Babylon Democrats News

Open Mike: The real legacy of Barack Obama

Jan
20
2017

This piece is not an evaluation of the president’s legislative accomplishments or failures. or even his politics — but rather a reflection of the very personal impact the 44th president had on one 15-year-old boy from Port Jefferson.

It was 2008 and I was just coming of age. Then I saw him on television, delivering his iconic “Yes We Can” speech. In that moment Barack Obama instilled in me a genuine sense of hope, a firm belief that in the course of human history it is possible to make a lasting difference. His words transformed my perception of our Constitution. No longer was it a thing of antiquity, but rather something tangible, something alive, and worthy of any sacrifice to...| read more ››

Gov. Cuomo announces series of voting reform proposals

Jan
8
2017

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is once again urging state lawmakers to allow early voting access in New York as part of a series of voting reform measures his office unveiled on Sunday.

Cuomo, who last year proposed early voting and automatic voter registration at state licensing offices, is also calling for same-day voter registration, saying in a news release the measures would “remove unnecessary barriers that prevent participation in elections and increase accuracy within the voting process.”

“Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy. This past election shined a bright light on the deficiencies of New York’s antiquated election laws and the artificial barriers they create that prevent and discourage voters from exercising this sacred right,” Cuomo said. “These proposals...| read more ››

Cuomo proposes free college tuition assistance for eligible students

Jan
3
2017

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday proposed free state college tuition assistance to ease the burden of paying for higher education for hundreds of thousands of low- and middle-income students.

Cuomo announced the Excelsior Scholarship college degree program, which would help cover the cost of SUNY and CUNY tuition, including at two-year community colleges, for students whose families earn up to $125,000 annually. Individuals also would qualify.

The governor made the announcement before a cheering audience of high school students, labor leaders and elected officials at LaGuardia Community College.

Cuomo said of college debt, “That is not fair, that is not right.”

He said it hobbles the futures of young people. “The debt is so high, it’s like starting a...| read more ››

Chuck Schumer to vow Dems will hold Donald Trump ‘accountable’

Jan
3
2017

WASHINGTON — Sen. Chuck Schumer prodded President-elect Donald Trump and said Democrats will hold him and the Republican majority “accountable” to the American people and the law as the New Yorker made his first speech Tuesday as Senate minority leader.

“With all due respect, America cannot afford a Twitter presidency,” Schumer said as he warned Trump about using social media to make policy. “These issues are complex and demand both careful consideration and action. We cannot tweet them away.”

Schumer also criticized Trump for calling Russian leader Vladimir Putin “very smart” for ignoring American sanctions, saying that “conducting foreign policy by tweet while spurning vital intelligence briefings . . . should alarm Democrats and Republicans alike.”

In remarks made on...| read more ››

DuWayne Gregory re-elected Suffolk presiding officer

Jan
3
2017

Suffolk’s Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory won his fourth term Tuesday to lead the 18-member county legislature for another year, vowing to focus on county’s budget problems.

Gregory was voted in on an 11-5 party line vote, with Republican lawmakers nominating Legis. Kevin McCaffrey, GOP caucus leader, as a symbolic alternative.

Despite his candidacy, McCaffrey complimented Gregory on being evenhanded with the minority Republicans.

Legis. Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills) and Tom Muratore (R-Ronkonkoma) were not present, but had excused absences.

Gregory said after the vote that he plans to name an ad hoc budget committee in the next few weeks to concentrate on cutting the county’s structural deficit, more closely scrutinize spending by county contractors and tackle fiscal matters lawmakers did...| read more ››

Cuomo creates new team to focus on minimum wage law

Jan
2
2017

A 200-member team of investigators has been assembled to help ensure businesses across the state comply with the new minimum wage law that took effect Saturday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and his top aides announced Monday in Manhattan.

The Multiagency Enforcement and Outreach Unit will hold employers accountable by notifying employees of their rights, collecting their complaints and conducting investigations, Cuomo said.

New York State is moving in phases toward a $15 minimum wage statewide — a plan Cuomo signed into law last April.

“One thing I want to make clear, this is not a voluntary effort,” the Democratic governor told reporters at his midtown offices. “This is the law. And if a business does not follow the law, they...| read more ››

Cuomo: State investigates post-election hate ‘explosion’

Nov
15
2016

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo established a statewide “hotline” Tuesday to report hate and bias crimes and incidents after an “explosion” in “bias-motivated events,” including displays of swastikas and Confederate flags in White Plains, Wellsville, Geneseo and other parts of New York following Donald Trump’s win in the presidential election.

Cuomo, a Democrat, said the State Police, the state Division of Human Rights and university police around New York would investigate acts he called not only immoral but illegal.

“They were very, very troubling and we want to make a clear statement in this state: That there is no place for racism. No place for hate. No place for swastikas. And there is no place for racially inflammatory rhetoric...| read more ››

Election Day voter hotline announced, state AG says

Nov
4
2016

Voters in New York encountering problems Tuesday during the general election can call an Election Day hotline for help, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said.

Schneiderman said his office has created the hotline to help troubleshoot and resolve a range of issues and barriers encountered by voters at the polls, according to a Friday news release.

Schneiderman urged voters experiencing problems or issues at the polls to call the hotline at 800-771-7755 or email civil.rights@ag.ny.gov at any time on Tuesday between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.

His office has operated the hotline since November 2012. Since then, his office has fielded hundreds of complaints from voters across the state and worked with local election officials and others to promptly address...| read more ››

Colin Powell endorses Hillary Clinton for president

Oct
25
2016

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell told an audience of more than 1,000 Long Island business and political leaders Tuesday that he will vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton for president, citing her experience, temperament and — in a jab at GOP nominee Donald Trump — her “stamina.”

Powell, speaking at the Long Island Association fall luncheon in Woodbury, was harshly critical of Trump, arguing that the New York businessman was “not qualified” to serve as commander and chief and had sold Americans a “bill of goods” that he cannot deliver.

“He insults us every day,” said Powell, who served as secretary of state under Republican President George W. Bush.

“He has insulted America in one way almost every day,” Powell...| read more ››

Governor creates fellowship for aide killed in LIE crash

Oct
24
2016

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has created a state fellowship to honor a former Long Island aide killed this summer in a horrific car crash on the Long Island Expressway, he announced Monday.

The two-year Scott Martella Fellowship will be awarded to recent graduates committed to public service with a passion for helping others, Cuomo said in a news release. Scott Martella, 29, of Northport, was among six people who died in the Aug. 21 crash in Manorville.

“Scott believed in government’s potential to improve lives and worked day in and day out in pursuit of this principle,” Cuomo said in the statement. “With this fellowship, we will help ensure his legacy and public service will continue and endure for years...| read more ››