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61st senate district

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."

December 23, 2020 - 3:01pm

Press release:

Senator-elect Ed Rath has been appointed Ranking Member of the Elections Committee and the Local Government Committee.

“I am looking forward to the start of the legislative year," Rath said. "There is a lot that needs to be done this year in Albany and I am ready to begin that work. As a former Erie County Legislator, I am acutely aware of the challenges facing our local governments.

"The pandemic has put a huge burden on local governments’ budgets and the services they provide. I look forward to working with local leaders across the district to address their specific needs and concerns.

 “Over the last few legislative sessions, we have seen tremendous changes to our election laws in New York State, the work of this committee critical. We need to assure that our elections are run smoothly, transparently, and effectively. We need to work with our local board of elections to learn what can be done to improve our election system in New York State. It is imperative that we get to Albany and work to help our suffering, local communities.”

“Senator-elect Rath’s experience and leadership as a former Erie County legislator will bode well for him as ranking member on the New York State Senate Committee on Elections, and the New York State Senate Committee on Local Government," said Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt.

"For more than a decade, Senator-elect Rath has been a fighter in his community and county government. His placement on these committees will allow him to continue to champion the issues important to local communities and taxpayers in his district and across New York.” 

A complete list of Senate Standing Committees is available at nysenate.gov/committees.

November 19, 2020 - 9:49pm
posted by Press Release in press release, news, 61st senate district, Ed Rath.

Press release:

“Thank you to everyone who has supported me and my State Senate campaign!"  Running this year was a vastly different experience but I am proud of our effort and humbled by this victory," said Ed Rath, of his victorious bid for the 61 State Senate seat. "I would also like to wish my opponent well following a spirited campaign.

"It has been an honor getting to know the residents of the 61st District and I am deeply grateful for the trust they are placing in me. I am looking forward to bringing our Upstate values to Albany and providing a strong voice for families, taxpayers and businesses throughout the 61st District. You have my word that I will tirelessly fight to continue our strong representation of WNY!”

October 29, 2020 - 5:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ed Rath, 61st senate district, video.
Video Sponsor

Earlier today, we spoke with Ed Rath, running for the 61st State Senate District on Jackson Street in Batavia.

October 24, 2020 - 2:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jacqui Berger, video, 61st senate district.
Video Sponsor

Last week, Jacqui Berger was in town and we had an opportunity to talk with her while she was in Batavia. Berger is running for the 61st State Senate District.

October 8, 2020 - 3:12pm
posted by Press Release in 61st senate district, Ed Rath, NYS Broadband Program, news.

Statement from NYS Senate Republican candidate Ed Rath regarding Audit of NYS Broadband Program:

“It has been announced that the NYS Comptroller’s Office is conducting an audit of the NYS Broadband Program," Rath said. "I eagerly await the results.

"At the inception of the NYS Broadband Program, $500 million was set aside to bring internet to the most rural parts of New York State. Unfortunately, we still have large areas, not only in rural areas but across many suburbs and cities, without access to broadband.

"This is unacceptable and the issue is only compounded by the current pandemic and the ever-growing need for reliable internet. Again, I look forward to the report from the Comptroller’s Office.”

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 22, 2020 - 2:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ed Rath, 61st senate district, video.
Video Sponsor

Ed Rath, candidate for the 61st State Senate District, up for election in November, visited Genesee County this week and met with local farmers to find out more about what issues they face in New York.

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 16, 2020 - 2:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in michael ranzenhofer, news, 61st senate district, COVID-19.

From Senator Michael Ranzenhoffer:

It goes without saying that 2020 has been one of the most unpredictable and challenging years of our lifetime. The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt for years to come.

As the Legislature prepares to return for a rare July session, many important questions remain unanswered.

In a recent Buffalo News article, it was stated that legislative leaders anticipated a “robust agenda” for the upcoming July session. It is my hope that we will not squander the opportunity and will start providing much needed clarity and assistance to families and businesses.

For years, I have advocated for increasing assistance to working families through an expansion of the Child Care Credit. This assistance is even more critical now as many families are struggling to find adequate childcare, while continuing to work from home.

In addition, it is critical that we develop plans to ensure that children and teachers can return to school safely and as soon as possible.

While I acknowledge that the current fiscal crisis could not have been predicted, it is still troubling that we have yet to be presented with the Governor’s suggested budget revisions.

Furthermore, it is impossible to ignore the fact that prior to COVID-19 the state was already experiencing an over $6 billion deficit. As part of my 2020 Legislative Questionnaire, over 51 percent of respondents said the state should address deficits by reducing spending and cutting outdated regulations.

Conversely, only 28 percent of residents advocated for tax increases or cost shifts.

Right-sizing New York State government is more critical than ever to ensure the quickest, most sustainable, economic recovery possible.

I strongly believe we need to examine how we utilize our economic development dollars. With so many small businesses struggling to survive we need to do all we can to assist them.

The Governor controls billions of dollars for economic development incentives to attract new businesses to the state. I can think of no better time redistribute these resources to support locally owned businesses.

In my previously mentioned questionnaire, nearly 53 percent of respondents said the state should not be in the business of picking winners and losers. Instead, they supported broad-based tax relief for businesses or not incentivizing private corporations at all. Only 13 percent of respondents believed that incentives were extremely important to help businesses.

Great challenges face government leaders as Legislative Session resumes. I hope the Governor and Senate and Assembly leaders will take real steps to assist hardworking families and struggling small businesses.



State Senator – 61st District

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.

May 11, 2020 - 12:06pm

Press release:

The Genesee County Democratic Committee and The Genesee County Young Democrats invite the public to participate in a virtual forum featuring candidates running for the Democratic nomination for the 61st NYS Senate District.

Participating candidates include Kim Smith, Jacqui Berger and Joan Seamans. We will also be joined by special guest, NY27 Congressional Candidate Nate McMurray.

The event will be streamed live on YouTube here from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on May 28th.

Anyone wishing to submit a question to the candidates should do so no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, May 20th using this form

Anyone with questions about this event can reach out to [email protected] or visit our Facebook page.

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.

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