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Rebooting the NY State Senate

by Cliff Weathers

Last fall, 30 political activists from across the State of New York met in Albany to discuss the ongoing crisis in the New York State Senate. I was called to this meeting and asked to speak about the 38th State Senate District. There, we resolved that our State government is a disgrace: Senators fight over power and personal privilege to the exclusion of all else and New Yorkers suffer because of it. And we resolved to change this.

Our group has met several times since. Our first project was the Fire Monserrate campaign, an online movement calling on the ouster of State Senator Hiram Monserrate. We understood that expelling someone from an elected position wasn’t a task to be taken lightly. However, as Sen. Monserrate was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend, we felt circumstances dictated that the Senate had to act. Domestic violence, we agreed, has no place in society, let alone the Senate chamber.

Our online petition gathered about 2000 signatures which included many public officials and political office holders. We received countless emails of support and the media came calling to find out who we were and why we thought this was important. In some, not insignificant way, we believe we helped lead the effort which concluded in last Tuesday’s State Senate resolution to expel Monserrate from office.

While we’re pleased with this grassroots effort, we know that cleaning up the Senate doesn’t end with the expulsion of just one Senator. Our ad hoc group that met last fall has now become a full-fledged political action committee with the purpose of ousting many of our dysfunctional State Senators and replacing them with reform-minded individuals. We call our organization ReBootNY.

ReBootNY is dedicated to electing better State Senators; Senators who will change how business is done in that chamber so it benefits all New Yorkers instead of those who pay the price of admission to secret rooms of power. We have made it our mission to rebuild state government, with the Senate being our first, and most important task. We are working to elect new, honest, ethical leaders committed to reform so that elected officials can focus on their true mission; solving New York’s desperate problems and making it the best state it can be.

But 30 people can’t win this fight. We need thousands of New Yorkers to join us in our cause. I invite you to visit ReBootNY’s Web site, become our fan on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter. And last, it’s never been my style to ask for contributions, but if you are fortunate enough to have a few extra dollars in these hard times, please consider making a donation to ReBootNY. It would be money well spent to help put our state back on the right track.

Cross-posted at Rockland Progressive Dems.

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