” on Israel and other issues Jewish voters care about.
Apparently, she hasn’t spoken with former NYC Mayor Ed Koch lately.
UPDATE: There’s a recording of the entire conference call after the jump.
Sep 12th - 2:49 pm
Sen. Chuck Schumer is touring upstate flood damage today. This video is from his stop earlier today in Amsterdam. He’s in Binghamton, where some 1,000 people are still in shelters, this afternoon.
It’s a long clip, but at about the 2:30-minute mark, Schumer, who known for his ability and willingness to speak on any subject at any time, anywhere, is interrupted by a passing train.
He even manages to turn that into a positive, saying it’s proof that things are returning to normal, adding: “That’s a good sign…We’ll take the noise with the trains rather than no noise and no trains.”
The senator says he believes FEMA is going to move quickly to get a disaster declaration for impacted counties and help people get recovery assistance in the Mohawk Valley, and insisted he’s “very optimistic” that will happen.
“I was just on the phone right here with Administrator Fugate. The good news is that FEMA is a good agency. They don’t look to dot the i’s and cross the t’s and find 12 reasons why you shouldn’t get assistance. They’re very, very cooperative, and they are flexible…We are going to need lots of help from FEMA.”
Schumer said he thinks it’s “totally unfair” to ask local taxpayers to pick up all the recovery costs. Tomorrow, he said, the Democrats will put up a proposal to replenish FEMA’s funding, and those Republicans who had opposed that “seemed to be backing off…my view is that once the Senate does it, the House will do it as well.”
Sep 7th - 12:37 pm
This is a little bit of a dog-bites-man post. CapTon viewers may recall the Getaway Friday show we did from Port Henry, NY in which we highlighted the state’s troubled infrastructure – and bridges in particular.
According to Sen. Chuck Schumer, New York now has 2,108 structurally deficient bridges. Federal funding for surface highwayconstruction projects will expire on Sept. 20 unless Congress passes legislation to authorize continued funding for key infrastructure projects.
Based on US DOT data, New York stands to lose about $3.3 million unless Congress acts, Schumer said. Needless to say, he’s pushing for that not to occur.
The backdrop for that show was the Crown Point Bridge (or Lake Champlain Bridge, if you prefer), which was closed and demolished back in 2009 due to safety concerns and has yet to reopen.
New York has more than 17,000 highway bridges, about 44 percent of which are owned and maintained by the state DOT, 50 percent by localities and the rest by state and local authorities (Thruway etc).
Tropical storm Irene brought renewed focus to the woeful state of NY’s various spans, but we’ve known for some time now that a fairly high number of them are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.
According to the DOT, a “structurally deficient” bridge, when left open to traffic, typically requires significant maintenance and repair to remain in service and eventual rehabilitation or replacement to address deficiencies. In order to remain in service, structurally deficient bridges are often posted with weight limits.
Also from DOT: “Functionally obsolete” refers to a bridge’s inability to meet current standards for managing the volume of traffic it carries, not its structural integrity. For example, a bridge may be functionally obsolete if it has narrow lanes, no shoulders, or low clearances
Aug 16th - 1:38 pm
Two Democratic special election hopefuls – congressional candidate David Weprin and Assembly contender Phil Goldfeder – are touting their endorsements by Sen. Chuck Schumer today, hoping the powerful senior senator’s name recognition and popularity helps carry them to victory on Sept. 13.
In his statement in support of Weprin, Schumer hewed to what has become the campaign’s standard line of attack (without naming names, in this case) against his GOP opponent, Bob Turner, saying Weprin is “the only candidate” who will stand up for the middle class and protect entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security against “extreme right-wing Republican policies.”
Schumer is likely to make an in-person appearance on Weprin’s behalf as the election draws closer. He discussed his support of Weprin today with YNN’s Bill Carey during a stop in Syracuse. (We’ll be bringing you that video in a moment).
The senator did appear for Goldfeder at a press conference in Lindenwood yesterday. This makes sense, since Goldfeder was, until this campaign began, the senator’s director of intergovernmental affairs.
“I’ve seen Phil in action. He’s a hard worker, a fighter and he has a deep passion for public service,” Schumer said.
“Phil will take that energy to the state Assembly and he won’t rest until he tackles the number one issue on everyone’s mind – which is jobs, jobs, jobs.”
Goldfeder is running for the seat vacated by former Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, who gave up her seat to become Queens County clerk.
Weprin, who essentially traded his old NYC Council seat for the Assembly seat that belonged to his brother, Mark, after losing a 2009 NYC comptroller bid, is running for the seat of disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner.
A recent Siena poll found Schumer, who held a version of NY-9 prior to the last round of redistricting, has a high favorability rating in the district (over 60 percent), and his endorsement is likely to hold some weight there.
Trouble is, the same goes for former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, who is backing Turner. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has not yet formally endorsed Weprin, but has said he’ll do whatever he can to be helpful, is also very popular in NY-9.
Theoretically, Schumer also might help move Jewish voters. Both Goldfeder and Weprin, who, according to Siena, was leading among Jews, are observant.
Turner has not ceded the Jewish vote, however. He spent last weekend campaigning in the Catskills in hopes of swaying Orthodox Jews vacationing upstate.
Aug 12th - 7:48 am
Bad new for President Obama from the Q poll this morning on the heels of his quickie fundraising trip to the Big Apple last night.
For the first time, Obama’s negatives outweigh his positives – 49-45 – when it comes to job approval in this Democrat-dominated, and supposedly safe blue, state. (Remember: No Republican presidential candidate has carried NY since Ronald Reagan).
Obama’s numbers have tanked here since June, dropping from 57-38. The main problem: He has lost ground among independents, who approved of him – but only just barely – 49-45 in June, and now disapprove, 58-36.
“The debt ceiling hullaballoo devastated President Barack Obama’s numbers even in true blue New York,” said Q pollster Mickey Carroll.
“He just misses that magic 50 percent mark against a no-name Republican challenger.”
New York voters are split 48-46 over whether Obama deserves reelection, but say 49-34 that they would choose him over an unnamed Republican challenger next fall.
The debt debate took its toll on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s numbers, too. She gets a 49-27 percent approval rating, down from her all-time high of 54-22 in June.
Sen. Chuck Schumer is also down to 56-32 from 64-24, but at least he’s numbers are still in the black, so to speak.
Aug 8th - 3:33 pm
New Yorkers are continuing to offer up rememberances of the late Gov. Hugh Carey, who passed away over the weekend at the age of 92, recalling him as a witty and often tenacious leader who was quick to forge alliances across party lines and is credited with saving NYC from fiscal calamity in the 1970s.
Rep. Paul Tonko, a Captial Region Democrat who was in county government when Carey lived on Eagle Street, said Carey’s “calm and steady hand at the mantle of leadership will always be his legacy,” saying that “legacy should speak to us today.”
Schumer echoed that sentiment. He called Carey’s time in office “an interesting lesson,” adding:
“These are tough times, but with leadership and strength – the kind that Hugh Carey showed back in 1975 when I was a 23-year-old freshman here in Albany in the state Legislature – we can overcome them.”
“And to remember him for the kind of human being he was. He was a kind and gentle man. Fun-loving in many different ways…but he also was a true leader, and he showed that even in the most desperate of times, we can turn things ago. And that ought to be his legacy and lesson that is particularly appropriate today.”
A number of people – including one of Carey’s 14 children, Nancy Carey Cassidy, who is joining us for a special tribue to her father on CapTon tonight – have noted the strong role that the former governor’s Catholic faith played in his life.
To wit: Bishop Howard Hubbard, who was ordained bishop of Albany in 1977 – two years after Carey was elected – took the unusual step of issuing the following statement to mark Carey’s death on behalf of the state Catholic Conference:
“Governor Hugh L. Carey was a superb public servant whose commitment to our nation and state was extraordinary.”
“He demonstrated great vision and courage in confronting the fiscal crisis in New York City in a bipartisan fashion, while at the same time protecting the needs of the most vulnerable in our Empire State: the poor, children, the mentally ill and the elderly.”
“The Governor was a role model of faith, integrity and civility in a society where such is needed today so desperately.”
Interesting, particularly given the fact that Carey fought to make sure poor women on Medicaid would be able to receive abortion services even though he personally opposed abortion.
Jul 25th - 12:25 pm
Appearing this morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Sen. Chuck Schumer indicated he was becoming frustrated by the never-ending debt ceiling talks in Washington.
Schumer, D-N.Y., complained that Democrats have moved out of their comfort zone when it comes to agreeing to cuts to Medicare and Social Security, but Republicans have so far refused to budge on raising revenue through broad-based tax increases.
“Here’s what drives me crazy about this debate. We have moved and moved and moved away from what should be our position. We don’t like cutting, we don’t like entitlement reform, so to speak. We have moved away from that. The Republicans have stayed on the dime without doing a single nickel of revenues.”
Jun 29th - 12:32 pm
Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are among 12 senators who recorded a video for the It Gets Better project, a campaign that began in response to a rash of suicides by LGBT youth.
The senators are all co-sponsors of a measure to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. All also supported the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which Gillibrand made a personal crusade after inheriting her seat from former Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Most of the senatos who appear in the video are also co-sponsors of the Student Non-Discrimination Act, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or the Uniting American Families Act.
Gillibrand and Schumer both “evolved” on the question of same-sex marriage and are now both supporters of so-called marriage equality. Gillibrand lobbied state senators prior to last week’s vote that legalized marriage in New York for gay couples.