ELMIRA, 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 a Town Hall workshop at Elmira College. Kolb was joined by his colleagues, Assemblyman Thomas O’Mara (R,C,I – Big Flats) and Assemblyman Jim Bacalles (R,C,I-Corning), and the three 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.
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 also could be considered as part of a People’s Convention.
Kolb also discussed the 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 their state government back – it begins by convening a ‘People’s Convention,’ which is the first step toward restoring accountability,” said Kolb, who noted that over 2,200 people have already gone to www.reformny.org and signed the on-line petition in support of a People’s Convention.
“The people of New York are struggling and something needs to change,” said Assemblyman Thomas O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats). “Initiating a People’s Convention to Reform New York will help bring everyday, hardworking individuals together to make tough, realistic decisions to get our government back on track.”
“A People’s Convention is truly the only non-partisan method of reforming the way state government operates,” said Assemblyman Jim Bacalles (R,C,I-Corning). “Delegates elected to the People’s Convention will not bring the ties of party leadership to the process.”
O’Mara represents the 137th Assembly District, which includes Chemung, Schuyler and Tioga counties while Bacalles represents the 136th Assembly District, which includes Steuben and Yates 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.