East Fishkill, NY – Is Albany working for you?
That was the question Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,I,C-Canandaigua) asked the taxpayers present tonight at the East Fishkill Community Center at the second Town Hall meeting he convened in the Hudson Valley. Kolb was joined and introduced by his colleague, Assemblyman Marc Molinaro (R,C,I-Red Hook) and the two discussed their support for a “People’s Convention to Reform New York,” and described how it could deliver the positive change that New Yorkers of all political parties – and regions – have been demanding. Last Wednesday, Kolb and Molinaro co-hosted a “People’s Convention” Town Hall Meeting in Hudson at the Hudson Elks Club, where they were joined by nearly 100 concerned local taxpayers who strongly supported reforming New York’s broken state government.
The People’s Convention to Reform New York is a grassroots, non-partisan reform effort to empower citizens so they can take back their state government and, in the process, chart a positive, new direction for New York. Some of the issues that could be considered during a People’s Convention include fiscal reforms like a property tax and state spending cap, debt reform, along with a ban on “backdoor” borrowing and unfunded mandates. Governmental reforms such as initiative and referendum, an independent Legislative Redistricting Commission, term limits for Legislative Leaders, ethics reform and a succession plan for state offices could also be considered as part of a People’s Convention.
Kolb also discussed his non-partisan legislation, “The People’s Convention to Reform New York Act,” Assembly Bill A.9157. If enacted, the bill would put the question of whether New York should convene a People’s Convention on the 2010 ballot; by law, this question automatically goes before voters in 2017. The non-partisan measure would move up the opportunity for reform by seven years, accelerating the state’s ability to enact long overdue and much-needed changes. The legislation specifically requires that any elected official seeking to run as a delegate for, or serve in, the People’s Convention must first resign their office.
“There is a growing feeling among New Yorkers that their state government has stopped working for them – that it’s grown too costly, unresponsive and disconnected from the lives of those it was supposed to serve. It is time New Yorkers took back their state government – it begins by convening a ‘People’s Convention,’ which is the first step toward restoring accountability,” said Kolb, who noted that over 2,000 people have already gone to www.reformny.org and signed the on-line petition in support of a People’s Convention.
“I am proud to have hosted two meetings in my district on this very important issue,” said Molinaro. “We heard from working families in Hudson last week, and we are hearing from the East Fishkill community tonight. At both town hall forums we have heard the same message from voters - they want real reform in Albany - especially given this year’s late state budget. Effective ideas to improve our state government like a ‘People’s Convention to Reform NY’ must be voted upon by the full Legislature in Albany. I am very glad Leader Kolb traveled back to the Hudson Valley this evening to share his views on this truly democratic way to make government work for the people again.”
Molinaro represents the 103rd Assembly District, which contains Columbia and Dutchess counties. Kolb’s 129th Assembly District is located in the Finger Lakes region and contains Cayuga, Cortland, Onondaga, Ontario and Seneca counties. For further details on the People’s Convention, go to www.reformny.org, and follow Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb on Twitter and Facebook.