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61st senate district

February 12, 2021 - 5:57pm
posted by Press Release in covid-19, coronavirus, news, Ed Rath, 61st senate district.

Press release:

Senator Rath has called for a full, independent investigation into the Cuomo Administration, the Department of Health, and any other government official complicit with covering up information.

“What we are seeing regarding the reporting of deaths in nursing homes is extremely disturbing," Rath said. "Questions surrounding the number of deaths in nursing homes have swirled since March and for almost a year, the Governor and the DOH have ignored the cries for clarity.

"We need all the facts and that is why an investigation is critical. We need to know who knew what and when, and if the information was kept from the Department of Justice.

“In an ironic shift, Senate Majority members are now calling for the Governor’s executive powers to be revoked. After months of my colleagues and I (calling) for the repeal of the powers and being accused, by the Majority, of playing games and being political, now they see the true effects of centralized control.

“Furthermore, after members of the majority dismissed our conference’s calls for transparency as political, it now appears we were correct and that there was a coordinated effort to cover up facts for political gain.

“It is extremely troubling to me if the public cannot trust our top elected officials during a public health crisis."

February 10, 2021 - 12:30pm
posted by Press Release in Ed Rath, 61st senate district, news.

Press release:

Senator Rath has introduced his first bill as a new member of the New York State Senate. 

The bill, S.4691, would establish the “save our small businesses grant program” which would aid small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Aiding small businesses and helping our communities come back stronger is critically important.  This bill will help provide much needed financial support for our struggling businesses and economy,” said Senator Ed Rath.

The State’s Regional Economic Development Councils will provide the funds and help facilitate the implementation and roll-out of the “save our small businesses grant program.”

“As COVID-19 restrictions begin to lift, this becomes even more important.  We must assure that our businesses have the means to reopen and rehire to ensure financial stability.  It is crucial that our Regional Economic Development Councils shift their attention to supporting our existing businesses.  We owe it to them to offer any assistance we can during these trying times, especially because many are suffering as a result of state mandates,” said Senator Ed Rath.

The bill was submitted to the State Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business for consideration.

February 3, 2021 - 4:59pm
posted by Press Release in covid-19, coronavirus, news, Ed Rath, 61st senate district.

Press release:

“It is completely unacceptable that the scheduled Department of Health (DOH) COVID-19 hearing was canceled. I joined my colleagues this morning in a press conference to demand answers and I believe that Senator (Thomas) O’Mara’s subpoena of Howard Zucker (NYS commissioner of Health) is critical. We need a full investigation into this nursing home data coverup.

“The DOH is fully aware that there are many answers that the public needs. Unfortunately, they are trying to avoid answering tough questions by postponing the hearing until the end of the month. We need to hold them accountable.

"Between the flawed rollout of the vaccine distribution to the cover-up of nursing home deaths, to say there is a lot that needs to be discussed is an understatement. The public deserves answers and accountability and what we are seeing is far from that.”

January 28, 2021 - 1:06pm
posted by Press Release in Ed Rath, 61st senate district, news.

Press release:

Senator Rath has launched a four question Hunter’s Poll.

“Hearing from residents on important topics is critical to me," Rath said. "There are a few proposals that have been included in the Governor’s 2021-22 Budget that would affect the hunting community. Learning the residents’ perspective on these issues will allow me to better represent the district. That is why I hope you will take a moment to complete the poll.”

Residents can complete the survey here. The poll focuses on two long-debated proposals that will affect hunters in New York State. These proposals were recommended by the Department of Environmental Conservation and included in the Governor’s budget. 

January 26, 2021 - 3:18pm
posted by Press Release in Ed Rath, 61st senate district, news.

Statement State Sen. Ed Rath:

My comments and intention of reaching out to our local Board of Elections Commissioners, both Democrat, and Republican, is not in relation to the presidential election. New York State has the only unresolved congressional race in the nation, which is extremely concerning. In addition, there were several local elections that were not decided until weeks after Election Day. I have heard concerns raised in the days and weeks after Election Day of long lines, understaffed and underfunded Board of Elections. I am simply looking to do an analysis and decide what can be improved upon or what is already working well. The hearing I reference in my original statement is a bipartisan hearing, being headed by a Democratic Senator. Having input from our local experts has been and continues to be my main concern.  

Previously: Rath calling on election commissioners to ensure systems are secure

January 25, 2021 - 4:54pm
posted by Press Release in Ed Rath, 61st senate district, news.

Press release:

Senator Rath, ranking member on the State Senate Elections Committee, wrote to every Election Commissioner in the State encouraging them to share their suggestions and input on how the elections system can be improved and assure that voters have confidence in the system.

“It is critical that we look at the 2020 election and see what went right and what went wrong. From there we can make informed decisions about what needs to be changed or enhanced.

"Our Elections Commissioners know firsthand and their insight is crucial to the success of our future elections. Equally as important, is assuring that the public has the utmost faith and respect in our elections system. 

"This is only the beginning of the conversation and I look forward to hearing what our Commissioners have to share,” said Senator Rath.

Senator Rath will also be attending the Elections Committee’s virtual public hearing on Friday, Jan. 29.

UPDATE: Rath clarifies statement about commissioners reviewing election process

January 8, 2021 - 1:44pm
posted by Press Release in Sen. Ed Rath, 61st senate district, news.

Submitted photo and press release:

Senator Edward Rath III has been sworn in as the New York State senator representing the 61st Senate District.

Senator Rath was sworn in on the Senate Floor on Wednesday, Jan. 6.

“I am honored to officially be serving as the New York State Senator for the 61st Senate District," Rath said. "I am proud to have earned the trust of the residents of this district. Our state is facing some of the most challenging times in recent history and our communities are suffering.

"As your State Senator, you have my word that I will fight for our communities and residents.”

Photo: Senator Rath, center, his wife, Amy, in gray dress, and his mother, Mary Lou Rath, former NYS senator representing the 61 Senate District.

January 7, 2021 - 3:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ed Rath, news, 61st senate district.

Statement from State Senator Ed Rath:

"The brutality we saw yesterday that unfolded inside our nation’s capitol is unacceptable and deeply disturbing. While the right to peacefully protest is part of the foundation of our country, what we saw yesterday cannot and will not be tolerated. We must have respect for each other, no matter what political party, and we must have respect for our law enforcement and the rule of law."

September 24, 2020 - 4:52pm
posted by Press Release in Ed Rath, 61st senate district, news, broadband.

Statement from Ed Rath, candidate for the 61st State Senate District:

Having access to reliable internet has never been more important. With most households having individuals working from home and students learning virtually, access to internet is critical. Unfortunately, for many in Upstate and Western New York, access to broadband is extremely limited.

For years now, we have heard about the NYS program, Broadband for All. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in improving infrastructure and working to bring high-speed internet access to every mile of NYS, including those without access or underserved.

Sadly, however, there are still over one hundred thousand NY residents, many, right in our communities, without any wired internet options, let alone high speed. During the 2020 Legislative Session, the Senate and Assembly passed a bill that would require the New York State Public Service Commission conduct a study to evaluate broadband access across the State. It has been two months since the passage of this bill. Last week, in the Erie County Legislature, I sponsored a resolution asking the Governor to sign this crucial piece of legislation. I am hopeful that he will realize how important it is to take a closer look at the availability of internet in our State.

We have many relying on internet to make a living, receive an education, and even buy groceries. It is time that we realize having access to reliable internet is a necessity.

August 6, 2020 - 2:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ed Rath, 61st senate district, news.

Press release:

Last week, I met with local restaurant owners to discuss the process and the effects the pandemic is having on their businesses.  Despite Upstate New York being in Phase 4, the reopening process continues to be plagued with questions and uncertainty.

Today, I am calling on our state leaders to take action. Guidelines must be streamlined and transparent to ensure everyone knows the rules. It seems as though the Governor is making changes to the regulations every day and is constantly moving the goalposts, even going as far as defining “food."

I understand that the situation is ever-evolving, but it is government's responsibility to develop clear and transparent regulations that restaurants, and all businesses, can understand. Small businesses that are struggling to survive should not be left to interpret new rules on their own.

July 10, 2020 - 1:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, 61st senate district, news, Elections.

CORRECTION 7:27 p.m.: We published the wrong tally of votes for NY-27 district special election candidate Duane Whitmer. It is 159, not 1,059. The Batavian regrets the error.

Unofficial ballot counts are done for Genesee County in the Democratic primary for the 61st State Senate and the NY-27 special election, according to Lorie Longhany, Democratic commissioner for the Board of Elections.

In the primary:

  • Kim Smith: 1,083
  • Joan Seamans: 796
  • Jacqualine Berger: 769

In the NY-27 special election:

  • Chris Jacobs: 6,127
  • Nate McMurray: 3,848
  • Duane Whitmer: 1,059  159
  • Michael Gammariello: 71
  • Write-ins for Beth Parlato: 188

The count of the NY-27 GOP primary has not yet been completed.

Longhany said that count along with official results should be released on Monday.

July 10, 2020 - 11:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ed Rath, 61st senate district, news.

Press release from the campaign of Ed Rath, candidate for 61 State Senate:

New York State and the Department of Health's failure to protect our most vulnerable citizens is extremely troubling. That is why, I launched a petition demanding a transparent investigation into the State’s handling of COVID in nursing homes. Dozens of residents signed my petition and shared their concerns with me. I will continue to call for an independent investigation and work everyday to protect our seniors and keep our community safe. To sign my petition, you can do so here https://edrathforsenate.com/2020/06/03/our-seniors-deserve-justice/.

May 20, 2020 - 6:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ed Rath, 61st senate district, news.

Press release from Ed Rath, candidate for the 61st State Senate District:

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has turned our daily lives upside down and state and local governments face unprecedented shortfalls. Rebuilding our economy and prioritizing funding will be more difficult than ever before. But, as is often the case, with great challenges, comes great opportunity.

Long before COVID-19 reached our state, New York was plagued by years of overspending and inefficient government. Due to decades of mismanagement in Albany residents pay some of the highest taxes in the nation, and excessive regulation drives up the cost of providing goods and services.

As we prepare for the Governor, Budget Director and Legislature to make recommendations on how to balance the budget, I would implore them to first look at state mandates. Reducing the cost drivers will make cuts less painful and reduce long-term costs and spending obligations. We do not need more commissions to “reimagine things,” we need to listen to people who work in their fields every day and see firsthand regulations that are beneficial and ones that only add more cost and paperwork.

There have been endless commissions and studies looking at waste in New York State government, and there are countless binders filled with reports and recommendations that have never been seriously considered. Inefficiencies and duplicative regulations drive billions of dollars in wasteful spending but have little or no impact on service. Before state leaders talk about the tough decisions that need to be made, they should first proactively ask about what can be done to make the situation less painful. 

In the end, we must demand our government do the same thing that residents do every day. When financial situations change, we can’t hope for more money from the bank, instead, we must find ways to save money and reduce costs to make the situation better on our own. Residents deserve to know that their state government is doing the same.

In addition, we must prioritize essential services and public health. Despite local governments facing increasing budget shortfalls and a public health crisis, the recently passed budget mandates upstate counties use $50 million in sales tax revenue to replace state funding cuts. At the same time, the budget created a new taxpayer-funded election system at a cost of $100 million and set aside over $400 million for Hollywood production companies.

To recommend cuts to schools, hospitals, and cost shifts to local governments, while protecting spending for taxpayer-funded elections and subsidies to Hollywood is simply wrong. Similarly, residents already pay some of the highest combined tax rates in the nation and we cannot tax our way out of this problem.

If we need something to reimagine, we should start with New York State government.

April 21, 2020 - 5:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ed Rath, 61st senate district, news.

Statement from Ed Rath, candidate for the 61st State Senate District:

The New York State economy, and particularly the economy of Upstate, has taken a very big hit as a result of coronavirus. Small businesses, farmers, restaurant owners and many others are encountering some of the hardest times they’ve ever faced.

The infection rates and risk factors of each individual region greatly vary throughout the state.

With this in mind, I have called on the Governor to take a regional perspective to reopening and listen to our local medical professionals and those who know the community best.

I am glad that after his stop in Buffalo today, it appears that a regional reopening approach will be pursued.

March 23, 2020 - 6:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ed Rath, 61st senate district, news.

From Ed Rath, candidate for the 61st State Senate District:

The COVID-19 outbreak has been a challenging time for all of us, as our daily lives have changed drastically. While the future remains uncertain, it is important that we come together as a community and do everything we can to get through this unprecedented situation.

Ensuring we have the appropriate funding and resources is of the utmost importance. On Thursday Mar 19th, I voted in favor of allocating $5 million in surplus funds to aid Erie County’s ongoing fight against coronavirus. This is part of an all-hands-on-deck effort with our partners in government. The funding will be used for anything necessary toward stopping the spread of the disease, including: testing, supplies, data management, staffing, and public health coordination. I’m proud to offer this financial support as we navigate through this crisis together. Thank you to all the County administration, health department, and all healthcare officials for their work on the front lines of this epidemic.

This outbreak has also been an incredibly challenging time for all businesses in Upstate and throughout New York. Many have been forced to suspend operations leading to layoffs and lost revenue. Over the past few days, I have been proud to help numerous companies file with NYS as essential services operations. I would encourage you to visit Empire State Development’s website to learn more about this State designation, https://esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026

I’d like to sincerely thank local restaurant establishments that continue to offer takeout or curbside pickup. I encourage everyone to please consider ordering a meal to go or purchasing a gift card online. Right now, any little bit of support can go a long way.

In these uncertain times, please remember to look out for your health and safety along with the health and safety of your loved ones. In the meantime, it is reassuring to know that we have an incredible community full of individuals willing to help others.

March 3, 2020 - 2:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Salon Miaou, batavia, news, joan seamans, 61st senate district.


Salon Miaou, a salon on East Main Street, Batavia, hosted a meet-and-greet Monday evening for Joan Seamans, center, a candidate in the Democratic primary for the 61st State Senate seat.

Photo and info submitted by Nicole Ilasi.

January 31, 2020 - 6:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in politics, batavia, moon java, 61st senate district, video.
Video Sponsor

Local Democrats were pleased, elated, really, with the turnout Thursday night at Moon Java for a Meet the Candidates event.

Nate McMurray, running for the NY-27 in the anticipated April 29 special election, and three candidates vying for the nomination for the 61st State Senate District in the June Democratic primary were on hand for the event.

Moon Java was filled to capacity to hear from the candidates.

Micheal Plitt, chairman of the Genesee County Democratic Committee, said local Democrats have a record number of volunteers signed up for this campaign season.

"I think the blue wave will continue," Plitt said.

January 30, 2020 - 4:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jacqualine Berger, 61st senate district, news.

Submitted photo and press release:

Jacqualine Berger, a labor activist, and current Town Board member and Deputy Supervisor in the Town of Amherst, formally enters the race for the 61st Senate District.

Berger was first elected to the Amherst Town Board in 2017 and was the top vote-getter that year. In 2020, she was appointed Amherst Deputy Supervisor.

Berger is no stranger to serving the community. She’s spent her career as an educator, currently teaching at SUNY Empire State College, and a labor leader, locally and nationally, through her work with New York State United Teachers and American Federation of  Teachers. Berger has a master’s degree in Early Childhood and Special Education from Tulane University. She’s a lifelong advocate for individuals with special needs, running a local Challenger Baseball program for children and adults with disabilities since 1991. In 2019, Empire State College awarded Berger the Altes Prize for Exemplary Community Service.

Berger believes she has the qualifications and ability to bring representation to the 61st Senate seat that encompasses parts of Erie, Monroe, and Genesee counties. She promises to utilize her position in the Democratic Senate majority to bring attention and State resources to the district and work with local municipalities to assess their needs. She cites the need for updated resources in school districts and improvements to aging infrastructure throughout the district as major proponents of her campaign.

“It is extremely important to the Town of Amherst that we have a State Senator who shares our values and understands our community. As an Amherst Town Council member and Deputy Town Supervisor, Jacqui Berger possesses the knowledge of our area and the skills to be an excellent and effective Senator in the 61st District,” said Assemblymember Karen McMahon.

In her role as Town Boardmember, Berger works directly with New York State to secure funding for projects throughout Amherst. Recently, she aided efforts to secure $783,000 for the Sattler Dellwood Park Green Infrastructure and Storm Water Project. Amherst will use the funds from this Green Innovation Grant Program to construct a bio-retention area, porous roller hockey rink and a porous parking lot.

Town of Amherst Supervisor Brian Kulpa stated his support for Berger, “As an educator, Jacqui is a champion for students, and as Deputy Supervisor, she is a champion for Amherst residents. She takes taken bold actions to improve Amherst, and I’m confident that her values will make her a champion for this Senate district. I am proud to support her.”

Berger is a resident of Amherst, where she’s lived with her family for the past 32 years. In addition to her work in the town and with labor, she serves as liaison to Nature View Park Advisory Committee, Planning Board, Youth Board, Recreation Commission, and Zoning Board of Appeals.

January 18, 2020 - 11:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ed Rath, 61st senate district, video.
Video Sponsor

At the Harvester Center in Batavia yesterday, Ed Rath, a 12-year member of the Erie County Legislature, announced his candidacy for the 61st State Senate, running for the seat that Michael Ranzenhofer will vacate at the end of the year.

Rath attacked the one-party rule of Albany that he said has led to sky-high deficit spending, the passage of one-sided legislation such as the Green Light Law, the farm labor bill, and bail reform.

He said he will work to repeal bail reform and ensure the concerns of upstate residents are presented in Albany.

Rath is attempting to follow the political path of his mother, Mary Lou Rath, who was also once a member of the Erie County Legislature before being elected to the 61st State Senate in 1993, holding the office until her retirement in 2008.

Yesterday, after the press conference, Ed Rath complimented The Batavian on the quality of the questions we asked as did a member of his campaign staff.  We hear that often from elected officials.  We work hard to bring you the most informed political coverage in the county but to keep doing that, we need your support.  Please become a patron today. Please click the supporter button below and subscribe or contribute.

January 8, 2020 - 10:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kim Smith, 61st senate district, batavia, news, video.
Video Sponsor

Kim Smith is a candidate for the 61st State Senate District. Yesterday she stopped in Batavia at the Richmond Memorial Library as part of what she calls a "listening tour," a chance for her to hear from residents of the district about what is important to them. This video is a quick introduction to the candidate.

Mobile app users, click here to view the video

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