Good Morning from Galveston, Texas (the birthplace of Juneteenth)…

Last week, Governor Hochul signed a sweeping legislative package that expands legal protections for people seeking and providing abortions in New York. All this in anticipation of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Highlights of the six bill package include prohibiting medical malpractice insurance companies from taking adverse action against a reproductive health provider; prohibiting misconduct charges against healthcare practitioners for providing reproductive health services to patients who reside in states where such services are illegal; and a bill to allow providers to enroll in a confidentiality program.

“Today, we are taking action to protect our service providers from the retaliatory actions of anti-abortion states and ensure that New York will always be a safe harbor for those seeking reproductive healthcare. New York has always been a beacon for those yearning to be free. And I want the world to hear — loud and clear — that will not change,” said Governor Hochul.  Read more on the full package here.

GOP Gubernatorial hopefuls traded blows in the NY GOP debate. The debate featured businessman and former Republican Candidate for State Comptroller Harry Wilson, Long Island Congressional Rep. Lee Zeldin, former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, and ex-Trump White House Aide Andrew Giuliani. Giuliani appeared remotely because he is not vaccinated against Covid-19.  The debate focused on the candidates conservative bona fides and Trump loyalty with Zeldin consistently calling Harry Wilson a “never Trumper” throughout the debate. “I won more votes and got closest to winning statewide than any Republican in the last 20 years running the most fiscally conservative platform in my lifetime,” Wilson said of his losing 2010 campaign for state comptroller against Democrat Tom DiNapoli.

Democratic candidates for Lieutenant Governor faced off in a decidedly more progressive debate. Former Hudson Valley Congressional Representative and current Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado and challengers Ana Maria Archila, an activist from Brooklyn who co-founded the immigrant rights group Make the Road NY, and Diana Reyes, who has served as a New York City Councilmember and Deputy Brooklyn Borough President, spent 90-minutes in a policy focused debate on everything from gun control to cryptocurrency to criminal justice reform.

Reyes and Archila focused on the barriers that the Albany establishment has presented to progressive victories. “As long as I’ve been organizing, the governors have been an obstacle to progress for the communities that I fight for. Having a lieutenant governor that is just quietly standing in the background does not help anyone,” said Archila. While Delgado focused on his experience: “The fact of the matter is I bring to bear a certain level of experience, a certain record. And when I come into this position, the expectation is I will be an active partner.”

Again last week, Governor Hochul sparred with rivals New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Long Island Congressional Representative Tom Suozzi in their second and final debate. Though Hochul remains the overwhelming favorite, Williams and Suozzi wasted no time attacking Hochul’s record from both the right and the left.

These debates set the stage for Tuesday’s Primary Election, the first of two primaries this year. As we have discussed in previous MMMs, court challenges to New York’s redistricting process resulted in boundaries being redrawn for the state Senate and Congress—those primaries will now be August 23rd.

So what’s at stake Tuesday?

Governor:

  • On the Democratic side, Governor Kathy Hochul is a strong favorite to hold off Long Island Congressional Rep. Tom Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.
  • In a more competitive race for the GOP nomination, the establishment favorite Member of Congress Lee Zeldin will take on businessman Harry Wilson, former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, and Andrew Giuliani, former Trump White House adviser and son of former NYC Mayor and Trump Counsel Rudy Giuliani. Polling shows Zeldin ahead, but Giuliani has strong name recognition while Wilson has been spending heavily on campaign advertising.

Lt. Governor:

  • The Lieutenant Governor race is also unsettled following former Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin’s resignation earlier in the year. Former Congress Member and current Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado faces a challenge from former City Councilmember Diana Reyes and Ana Maria Archila, a Brooklyn activist and co-founder of the powerful immigrant-rights group, Make the Road NY. Delgado has support from the Hochul campaign, the New York State Democratic Committee, and several powerful unions. Archila has racked up endorsements from electeds and progressive groups while Reyes has a long track record with voters.

New York State Assembly:

  • AD 75: Assembly Member Dick Gottfried, who has served his Manhattan district for over half a century and is the longest serving legislator in the State’s history, announced he would not be seeking reelection last December. The race to replace Gottfried has been fierce, pitting Gottfried’s chosen successor, Tony Simone, who has also been endorsed by his former boss, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, against Layla Law-Gisko—who has drawn attention with a real estate backed IE fighting Gov. Hochul’s redevelopment plan around Penn Station—and Harrison Marks, who worked on Governor Cuomo’s Reimagine NY Commission.
  • AD 95: The Westchester County Seat being vacated by 30-year incumbent Sandy Galef features a three-way primary: Dana Levenberg, the Ossining town supervisor who has Galef’s endorsement; Vanessa Agudelo, a climate organizer and the youngest council member in Peekskill’s history; and Westchester County legislator Colin Smith.
  • AD 103: Assembly Insurance Committee Chair Kevin Cahill—who has been in the Assembly since 1992—faces a challenge from Sarahana Srestha, a first generation from Nepal who is running to “change the culture in Albany.”

Read more on Tuesday’s primary from the Albany Times Union here with their 2022 New York State primary guide. Find your polling place here.

In Washington, D.C….

There was a weak deal on guns but, well, a deal. A bipartisan group of Senators were able to announce a framework for federal gun control legislation that would pair modest new gun restrictions with significant new mental health and school security investments. Twenty senators, evenly split between 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans, signed a statement announcing the framework deal. The move indicated that the agreement could have enough GOP support to defeat a filibuster. The group had hoped to translate that deal into legislation before the end of last week, but roadblocks remain, including the so-called “boyfriend loophole”—exclusions for people who have domestic violence convictions but are not married to their partner—and how “red flag” funding could be used by States.

More than 100 CEOS are pushing the Congressional Conference Committee to reach a deal and pass a China Competition Bill (here’s a recap from past MMMs) before the August Recess. “Our global competitors are investing in their industry, their workers, and their economies, and it is imperative that Congress act to enhance U.S. competitiveness,” said the letterHouse Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said that the Conference Committees hope to complete legislation by the end of the month.

As Democrats rush to get an agreement on Fiscal Year 2023 Appropriations before the end of 2022, the House Appropriations Committee began markups on their first set of bills—including Financial Services and General Government; Defense; Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies; Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; and Homeland Security. The Senate has indicated they hope to markup bills before the August Recess. Stay tuned….

And there were some eventful elections last week throughout the country. Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • There were surprising GOP incumbent performances. Rep. William Timmons, who no one considered to be in any real danger, appears to be headed to a runoff with prominent Trump ally Pastor Mark Burns, even though Trump actually endorsed Timmons. Timmons, unlike a number of GOP incumbents, has done nothing to alienate the conservative base.
  • Foreshadowing? There’s no question that the GOP is in line for major gains in the House in November. Republicans picked up their first seat last week in Texas, flipping the seat formerly held by Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela in the Special Election for the 34th Congressional District after Vela’s resignation. For the District itself, the race likely won’t mean much. The overwhelming favorite in November in the new even bluer district—Rep. Vicente Gonzalez—who wasn’t running last week. However, nationally, it could foreshadow the landslide everyone expects for the GOP.

Finally, the joy of a Juneteenth celebration has an even greater significance in a community trying to heal after unimaginable tragedy.

Joined by Governor Hochul, AG Tish James and other dignitaries, Buffalo’s East Side neighborhoods continued the long-running tradition of a parade and festival to mark the end of slavery in the United States. The event brought some much-needed happiness to a grieving city and a renewed hope for a brighter tomorrow.

-Jack O’Donnell

 

 

 

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Buffalo Victim’s Son Wants Juneteenth to Be a Call to Action

The son of 86-year-old Buffalo massacre victim Ruth Whitfield has told The Daily Beast that he hopes this year’s historic Juneteenth celebration will serve as a call to action to those in power around gun control and race relations in the U.S. “We’re not going to go quietly into the night,” declared Garnell Whitfield Jr. [Read more.]

 

Controversial Congressional Candidate Paladino is Scrubbed From His Own Firm’s Website

The company founded by controversial congressional candidate Carl Paladino has airbrushed him from the firm’s website. Ellicott Development — whose hotels are an “official partner” of the Buffalo Bills football team — makes no mention that Carl Paladino started the firm in the 1970s on its official site or Facebook page. [Read more.]

Image result for Tim Russert NBC. Size: 192 x 100. Source: www.nbcnews.com

Remembering Buffalo’s Own Tim Russert

Last week marked the 14th anniversary of the death of Tim Russert, the South Buffalo native and self-proclaimed Buffalo Bills fan who rose to fame at NBC News as Washington bureau chief and moderator of “Meet the Press.” In remembrance, we are sharing the video on his life and career created for the 29th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards. Watch here.