And in a historic first, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, an African-American woman, presides over the most diverse New York Senate in our history, and one in which a record number of women serve.
On the heels of the progressive electoral victories of last fall, it is time to start rebuilding a progressive New York State Democratic Party as well.
There will be an Interim Progressive Caucus meeting
Saturday, February 2nd, from 2 to 5 p.m.
at the law firm of Kaplan, Hecker,
located in the Empire State Building at 350 Fifth Avenue in midtown Manhattan.
The agenda will include plans to reform the State Party, with Rules and Bylaw Revision, to ensure full discussion and debate on issues of importance to the body and meaningful votes.
We will also discuss substantive policy goals, including changing Albany’s culture of sexual harassment through real investigations and passage of substantive laws, criminal justice reform, including cash bail and clemency for marijuana convictions, and efforts to address climate change. In addition, State Committee Member Rick Gell has created a political social networking platform that could enable all State Committee Members – and Democrats at all levels of office throughout New York – to easily communicate and organize with one another, which he hopes will be a prototype for a national model that he wishes to present to our body, and we have other invited guest speakers.
Governor Cuomo is now talking about making marijuana legal. At the Spring 2018 Convention, the Progressive Caucus passed a resolution to make marijuana legal.
The Progressive Caucus pushed the State Party for years to oppose the IDC, and finally passed a resolution calling for an end to the IDC and any direct or indirect Party support of its candidates. They are now gone.
We wrote to Speaker Heastie calling for the interim appointment of Barbara Underwood as New York Attorney General. It happened.
We’ve repeatedly called for an end to the corrupt pay-for-play Independence Party, and now Senator Biaggi – who tossed IDC leader Jeff Klein out of office – is sponsoring legislation to do just that.
At our founding meeting, the Progressive Caucus became the first Party entity to call for the removal of then-powerful but predatory Vito Lopez from the Democratic Party for his sexual harassment of female staffers. We then forced the State Party to officially support us, helping to catalyze Vito Lopez’s removal from office.
We have written resolutions on ethics reform, an end to fusion voting, ranked choice voting, By-laws Revision, protection of undocumented immigrants, passage of a Millionaire’s Tax, and support for rent control and stabilization, and demanded accountability of Party leadership and elected officials.
Since our inception in 2012, the Progressive Caucus has been the bellwether for progressive political change, and often the vanguard for such change. But there is obviously much more to be done.
With your help, we will continue to build on our work and help implement the progressive change we need within the Party itself and set our agenda for 2019. Join us on Saturday, February 2nd, from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, February 2nd, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the law firm of Kaplan, Hecker located in the Empire State Building at 350 Fifth Avenue in midtown Manhattan.
The Empire State Building security requires that all guests have passes, so please RSVP if you plan to come.
Rachel Lavine, Chair