Skip to main content


NYS Senate Republican Conference unveils a 'New Hope for Empire State'

By Press Release

Press Release:

The New York State Senate Republican Conference has unveiled “A New Hope For The Empire State,” their legislative agenda for 2024. The agenda prioritizes the issues that affect everyday New Yorkers, but have been neglected by the radical left politicians who control Albany.

Extreme policies pursued under one-party rule have directly caused a decline in New Yorkers’ quality of life. Over the course of the past several years, we’ve seen destructive policies passed by radical Democrats that have pushed New York to its brink.

Sanctuary state policies have only increased the inflow of migrants, impacting local government services to the detriment of residents who already live here. The recent rise in antisemitic rhetoric coming from DSA radicals at all levels of government has stoked divisions within our communities. Places of higher learning have become breeding grounds for the antisemitic bullying we see occurring on college campuses throughout the country. Throughout the holiday season, we witnessed protests disrupting the Thanksgiving Day parade, the New York City tree lighting, the New Year's Eve ball drop, travel at airports, and more.

Our law enforcement community has its hands tied because of policies that prioritize criminals. The complete disregard for society is flat-out appalling. We need sound-minded people and a sound-minded plan to bring New York back to what it once was.

“New Yorkers are deeply dissatisfied with the direction of our state and our Conference is here to provide an alternative path forward. I have traveled throughout the state and people are tired, frustrated, and angry. They feel forgotten. Over the course of the year, we have seen crimes and costs rise. Antisemitism is infiltrating our schools and communities and has become the norm. The migrant crisis has only gotten worse because New York City politicians continue to push their feel-good policies, but it is these radical policies that are driving New Yorkers out. As the Leader of this conference, I will not take a back seat to the progressive agenda destroying our state. Our Republican Conference will fight to give hope to those New Yorkers who feel they have no alternative but to leave our state. Our common sense agenda provides solutions to build a greater New York for future generations,” said Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt.

“Ask any New Yorker, and they will tell you their quality of life has deteriorated over the last few years because of leftist policies enacted by New York Democrats. Their policies are so out of touch with reality that New Yorkers from every region are fleeing to other states that are safer, affordable, and free.  Our policy agenda will reverse this downward spiral and bring common sense to New York’s government and put it back in the hands of our citizens where it belongs,” said Senate Deputy Republican Leader Andrew Lanza.

“New Yorkers are all longing for accountability from our state government and searching for signs of hope that things will get better. Antisemitism, in particular, is running rampant not only on our streets but also on our college campuses. Now more than ever, we owe it to our Jewish communities to ensure their safety. The lack of affordability and public safety continue to be problems impacting taxpayers, and it is because of these significant quality-of-life issues that New Yorkers feel forced to flee to other states. Our conference stands ready to advance an agenda that will bring our state back from the disaster that extreme policymaking has wrought upon us,” said Senator Patricia Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick, SD 9th.

“Since 2020, more people have left New York than live in Vermont. People are leaving because they’re tired and fed up with the direction our state is going. In poll after poll, people are telling us that there's too much crime and that it's too expensive to live here. The governor is ignoring these serious concerns and continues to push an agenda that’s out of step with the priorities of middle class families across the state. Our Senate Republican agenda is solely focused on solving quality of life problems because we hear you and we work for you. It's that simple,” said Senator Jake Ashby, SD 43rd.

“A New Hope For The Empire State” is a comprehensive legislative agenda for 2024 outlining a plan to fight for New Yorkers who are tired of the radical left legislature controlling Albany. This agenda prioritizes increasing affordability, improves public safety, and builds a greater New York:

Increasing Affordability

  • Reigning in out-of-control spending: enact a spending cap, rejecting tax increases and unfunded mandates, and providing tax relief for all New Yorkers;
  • Taking action to help all New Yorkers struggling to make ends meet by rejecting extreme climate proposals, incentivizing new housing construction to deal with the housing shortage, and making child care more accessible and affordable; and
  • Improving the state’s business climate by protecting small businesses and farms by reducing regulations and unfair costs.

Improving Public Safety

Protecting New Yorkers from antisemitism and other hateful violence by making any antisemitic behavior a hate crime, making all hate crimes bail eligible, protecting hate crime victims and houses of worship, and implementing financial penalties on both college universities and students who condone or engage in antisemitic behavior while receiving state aid;

  • Rejecting efforts to continue New York's sanctuary state status;
  • Reversing failed criminal justice policies that have made our communities less safe, including bail reform, discovery reform, and others;
  • Rejecting policies that put criminals above victims and law-abiding New Yorkers; and
  • Providing more services and funding to address mental health crises and substance abuse disorders.

Building a Greater New York

  • Closing the pandemic learning gap,  expanding school choice, and further investing in vocational education and workforce development;
  • Providing support to our veterans to reacclimate and find educational and career opportunities; and
  • Investing in and strengthening our infrastructure to encourage growth.  

“It is clear New Yorkers are unhappy. Our plan offers a vision to correct that and bring New York back as a desirable place to live. As we head into a new legislative session, we will outline common-sense solutions to address these issues and improve the quality of life of every New Yorker,” concluded Senator Ortt.

More details of the New York State Senate Republicans’ “A New Hope for the Empire State” 2024 legislative agenda will be unveiled in the coming weeks. The full report is attached or available here.

“It seems that New York Democrats have adopted a strategy of ignoring the chaos and crime their radical policies have created in the hope they can convince state residents that life in the Empire State under their rule is just fine. But, like all of their strategies, it’s failing miserably. New Yorkers are painfully aware that affordability, public safety and accountability have all worsened under Democrat one-party rule. That is why hard-working, productive New Yorkers are fleeing our state in record numbers. Our plan offers practical, achievable solutions for improving all of these issues and reversing the damage of the past five years. It needs to be enacted before it’s too late,” said Senator George Borrello, SD 57th.

“As more and more people flee our state, it is clear that policies adopted under one party control are not working. We must place a greater emphasis on making our state more affordable and attractive for residents and businesses by controlling spending and rejecting tax increases. We must also re-examine recent changes to our criminal justice system which have taken discretion away from judges and put the rights of criminals above the rights of law abiding citizens. New Yorkers deserve and demand better,” said Senator Patrick Gallivan, SD 60th.

“One-party control has resulted in many misguided and out-of-touch policies that have had a detrimental effect on our state and forced many New Yorkers to flee for better opportunities elsewhere. We have seen criminals and illegal migrants prioritized over law-abiding citizens while burdensome taxes, mandates and regulations continue to crush families, businesses and communities. A change in direction and a different approach is needed, as I have continued to advocate. Our plan will provide a new hope for New Yorkers and offers sensible solutions that will make New York more affordable, provide for greater economic opportunity, improve public safety and build a stronger, better and more prosperous state,” said Senator Joseph Griffo, SD 53rd.

“Affordability and public safety continue to be the top two priorities and concerns my constituents share with me. They are asking us to make it safer and more affordable to live and do business in New York State. I have put forth proposals to tackle these issues and will continue to fight against policies and mandates that crush our families, farmers, small businesses, and local communities,” said Senator Pam Helming, Chair of the Republican Conference, SD 54th.

“Whether it’s punishing commuters with congestion pricing, a smash and grab shoplifting epidemic, thousands of illegal immigrants flooding our streets or out of control spend and tax policies, it’s clear one-party rule in Albany is devastating New York. Every special interest group seems to have more of a voice than the hard-working taxpayers of our great state. This plan is our pledge to restore our voices and bring common sense back to our state. Let’s get it done,” said Senator Jack Martins, Vice Chair of the Senate Republican Conference, SD 7th.

“From enacting a senseless gas ban to weakening public safety to allowing uncontrolled migration, one-party rule is clearly failing and forcing our residents to decide if they are able to raise their families here.  Our plan will bring common sense back to our state and show all who live and work here that New York can and must do better.  We owe it to those who elected us to do all we can to enhance their lives and to work together to accomplish that goal,” said Senator Mario R. Mattera, SD 2nd.

“There’s no time to waste, we are losing family and friends on a daily basis as more and more New Yorker’s are fleeing this one-party rule and their radical policies. We must pass common sense legislation like “A New Hope for the Empire State” legislative agenda for 2024, to once again make New York affordable, safe, and a place where we can thrive,” said Senator Dean Murray, SD 3rd.

“Every day I hear from constituents who tell me they are packing their bags and leaving New York, it is a trend that we must halt.  The time is now to reverse the damage done over the last several years thanks to one party rule in Albany and deliver crucial changes that people deserve.  Government needs to be accountable to real concerns and our 2024 agenda meets that fundamental demand,” said Senator Peter Oberacker, SD 51st.

“We face an affordability crisis.  We face a border crisis.  Law and order is in free fall.  The Albany Democrat direction for New York simply fails to produce any hope for a long-term, sustainable future for communities, families, workers, businesses, industries, and taxpayers.  New York is a state in decline that continues to become less safe, free, affordable, economically competitive, responsible, and far less strong for the future. We are at a dangerous crossroads and we must enact an across-the-board agenda to cut taxes, address affordability, and rebuild stronger and safer communities,” said Senator Tom O’Mara, SD 58th.

“I am proud to stand with my New York State Senate Republicans colleagues to advance a robust agenda that will enhance public safety and address affordability issues impacting the state.  The vast majority of New Yorkers want a return to common sense criminal justice policies that put the needs of law enforcement, crime victims and law-abiding citizens before criminals, and economic policies that provide relief, not additional burdens. 2024 is a new year, and an opportunity to deliver for the hardworking men and women who call the Empire State home,” said Senator Anthony Palumbo, SD 1st.

“There's no greater evidence that New York State is headed in the wrong direction than the fact that more people moved out of New York than any other state in the country. This plan provides the roadmap to put New York State back on the right track; prioritizing public safety, making New York more affordable, and investing in the right priorities. Governor Hochul and the Democrat majorities in the state legislature need to adopt this legislative agenda, because doubling down on the same failed policies will only drive more people out of New York and further deteriorate the quality of life for those who remain,” said Senator Steven Rhoads, SD 5th.

“My Republican colleagues and I are laser-focused on solving problems and cleaning up the mess years of radical, one-party rule created in Albany. Thanks to Albany's extreme policies, the cost-of-living crisis is putting the American Dream out of reach, our communities are less safe, and parents and other local voices are routinely ignored. I'm fighting to change this, starting with a clear-eyed view of New York's real problems and a willingness to apply a common-sense approach to fix them. I'll continue to deliver on these and other goals in 2024,” said Senator Rob Rolison, SD 39th.

“From crime rates to economic stagnation and declining population rates, it’s clear that New York State is heading in the wrong direction. Rather than continue the same unsafe, failing policies, it’s time to pursue a new direction that makes our communities safer and helps grow our economy. I’m proud to join my Senate Republican colleagues in advancing an agenda that would accomplish exactly that,” said Senator Dan Stec, SD 45th.

“There can be no greater example that our beautiful state needs a dramatic course correction than the fact that over 101,000 people escaped from New York last year, leading the nation in out-migration of population, with over 631,000 people leaving the state since the pandemic.  New Yorkers need and deserve a holistic agenda change in state government to stop the hemorrhaging by creating an environment that is conducive to making the Empire State more affordable, safer, and a place that enables opportunities for economic growth and protects people’s quality of life,” said Senator Jim Tedisco, SD 44th.

“If you're trying to find the reason why so many people have fled the state, why New Yorkers don't feel safe and continue to get nickeled and dimed to death, look no further than Albany Democrats.  For the past five years, one-party rule has continuously put the rights of criminals ahead of victims, borrowed on the backs of our grandchildren's grandchildren to pay for record spending in state budgets.  I could go on.  Our plan offers real solutions and a path forward to make New York less expensive and more business-friendly,” said Senator Mark Walczyk, SD 49th.

“My constituents in Rockland County have had it with Albany. The policies and budgets adopted by radical progressives over the past few years are the cause of our current crisis. We need steady and serious leadership to turn this around. That’s why Rockland voters elected me to the Senate, and it is the focus of my efforts," said Senator Bill Weber, SD 38th.

“More and more New Yorkers are fleeing our state to find a safer and more affordable life for their families. Democrats have doubled down on their failed policies of overspending, undermining public safety, and disregarding common sense. The Republican Conference is offering solutions such as making the Property Tax Rebate program permanent and protecting hate crime victims during the discovery process. It is time to hold Democrats accountable for their failure to reconsider ineffective policies,” said Senator Alexis Weik, SD 8th.

Tenney issues statement on the removal of Speaker Kevin McCarthy

By Press Release

Press Release:

File photo of
Claudia Tenney

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-24) today released the following statement on the removal of Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the upcoming House Republican leadership race. 

"The American people are fed up with political gamesmanship and dysfunction in Washington," said Congresswoman Tenney. "Sadly, a small group of Republicans teamed up with the Democrats to plunge our conference into a leadership race and sideline our effort to pass conservative appropriations bills.

"Instead of working together to pass spending cuts, gain operational control of our borders, rein in Biden’s bloated bureaucracy, and hold the corrupt Biden family accountable through oversight functions, Republicans will remain divided amid important negotiations with Biden and Schumer. Speaker McCarthy’s magnanimous and courageous decision to step aside gives Republicans one last chance to unify, come together, elect a speaker, and deliver conservative wins for the American people."

Pavilion Republicans seeking person to run for Town Supervisor

By Billie Owens

Press release:

The Pavilion Republican Committee is seeking civic-minded individuals interested in serving as the Town Supervisor for the Town of Pavilion. The term would start in 2019. 

If you are interested in running, please send a cover letter and resume to:

Town of Pavilion Republican Committee, c/o Kevin Clary, Box 28, Pavilion, NY 14525 or email

Local republicans host party's gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino for meet and greet on Aug. 12

By Billie Owens

The Genesee County Women's Republican Club and the Genesee County Republican Committee will be hosting a meet and greet with Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Rob Astorino on Tuesday, Aug. 12th at the Batavia Downs Clubhouse, 8315 Park Road, Batavia.

Time is 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Cost is $10 per person with tickets available at the door and each person will receive $25 voucher for free play. Hors d'oeuvres and cash bar will be available. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Event Date and Time

Republicans' 56th annual Fall Dinner is this Thursday at Terry Hills - RSVP

By Billie Owens

Press release:

The Genesee County Republican Committee and the Genesee County Women’s Republican Club invite everyone to attend their 56th annual Fall Dinner, which will be held on Thursday, Oct. 25 at Terry Hills Banquet Facility, 5122 Clinton St. Road, Batavia.

Keynote speaker will be Thomas Doherty, a partner of Mercury – an industry leading, high stakes public strategy firm.

The evening starts with hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m.
Cost is $30 per person or $55 per couple.

For more information or to make a reservation please call Michele Smith at 494-1548.

Terreri: Corwin gets GOP nod in NY-26

By Howard B. Owens

Democrat & Chronicle reporter Jill Terreri, who is covering the NY-26 election, just tweeted that Assemblywoman Jane Corwin has won the GOP endorsement for the anticipated special election to replace Chris Lee.

Terreri's tweet says it's based on information she obtained from Bill Reilich, Monroe County Republican chairman.

For our previous report on the GOP bids for the nomination, click here.

GOP leaders vow to move quickly on picking candidate to run for NY-26

By Howard B. Owens

Regional GOP leaders expect to name a candidate to run in a special election for Chris Lee's former seat within eight or nine days, said Nick Langworthy, Erie County GOP chairman following a two-hour meeting of county chairs at Batavia's South Beach Restaurant.

"We need to nominate somebody in short order because we believe the election will be held some time in the next six to eight weeks," Langworthy said.

Added Monroe County Chairman Bill Reilich, "Governor Cuomo is not Governor Paterson. He knows we need representation in Washington."

Last year, residents of the 29th Congressional District went eight months without representation because Gov. Paterson refused to call a special election. In that case, Democrats feared losing the seat to Republicans. In this case, some Democrats think they have a fighting chance to take the 26th District.

The GOP county chairs said candidates for the Republican nomination will be interviewed in one week by 21 GOP leaders from throughout the region.  

Any candidate who wants to be considered, Langworthy said, should contact his or her county chair and provide a letter of intent and resume.

"All candidates will be considered," Langworthy said.

Also attending today's meeting were: Mike Norris, Niagara County; Ed Morgan, Orleans County; Gordon Brown, Wyoming County; and Don Read, representing Genesee County while chairman Dick Seibert is on medical leave.

Photos: Republicans open headquarters on Jackson Street

By Howard B. Owens

Genesee County Republicans gathered at 5 Jackson St. today to officially open their local campaign headquarters.

More than 100 people showed up, according to Legislator Jay Grasso, who added that many new faces were in the crowd.

Above, Steve Hawley, left and County Clerk Don Read with a member of the party.

Republican Party Headquarters Grand Opening

By Billie Owens

The Republican Party's local headquarters will have its Grand Opening beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 9. It is located at 5 Jackson St., just around the corner from Main Street downtown.

Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer and Assemblyman Steve Hawley will be there. Refreshments and hors d'ouerves will be available.

So will lawn signs, brochures and bumper stickers supporting Ranzenhofer, Hawley and candidates Carl Paladino and Dan Burling.

Paladino endorsed on steps of Old County Courthouse

By WBTA News

(by Dan Fischer)
Many Genesee County Republicans are throwing their support behind Carl Paladino for Governor.

Genesee County GOP Chair Richard Seibert, surrounded by a host of GOP loyalists, announced his endorsement of Paladino today.

Speaking on the steps of the Old County Courthouse, Paladino recognized agriculture as Genesee County’s number one industry. He says, as governor, he would support local farmers.

"If the farms are going to expand," he declared, "and they illustrate to us that they will reinvest their taxable profits back into the business, we're going to give them a tax holiday. We're going to share that cost with them, and it's going to be done equitably and fairly."

Paladino says if elected, he plans to halt the Mosque project at Ground Zero.

"I'm saying that as of January 1, I don't care what (stage of development) the project is in, I will stop it. And I will use what ever legal means I have available to me to stop it. It's an affront to the American people, it's an affront to the families that were lost at Ground Zero."

Paladino has petitioned his way into the Republican primary against former Congressman Rick Lazio.

Paladino to receive endorsement of county GOP chairman

By WBTA News

Candidate for governor Carl Paladino will be appearing in Batavia at 1 p.m. to receive the personal endorsement of Genesee County Republican Party Committee Chairman Richard Siebert.

County GOP Vice Chairman Don Read and County Treasurer Scott German will also be on hand to give their personal endorsements to Paladino.

A Buffalo businessman, Paladino is running in the Republican Party primary and is also attempting to found his own political party in New York, to be called the Taxpayers Party.

Batavia Republicans set two public forums

By Billie Owens

The City of Batavia Republican Committee has set up two nights to meet the At-Large Republican Candidates. The first night is at the Polish Falcons at 7 p.m. on Thursday Oct. 1. The second night will be at 7 p.m. on Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. at Notre Dame.

All three Republican candidates -- Ferrando, Clattenburg and Buckley -- will be there.

Event Date and Time

Lee quotes Perry businesswoman in speech to Congress

By Philip Anselmo

From the office of Rep. Chris Lee:

In a speech today on the House floor, Congressman Chris Lee (NY-26) read a message from a small business owner in Wyoming County to demonstrate the need for action on a swift, effective, and fiscally responsible recovery plan that creates jobs in Western New York:

Lee denounces "bloated" stimulus package; local Dems respond

By Philip Anselmo

Congressman Chris Lee spoke yesterday against the $819 billion economic stimulus package that passed the House yesterday by a vote of 244-188—not a single Republican voted in favor of the measure, along with eleven Democrats who also disapproved. His office sent us this video of that speech.

From the press release issued by Lee's office:

Congressman Lee supports an economic stimulus plan that works swiftly and effectively while spending Western New Yorkers’ hard-earned tax dollars wisely. That’s why he voted this evening for an alternative measure that includes immediate tax relief for working families, help for America’s small businesses, assistance for the unemployed, stabilization of home values, and no tax increases to pay for spending. Congressman Lee helped craft this alternative measure as part of a working group of Republican lawmakers appointed by House leaders to present ideas to President Obama for inclusion in a bipartisan stimulus plan.

Since being sworn-in to office, Congressman Lee has been gathering information on the stimulus plan, evaluating dozens of proposals, and carefully considering the best ideas for creating jobs in Western New York. He has met with and solicited input from community leaders, economic experts, and constituents. He will discuss his views on the stimulus plan in a live telephone town hall meeting to be held this evening with residents in all seven counties of the 26th district.

Lee calls for more to be done to spur job growth and protect the unemployed. He calls for more tax cuts and less spending. And he claims that not enough is being done to provide tax relief for the middle class. These sound like great points: more jobs, better protection, more relief, fewer burdens—all good stuff.

Yet, confusingly, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claims that the current bill does all of those things. Her Web site lists "tax cuts for American families" that would total $185 billion over the next 10 years. Such cuts would include immediate relief "to 95 percent of American workers through a refundable tax credit of up to $500 per worker ($1,000 per couple filing jointly).... These tax cuts would be distributed to millions of families by reducing tax withholding from workers’ paychecks."

Furthermore, she cites "business tax incentives to create jobs and spur investment" that would total $20 billion over the next ten years. "This would allow businesses to write off 90% of losses incurred in 2008 and 2009 against taxes assessed over the previous five years." What's more, "this would not be available to companies that have benefited under the TARP."

Of course, there is plenty else mentioned in Pelosi's breakdown that doesn't sound so rosy. If the situation is as dire as we're being told, should we be fronting a $6 billion broadband expansion? What about $650 million for television upgrades? Lee's office sent us this list of other "egregious spending" included in the bill:

• $1 billion for the follow-up to the 2010 Census.
• $600 million to buy new cars for government workers.
• $462 million for equipment, construction, and renovation of facilities at the Centers for Disease Control.
• $335 million for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.
• $50 million in funding for the National Endowment of the Arts.
• $44 million for repairs to U.S. Department of Agriculture headquarters.

I don't know if all of these count as instances of egregious spending—$50 million for the NEA is nothing compared with $650 to keep people watching television. Furthermore, there's so much money, ludicrous amounts of money, that this bill seeks to release in the name of modernization. Sincerely, at one point, in Pelosi's breakdown, a use given for some of the funds is literally: to "create new modernization ... programs." What!?

For the scrappy among you, you can visit the topics page on the economic stimulus put together by the New York Times. On it, there is a link to the full text of the bill.

Of course, area Democrats were quick to respond to Lee's no vote. They issued the following statement yesterday evening:

Democrats in the GLOW Counties (Genesee, Livingston, Orlean, and Wyoming) reacted this evening to Congressman Chris Lee's (NY 26) vote against the stimulus package that was approved tonight by the House of Representatives.

Phil Jones, the Livingston County Democratic Chair, stated, "We are extremely disappointed that Chris Lee chose to put party discipline over the needs of the people of the 26th District and the entire nation tonight by voting against the recovery plan. We face new layoff announcements in the thousands every day in this economy, but following his party's marching orders seems more important to Mr. Lee than trying to implement constructive solutions." 

Genesee County Democratic Chair Lorie Longhany noted the fact that President Obama and Democrats in Congress had consistently worked to gain Republican support for the stimulus bill, adding additional tax cuts and getting rid of some specific spending to which Republicans objected. "But the Republicans, and regrettably Congressman Lee, decided they would rather oppose all efforts and simply obstruct all good faith attempts to work with them. Things are tough; we don't have time for these games." 

Harold Bush, the Democratic Chair of Wyoming County, pointed out, "President Obama even went to Capitol Hill itself in an attempt to get at least some of the Republicans to work together with him on economic recovery.  It's a shame Chris Lee didn't put the interests of our district ahead of those of his party leadership."

Jeanne Crane, who is Chair of the Orleans County Democratic Committee, agreed. "We have always had representatives in this district who were more concerned with serving their party than serving us. It's a shame that hasn't changed."

Schumer says passage of stimulus bill will bring $1.6 billion upstate

By Philip Anselmo

The big news this morning, for sure, is the passage of the $819 billion stimulus package by the U.S. House of Representatives. We have yet to see what the Senate will do, but this thing is sure to climb through the ranks and get the presidential signature soon enough.

Throughout the day today, we'll take a look at some of the details of the package, both at the federal, the state and the local level. We will here what our representative in Congress, Chris Lee, has to say about the bill. We will get a response to Lee's vote against the package from some local Democrats. We will also look to get your opinion on this topic, so please keep an eye out for today's poll, which I hope to get up later this morning.

Let's start out with a broad look at what the stimulus package means for the nation. This is from the New York Times:

At first, it will trickle into paychecks in small, barely perceptible amounts: perhaps $12 or $13 a week for many American workers, in the form of lower tax withholding.

For the growing ranks of the unemployed, it will be more noticeable: benefit checks due to stop will keep coming, along with an extra $25 a week.

At the grocery store, a family of four on food stamps could find up to $79 more a month on their government-issued debit card.

And far bigger sums will appear, courtesy of Washington, on budget ledgers in state capitals nationwide: billions of dollars for health care, schools and public works.

Speaking of billions in health care and school aid, Sen. Chuck Schumer put out a release yesterday detailing the chunk of change due to come to upstate New York—$1.6 billion over the next two years. (Don't know about anyone else, but these numbers are always so staggering. If anyone knows of a good source that looks into how the government can come up, hocus pocus, with nearly a trillion dollars every time things start to look grim, please let me know.)

From Sen. Schumer:

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will send nearly $1.6 billion over two years to Upstate New York counties in direct budget and education funding. Right now, the stimulus is expected to include $737 million in federal Medicaid relief for Upstate New York counties to help ease pressure on the overall budget, as well as a minimum of $860 million in education aid.

Western New York is due to see $70.4 million in budget relief for Medicaid and $175 million in school aid, according to Schumer's office. At the end of the release, we're told that the Senate will likely vote on the package next week in the hopes of getting the final draft to the president by President's Day, February 16.

We will get up part two of our look at the stimulus package later this morning. Please be sure to check back. In the meantime, you may want to check out the New York Times Web site, where they have put together an informative graphic that includes some audio commentary from some economists on how the nation handled past recessions.

Lee makes first floor speech: Urges Congress not to "rubber stamp"

By Philip Anselmo

Rep. Chris Lee read his first speech on the House floor last night to "urge Congress not to rubber stamp another $350 million in taxpayer funds for the struggling Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)," according to a statement released by his office this morning. TARP is the official name for the financial assistance package put together by the Fed last year to purchase the infamous "toxic assets" in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis—better known to all of us as: the bailout.

(A quick aside here: Does anyone else see the irony in the acronym? Sure, a tarp can be strung over some poles and shade the backyard crew for a summer barbecue. But isn't a tarp more commonly found in the cluttered garage thrown over the broken lawnmower and the 80 pounds of manure still waiting to fertilize the garden out back that hasn't pushed out a bud in half a dozen seasons? Am I pushing this metaphor too far?)

We've decided to include the full text of Lee's speech here for you to glean from what you will. I'll keep my opinion out of this one. You can also view a poorly synched video of Lee delivering the speech, if you're not in the mood to read right now.

“Taxpayer dollars must be spent with accountability and transparency. To date, the Troubled Asset Relief Program – commonly known as TARP – has failed to meet this common-sense standard of fiscal responsibility.

“TARP was established last fall as an emergency plan to prop up the ailing financial markets. But today, we have far more questions than answers.

“Taxpayers have already lost $64 billion on the first round of investments made through TARP.

“The new administration has asked this Congress to double down on TARP and rubber stamp another $350 billion without credible assurances of future results.

“With a $1.2 trillion deficit on the books and a nearly $1 trillion stimulus package looming, these are resources we cannot afford to spend without responsible oversight.

“Western New York’s economy is in a perilous state. What we need right now is swift, bipartisan action that creates jobs and spurs future growth, not another bloated Washington program that overpromises and underdelivers.

“I hope my colleagues will reject any attempt to rubber stamp the TARP program and ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely, not wastefully.”

Spectating History: My Thoughts On Witnessing The Inauguration

By Daniel Jones

On a briskly cold day in January at around 5:45 AM, I pulled up to 17th Ave and L Street, which isn't far from Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC.  The atmosphere was serene, almost quiet, yet one could feel the excitement bubbling out from the anticipating crowds making their way down Pennsylvania Avenue to the national mall.  A few minutes later, I received a call from a WBTA (a local radio station) asking for some of my the moment that he called I looked forward and saw a majestic site, I rubbed my eyes and in the twilight, saw the White House.  It all started to hit me then, the history that was being made, the greatness of America, the civility that we possess in this country, where the most powerful among us willingly gives up his power. Despite all that we had been through, there it was, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, ready for its next occupant.

We made our way to the national mall, first passing through the area around the Washington Monument, we ran into some very helpful volunteers, girl scouts, boy scouts (a favorite of mine, given that I'm an Assistant Scoutmaster) and just regular people. Some offered directions, some gave out maps, some cheered on to “fire up” the crowds and others offered a friendly “hello”.  Then came the street vendors, there was absolutely no end to the people selling Obama, well, everything, a person whom I was sharing the experience with referred to the event as “Obama-palooza” partially because of this, Obama buttons (I bought a few), Obama T-Shirts, Obama hoodies, if you can imagine just about anything, it was there with our new President's name on it.  After making our way through the crowds it was still relatively early, we arrived at the spot that we would call home for the next 6 hours or so at around 7AM, it was a good spot, close the National Observatory yet still about a half a mile away from the capitol.  The distance wasn't really relevant, jumbotrons and speakers had been set up throughout the mall and as far back as the Lincoln memorial so everyone could see the event.

This may be the most shocking part of all, the crowd, in addition to being extremley diverse, with every group represented (Young, Old, Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, Indian etc), all were also extremely polite.  After the event I learned that despite the large attendance there hadn't been one arrest....and I never saw behavior that would warrant an arrest either. I saw nor experienced any pushing, shoving, fighting or even argument, everyone that needed to get by provided a polite “excuse me” and passed through.  That also being said, the excitement was in the air for sure, people were shouting, cheering and even singing in anticipation of the arrival of the President elect, that all being said, it wasn't “crazy” at all.  I received a few text messages asking if the situation was “crazy”, but inact, because of the politeness and almost serenity of the crowd, it really wasn't.  No one got violent or even upset, it was an atmosphere of togetherness, a friend of mine likened it to a “football game where we're all rooting for the same team”.  He had it right on.

As the hours approached, we we're entertained by a replay of the concert broad casted on HBO on the Sunday before, this added to our excitement and almost feeling of community amongst the crowd.  We were standing next to a group of people from Greensboro, North Carolina and we couldn't have asked to have had a better “neighbors” per say for the event.  They were just as excited as we were, not only that Barack Obama had won their home state and that he got elected President but that on this day, the spirit of American renewal was upon us all.

Time continued to pass and soon, the moment was beginning to arrive and the dignitaries began to pour in.  As they appeared on the jumbotron before the crowd, the reactions went from rousing to amusing. Firstly, Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman were soundly booed (so was President Bush, but not as badly), as Cheney was wheeled out onto the stage, all that I could help to think of was Mr. Potter from “It's a Wonderful Life” and Lieberman, well, I can imagine that the crowd was still not too happy about his endorsement of John McCain.  I do wish in many ways that this would not happen, but it gives a clear snapshot of the opinion of the current administration, even a normally unpopular administrations faces wouldn't be booed at an inauguration, but this shows the new low in popularity and the general divisiveness that Bush, Cheney, Lieberman and co. have brought upon this Country.  It also showed the real need for renewal, at that moment I realized that we needed this Presidency.  The time couldn't have come sooner.

The other reactions we're fine, John McCain received nominal cheers, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton (being the last Democratic Presidents) were given roaring receptions and even George HW Bush was cheered. During all of this, everyone's favorite celebrity began to appear on the screens.  Everyone from Oprah and Jay-Z to Bruce Springsteen were all present.  I usually loath to get hyped up about celebrities, but in this case we saw a number of high profile people who showed an interest in civics and stood for patriotism, perhaps this is a good example that they can set for years to come.

The big moment came, and it came with force, for the rest of my life I will now be able to say when Barack Obama took the oath of office that I was there, standing among a crowd that Martin Luther King Jr. would be so proud to see, surrounded by “Black Men and White Men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics,”, all people from different walks of life standing together in solidarity, supporting our new President, celebrating the casting off of the old and applying the new.  A professor of mine said that this inauguration was more about the “seeing” than the “hearing”, I can't help but totally agree.  This was the clear moment of change, this is when America renewed itself, this was when Barack Obama, who described himself as a “skinny black kid with a funny name” after a dynamic campaign took the office that he had earned through hard work and determination.

This was when Barack Obama became the President of the United States. Being there for that alone is a privilege itself worth a thousand lifetimes, it is something that I surely will remember with a sense of inspiration, a moment that said above all else embodied the true spirit of this country “With hard work, you can do anything that you try,”.

God bless America.


Lee appointed to Economic Recovery Solutions Working Group

By Philip Anselmo

From the Office of U.S. Rep. Chris Lee (NY - 26):

Congressman Chris Lee (NY-26) has been appointed by House Republican leaders to serve on an economic recovery solutions working group that has been tasked with developing constructive ideas to help put the nation’s economy on the path to recovery. Congressman Lee is the only newly elected member named to the working group.

“This working group provides Western New Yorkers with an opportunity to have their voices heard on the front lines of our economic recovery,” Congressman Lee said. “I believe that my business experience will help me bring to the table new ideas for creating jobs and easing the strain on middle-class families and small business owners.”

The working group is being headed up by Congressman Eric Cantor (R-VA), the House Republican Whip, who commented on Congressman Lee’s appointment: “I am pleased to announce that Congressman Lee has been selected to serve as a member of the economic solutions working group. The group was formed in response to President-elect Obama’s request that Republicans offer ideas to help put America back on the path to prosperity.”

Congressman Cantor is the second-ranking House Republican.
“The ultimate goal of this working group is to present ideas to the President-elect and Democrat leaders that could be included in a bipartisan economic recovery package,” Congressman Lee added. “We should not squander this opportunity to work across party lines and craft an economic recovery package that strikes the right balance between short-term stimulus and long-term growth.”

As part of his participation in the working group, Congressman Lee will attend a hearing on Thursday morning featuring top national experts and leaders, including former Gov. Mitt Romney. Gov. Romney and other panelists will offer innovative ideas and solutions to help revitalize America’s economy.
“As a business leader and former governor, Mitt Romney knows what Washington should – and should not – be doing to create jobs and spur future growth,” Congressman Lee added. “I look forward to hearing his ideas for how we can revitalize our economy.” 

Congressman Lee’s appointment to the working group comes less than a week after he was named to the House Financial Services Committee, which will play a leading role in creating new jobs and strengthening our economy. Financial Services is the go-to panel on housing, insurance, and banking issues; it oversees the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The committee is expected to have a robust legislative agenda in addressing the severe challenges facing America’s economy and financial institutions.

To learn more about Congressman Lee and the 26th district, visit

Rural Democrats respond to Chris Lee's first week in office

By Philip Anselmo

We received the following statement, issued by the Genesee, Livingston, Wyoming and Orleans Democratic Committee Chairs.

The Democrats of the rural counties of New York's 26th Congressional District (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming Counties, or the GLOW region,) congratulate Chris Lee on being sworn in to represent the district in the 111th Congress.  While he is getting established in Washington, the GLOW county Democratic Committees note that Congressman Lee's plans to open offices in just Monroe and Erie Counties suggest there is a good chance that the rural areas of the district, which comprise a great deal of the 26th, may continue to be overlooked despite there being new representation in Congress.

Mr. Lee has issued a statement announcing that he has been named to the Financial Services Committee, the committee assignment he sought.  Unfortunately, membership on that committee precludes his serving on any of the other important committees in Congress.  (Most members of Congress sit on multiple committees, but members of the Financial Services Committee do not.)  "What our communities really need is a representative on the Agriculture Committee, like the 29th District will have with Eric Massa," says Harold Bush, Chair of the Wyoming County Democratic Committee.  The Genesee County Democratic Committee Chair, Lorie Longhany, says "I am concerned that Congressman Lee is in danger of simply perpetuating a long Washington tradition of being more interested in Wall Street than Main Street.  The fact that two of his very first votes were against closing pay discrimination loopholes -- he voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fairness Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act -- makes me even more on my guard about his commitment to average people."

The other matter of great concern to the GLOW-region Democratic Committees is that Congressman Lee may not be supportive enough of passing the stimulus plan that is the first item on Congress' agenda.  "He never talks about a recovery plan without worrying out loud about 'fiscal responsibility,'" says Phil Jones, Chair of the Livingston County Democratic Committee.  "But 'fiscal responsibility' has become the Republican code phrase for obstructing what we really need in this district, which is jobs.  The Republicans had plenty of chances to be fiscally responsible when they were in control of Congress and the economy wasn't in dire straits.  But economic experts agree that temporary government spending is the only thing that can help turn around our economic situation."  The Orleans County Democratic Chair, Jeanne Crane, notes that public investment in infrastructure and green energy projects could benefit the 26th district for years to come.  "Smart public investments can lead to real, tangible assets for our community, assets that will attract jobs and growth.  We hope Congressman Lee understands that and will support the kind of stimulus package we need."

Could the 26th go Blue?

By Philip Anselmo

One of our readers this morning turned our attention to an article from the Washington Post, which claims that nationwide "struggles" faced by Sen. John McCain are causing problems for Republicans in Congressional races around the country.

Particularly difficult for Republican prospects is that McCain appears to be trailing badly in several moderate suburban districts across the Midwest and New England, while he is doing worse than President Bush did in rural conservative districts.


Democrats hold a 51 to 49 edge in the Senate when the two independents who caucus with them are factored in, and a 236 to 199 House majority. Rothenberg predicted that Democrats will pick up 27 to 33 House seats, and make gains of six to nine seats in the Senate. The Cook Political Report, another independent political forecaster, suggests that Democrats will net 23 to 28 House seats, and pick up seven to nine Republican-held Senate seats.

Normally, this would be a topic for our Nation & World section, but this article calls out our very own 26th District as a potential upset in a region that many would have considered a GOP stronghold.

In New York's 26th District, internal GOP polls show McCain trailing (Sen. Barack) Obama by a narrow margin, sources said. Bush won the Buffalo-based district by 12 percentage points in 2004. The race to replace retiring Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds (R-N.Y.) is considered a tossup.

In that race, Democrat Alice Kryzan will square off against Republican Chris Lee, who himself has been criticized for a lack of visibility since getting the Republican nod with little effort earlier this year.

A post on the Albany Project today takes up this same issue. It turns out the Democratic Congressional Compaign Committee recently pumped $475,340 into the race for the 26th, compared with the $27,918 put up by the National Republican Congressional Committee. That same post claims that the race has now been predicted to swing to the Democrats.

What do you think? Could the GOP lose their grip on the 26th District come Tuesday? Does a lead by Obama equate to an advantage for Kryzan? What are the factors that will decide this vote one way or another Tuesday?

Authentically Local