Is Albany Working For You?
August 26, 2010
Mount Kisco, NY – Is Albany working for you? That was the question Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,I,C-Canandaigua) asked to open a Town Hall meeting he convened this evening with his colleague Assemblyman Robert J. Castelli (R,C,I-Goldens Bridge). Leader Kolb and Assemblyman Castelli 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 and Castelli also discussed, and took numerous questions from attendees, their 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 2,380 people have already gone to www.reformny.org and signed the on-line petition in support of a People’s Convention. “The dysfunction and chaos in Albany are spiraling out of control. We need to take the power out of the hands of politicians and put it into the hands of the people,” Castelli said. “A People’s Convention will help bring a non-partisan outlook to state government and how it’s run and accomplish the work of the people accordingly. It will ensure that the nonsense occurring right now will come to an end.” The Assembly Minority Conference will hold additional Town Hall meetings in Richmond, Orange and Montgomery counties. For further details on the People’s Convention to Reform New York, go to www.reformny.org and follow Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb on Twitter and Facebook.