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61st senate district

May 20, 2021 - 5:55pm
posted by Press Release in covid-19, coronavirus, news, Ed Rath, 61st senate district.

Statement from Sen. Ed Rath:

“Another day, another executive order. The latest being children aged 2 and up must wear masks at daycare facilities. This is outrageous. From the very start of the pandemic, we saw the State create arbitrary rules and guidelines without listening to the science. 

“For the past year and a half, younger children in daycare settings were not required to wear masks, as the CDC and NYS loosen these requirements, now suddenly this younger age group is forced into mask-wearing. 

“If the Governor does not act to resolve this, the Legislature must.”

May 8, 2021 - 1:25pm
posted by Press Release in Ed Rath, 61st senate district, news, unemployment.

Press release: 

“I am happy that Comptroller (Thomas) DiNapoli will be auditing the New York State Unemployment system for fraud," said Sen. Ed Rath (NYS-61). While this is a critical first step, I believe that a full and comprehensive audit of the system needs to be done.

"From the very start of the pandemic, the unemployment system in our State has been an absolute mess and the lack of transparency has been very concerning. Between residents being unable to receive the benefits they are due, to long wait times to overpayments and blatant fraud, there has been nonstop issues.

"My office has heard from hundreds of residents regarding their unemployment problems, and I am proud to say we have been able to work to resolve many of their issues.

"Unfortunately, until the fundamental challenges with the unemployment system are addressed, these problems will continue to occur, and we will continue to see fraud and waste in the system. I am hopeful that this audit will bring some much-needed transparency to the process.”

April 6, 2021 - 10:44am
posted by Press Release in Ed Rath, 61st senate district, news.

Press release:

The final budget bill includes the Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) aid for the City of Batavia, Town of Batavia, and Genesee County in the amount of $800,000. Originally left out of the Senate One-House Budget, Senator Ed Rath was vocal in his opposition to the elimination of this critical aid.

“I am pleased to see this aid restored," Senator Rath said. "Many of our communities are beginning to recover from COVID and the financial implications, to cut their funding at such a critical time would be detrimental.

"To think that the only areas that were exempt from the VLT aid were areas represented by Republican senators was troubling. This cut would have been detrimental, and I am glad that the aid was restored."

The VLT funding was included in part KK of the Public Protections and General Government Budget Bill (S.2505-C).

March 23, 2021 - 11:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ed Rath, 61st senate district, news.

Press release:

Senator Rath conducted a survey focusing on hunting issues contained in the Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal.

“Hearing from residents and knowing where they stand on proposals is extremely important to me. We received input from thousands of residents, from all over New York State. Thank you to all those who took the time to share their views with me. With this information, I am able to better represent my constituents,” said Senator Ed Rath.

“Thank you to Senator Rath for asking these questions. We appreciate the Senator involving the hunting community in these conversations,” Jeff Jondle, president of the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Club. 

The survey results indicated that residents overwhelmingly support lowering the hunting age (76 percent of respondents) and expanding the crossbow season (74 percent of respondents). Both proposals were included in the Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal.

Senator Rath was elected in 2020 and represents the towns of Amherst, Clarence, and Newstead and the villages of Akron and Williamsville in Erie County; the towns of Chili and Riga, the Village of Churchville and part of the City of Rochester in Monroe County; and all of Genesee County. The Senator is also a member of the New York State Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus.

March 17, 2021 - 2:56pm
posted by Press Release in covid-19, coronavirus, news, Ed Rath, 61st senate district.

Press release:

Senator Ed Rath has introduced legislation, S.5718, that would permit school districts to open to students for in-person instruction if the school can always maintain at least 3 feet between students. 

“Getting our children safely back into schools is critical," Rath said. "For the past year, children have had their daily routines completely upended. While virtual learning was necessary early in the pandemic, schools have proven that they can safely bring children back.

"I continue to hear from parents who share their concerns about their children falling behind academically and greatly missing the social aspect of in-person learning. Now that teachers have been prioritized for vaccination, allowing the three feet of social distancing would be another tool in helping get children back in the classroom.

“While some counties and school districts have made spacing adjustments on their own, a unified approach is necessary.  Additionally, it has been seen in other areas of the United States that bringing back students does not contribute to significant community spread.

"I have also met with the New York State American Academy of Pediatrics, who shared their support of this measure. I am hopeful that this bill will help get our children back into the classroom and allow schools to focus on educating our children."

The bill, S.5718, was introduced on March 16th and was referred to the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security, and Military Affairs for consideration.

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.

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