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May 12, 2018 - 5:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Joan Elizabeth Seamans, SD-61, news, notify.

seamanssenateannouncemay2018_0.jpgThere are too many Republican votes in the State Senate that are holding back important reforms that will move New York forward and Joan Elizabeth Seamans would like to replace one of them.

She's got her eye on the District 61 seat currently occupied by Michael Ranzenhofer.

"It is time that we (Democrats) get another vote in that Senate so we can have sensible laws and things that benefit our community," Seamans told a group of activist women gathered for a political workshop at the Dibble Family Center in Batavia.

"We have high taxes. It's a Republican problem and I'm going to tell you why. As long as we keep having corporate welfare and sending money downstate to luxury developers and not investing in our people we have a problem."

Seamans said she is one of nine children from her family and that they grew up poor. At 13, she had to start earning her own money to buy clothes for school. She has been in business for herself her whole life and has served in various political and civic groups.

The issues she raised today included early voting, the opioid epidemic, health care (she favors single payer), criminal justice reform, and bail reform.

She said New York needs sensible gun laws and criticized Ranzenhofer for voting against bipartisan legislation that would bar people convicted of domestic violence from possessing guns.

"This is is what sensible gun reform is," she said, "yet my opponent voted against this legislation. His no vote is obscene and demonstrates a voting record that is not only out of touch but it is anti-woman."

The biggest reform Albany must tackle, she said, is campaign finance, particularly the LLC loophole, which enables large donors to establish multiple limited liability corporations to make donations to political candidates at the $60,000 limit for each.

She said a "luxury developer" downstate has donated $100,000 to Ranzenhofer.

"That corporation has received hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks," she said, and then added, "This is why we need campaign finance reform, because we have corporations supporting candidates who give tax breaks to the wealthiest down state when we when we need those resources back here in Western New York."

May 27, 2012 - 10:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, politics, SD-61, Justin Rooney.

Justin Rooney, a deputy supervisor in the Town of Newstead, announced Saturday that he will challenge incumbent Michael Ranzenhofer in the new 61st Senate District.

Appearing in his native Batavia on his second campaign stop of the day, Rooney was surrounded by local Democrats and joined by his wife, Sarah, and his children.

Rooney pledged support for school teachers and to fight unfunded mandates on local governments.

He said he would bring the same spirit of cooperation to Albany that helped the village and town governments in Newstead save taxpayers money on a consolidated court and shared services in the highway departments.

He contrasted that with votes by Ranzenhofer to hold separate state and federal primaries, costing taxpayers $50 million, and Ranzenhofer's vote to create another Senate district.

"At a time when New York is trying to decrease the number of politicians, he's voting to increase the number of politicians," Rooney said.

Rooney knocked Ranzenhofer as an Albany insider and promised that he would never become an Albany insider.

Lorie Longhany, county chair or the Democrats, said Rooney was just the person who could make a difference in Albany.

"He’s really one of us," Longhany said. "He’s a rural guy who understands the rural issues. He’s going to make a great representative."

November 4, 2008 - 10:09am

If you had to pick a race statewide that could determine what party has the majority in the New York State Senate, look no further than the 61st Senate District. Democratic candidate Joe Mesi is taking on Republican Mike Ranzenhofer in a very close and hotly contested race.

Tonight, Mesi held a gathering in Batavia. At left it was I encountered when I pulled up to park for the event. What I didn't get on camera was the half-dozen Ranzenhofer supporters that decided they would stand in front of the event's venue - Main Street Cafe - holding Ranzenhofer signs. Apparently they decided that since the Democrats had been doing it for awhile in front of their headquarters, they would do it on the eve of the election.

But inside the event was a great atmosphere. At its peak, the event had 40-50 people. There were people of all ages in attendance for pizza, mingling with Mesi and a nice enjoyable evening before Election Day.

Mesi also addressed the crowd. You can hear the bulk of his remarks in this video:  

I remember first meeting Joe Mesi. That was nearly seven months ago. You could tell then that he was still learning. He was educating himself about the important issues and told the story that led to his candidacy. His brother lost his job at American Axle and that motivated Mesi to run for office.

Since my interview with Mesi, he has evolved into quite a candidate. His Plan for Change is pure genius. I say that because he put his platform into an easy-to-read booklet that was available at his campaign headquarters and handed out tonight at the gathering. Candidates usually use basic talking points on the stump or ramble on about what their policy positions are. Instead of doing that, Mesi decided to put his plans and his positions on paper for the world to see. That way, if there are any questions about where he stands, you can refer to the booklet.

So why should the people of the 61st Senate District elect Joe Mesi their state senator? Mesi is genuine. He truly cares about Western New York. This is where he built his life. This is where he became a heavyweight boxer. This is where he became a local star. And this is where he wants to stay, raise his own family and better the region that has given so much to him. He will be a great state senator for Erie and Genesee counties and he will represent them well.

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