Galef Leads Reform Movement in Assembly

‘Fixing Albany’ roundtable of good government groups calls on citizens to participate in government to turn around stagnation and corruption
June 3, 2010

Tonight, Assemblywoman Sandy Galef hosted good government group leaders and former Lieutenant Governor of New York Al DelBello to capitalize on growing discontent with politicians and practices in Albany.

The roundtable discussion focused on cleaning up state government in order to “restore the public’s trust, reform the state’s finances, and curb the power of special interests,” as underscored in the “Pledge for Change New York.” This Pledge, sponsored by the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), Citizens Union of the City of New York, Common Cause/NY, the League of Women Voters/N.Y.S. and the Brennan Center for Justice, served as the backdrop for the forum

“My reform agenda is finally starting to gain traction across party lines,” said Assemblywoman Galef. “I wanted to take advantage of some of the momentum to bring together those who have been working on change with me for years, and call on the public for grassroots support and action. At my town hall meetings earlier in the year I heard a lot of concern from my constituents about government officials who were making headlines, the senate impasse last summer, and resource allocation. All of these are areas that need our attention in the legislature and I am pleased that some of my colleagues in the Assembly and Senate are now supporting my efforts for reform.”

Four of the five good government groups who sponsored the Pledge were represented on tonight’s panel. Blair Horner, NYPIRG’s legislative director, Barabara Bartolettti, League of Women Voters/NYS’s legislative director, Deanna Bitetti, Common Cause/NY’s associate director and Rachael Fauss, citizens Union of the City of New York’s Policy and Research Manager all spoke about the need to overhaul state government.

“New Yorkers need to know the details of Albany's dysfunction," said Blair Horner. "NYPIRG applauds Assemblywoman Galef's contribution to this educational effort by holding tonight's meeting.”

Barbara Bartoletti said, “Campaign finance is at the core of why special interests control every aspect of public policy in New York State. How special interests control this, through lack of campaign finance reform, impacts why every area of New Yorkers’ lives – from insurance costs, to education and property taxes, to energy costs, to homeland security – cannot get any better. Albany must address this issue and I am pleased Assemblywoman Galef supports this area of reform, among others.”

Deanna Bitetti said “I would like to thank Assemblywoman Galef for hosting this important discussion. This kind of discussion fosters cooperation between good government groups, elected officials and constituents, enabling them to work together to craft and enact meaningful reform in Albany and create a paradigm for best practices in government. It is at this critical juncture, when the State is struggling with a massive economic downturn and instances of political malfeasance, that it becomes integral to work together to enact meaningful reforms that empower communities throughout New York State and restore the public trust. Common Cause/NY looks forward to working with our State Legislators in Albany and constituents throughout the State to see these reforms enacted."

“Citizens Union believes that bringing reform to Albany is essential to ensuring that our state government operates in an efficient and ethical manner to meet the needs of all New Yorkers and not the narrow interests that often drive the decision-making process,” said Rachael Fauss. “We support the continuing dialogue that forums like this town hall provide, and are hopeful that the energy they generate will add momentum for bringing real change to the redistricting process, campaign finance, the state budget process and member items, as well as other key reform areas. We also thank Assemblymember Sandy Galef for her leadership on these important issues.”