Sunday, May 30, 2010

What a Great Day for a Parade

Crowds lined the streets of Theresa NY to watch what turned out to be a really nice parade. Both Assemblywoman Addie Russell and Jefferson County Sheriff John Burns had Democrats and Republicans (we won't call you out) marching in support of these great representatives.

The Down town was packed and all the children and some adults were excited to receive a balloon from the Assemblywoman and a really cool sticker from the Sheriff.

It was a great day!! We want to thank all those committee people, family members and elected officials for standing by these wonderful representatives! Please feel free to email if you'd like to tell us about a coming event in your area that you'd like to share. We'd be happy to post it and let all of our elected officials know about it as well.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Senate Passes Resolution Honoring Fallen Fort Drum Soldiers

Since the beginning of the Iraq War, more than 300 soldiers from Fort Drum have given their lives in service to our country in Iraq and Afghanistan. In honoring each of these brave soldiers in anticipation of Memorial Day, we pay tribute to all of the men and women who sacrifice so much to serve our country in our armed forces.

Join Senator Aubertine's Face Book by clicking HERE

DiNapoli: Don’t Use Debt to Balance State Budget

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today released an analysis showing that the current proposals for deficit financing would cost taxpayers up to $850 million in debt service annually. The additional borrowing would cost taxpayers $8 billion over the life of the debt and drive up projected out-year gaps, which are already projected to be more than $30 billion cumulatively for the next three year fiscal years. DiNapoli noted the state already pays nearly $6 billion in debt service annually.

“New York already has misused debt too often,” DiNapoli said. “When you borrow to close budget gaps, there’s nothing to show for it but the billions taxpayers pay out each year -- no roads, no schools, no bridges.

“And borrowing for this year does nothing to address next year’s budget gap. It’s time to put aside borrowing proposals and move forward with a budget that recognizes New York’s fiscal reality. Every day of delay is just more wasted time.”

New York’s current State-Funded debt level is $60.4 billion, which is projected to grow to $67 billion at the end of SFY 2014-15 even if the state doesn’t borrow to close this year’s budget gap. The state’s debt per capita is three times the national median and second highest in the nation among the largest states. Approximately $9.8 billion of outstanding debt was issued for past operating expenses and temporary budget relief. In SFY 2009-10, the state paid more than $1.1 billion in debt service for bonds that were issued for budget relief or for non-capital needs.

If the state issues $6 billion in 10-year deficit bonds, annual debt service costs for that new debt would range from $725 million to $850 million. If the debt is issued by the state’s public authorities as Personal Income Tax bonds, it would make the ratio of debt not been approved by voters even higher. DiNapoli noted that currently 94 percent of State-funded debt has been sold by public authorities without voter approval.

DiNapoli’s analysis noted the proposed borrowing could limit the state’s flexibility to address the state’s growing capital needs. In addition, any deficit financing proposal would have to be structured to circumvent the Debt Reform Act of 2000, which requires debt to be issued for capital purposes only.

DiNapoli urged the Executive and the Legislature to act on his fiscal reform proposals. DiNapoli said while it would be fiscally imprudent to borrow to close the deficit, it would be even more harmful if the Executive and the Legislature decided to borrow without any meaningful, comprehensive fiscal reforms that have been proposed.
See more on Comptroller DiNapoli by clicking HERE

Watch Andrew Cuomo's new Commercial for Governor

Aubertine Reaches Across the Aisle

Aubertine Holds Bipartisan Roundtable
on Legislation Intended to Limit New York’s
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Meeting expands dialogue with business groups to
better gauge bill’s impact and effectiveness

ALBANY (May 26, 2010)—State Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine, as chair of the Senate Majority’s Upstate Caucus and Vice-Chair/Ranking Majority Member of the Senate Energy & Telecommunications Committee, today opened dialogue on the Global Warming Pollution Control Act (S.4315-A) to include business interests from across the state.
The roundtable, which was held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday with Sen. George Maziarz of Newfane, the Energy Committee Chair, was convened as part of the Senator’s ongoing commitment to having an open, bipartisan and public debate on legislation that will have a broad impact on New York State.
“As we have done with other issues, this roundtable is aimed at collecting more information to help lawmakers make an educated decision on this wide ranging legislation,” Sen. Aubertine said. “Certainly, reducing greenhouse gas emissions must be on the agenda and we’ve taken some important steps to do this in a way that creates jobs, as was done with the Green Jobs/Green New York legislation. This roundtable and the one held by the Environmental Conservation Committee will help me and my colleagues better understand the impact of this legislation and make decisions that take into account our environmental goals and our economic future.”
The Global Warming Pollution Control Act would give the state Department of Environmental Conservation the authority to generate rules and regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions—carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydro-fluorocarbons and other gasses—to aggregate levels for 1990, then reduce by 10 percent every five years with a goal of an 80 percent reduction by 2050.
“This issue raises some very real concerns for manufacturers, energy producers and other industrial employers,” Sen. Aubertine said. “This legislation has the potential for far reaching impacts beyond those employers as well, including farmers who have cattle and other livestock, all of which emit methane. When the federal Environmental Protection Agency issued draft regulations on this same issue in 2008, it made mention of a possible tax on cows that would have just put American farmers out of business to foreign competitors without ever reducing emissions.”
“We must be sure in considering this legislation that we protect against this type of leakage out of New York State,” Sen. Aubertine added. “We cannot afford to have stringent regulations in this state alone push business and industry out to other states and other countries, taking jobs away here without reducing emissions.”
Featured at today’s roundtable discussion were Ken Pokalsky, senior director of government affairs for the Business Council of New York State, Kim Ireland, senior government relations representative for National Grid, Thomas W. Faist, executive director of New York State Chemical Alliance, Stephen Rosario, senior director of American Chemistry Council, William Wofram chairman of New York State Chemical Alliance, Darren M. Suarez of Hinman Straub on behalf of Consolidated Edison, Gavin Donahue, president & CEO of Independent Power Producers of New York, John Tauzel, senior associate director of New York Farm Bureau, Patricia Paul, manager, government affairs for National Fuel Gas, former state Sen. Nicholas Spano, president of Empire Strategic Planning, David Koplas of Innovative Energy Systems, and Mike Elmendorf, state director of National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

We Stand United In 2010

Andrew Works For Me......& You
The NYS Democratic Convention was an incredible experience and one that shows you the unity of the Democratic Party in 2010. The buzz on the floor is that we will change the same old policies of yesterday and renew our pledge to turn the ship towards a bright future for all New Yorkers.

One thing that impressed the Jefferson County Delegation was the energy level of delegates from across the NY State. If anyone questioned the passion and dedication of NY's Democrat delegation all they have to do is watch this video.

The video was shot just after Andrew Cuomo accepted the nomination as the Democratic Candidate for Governor of NY. The party is in the word of our great President Barack Obama

"Charged up.....and ready to go"!!
Andrew's speech was incredible and all in attendance were taken by his candor and passion to make our state once again the true Empire State. As Andrew mentioned "It will be difficult" yet with all of us pushing for a more progressive and inclusive NY we can truly reach that great goal.


A great day was had by all (and we mean all) at the 2010 NYS Democratic Convention in Rye NY. A virtual pleathera of candidates made the ballot in September and although there was some concern about process, all will have a shot at the coveted title of Attorney General of New York State.

As you can tell by the picture above, Jefferson County was well represented at this prestigious event. Pictured above are (L-R) State Committee members Jane Jenkins, Sean Hennessey and Ezra "Ted" Ford.

NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli was also nominated to continue his great work in protecting the financial health of NY State as well as the State Retirement fund. Many across the North Country depend on the NYS Retirement fund in their retirement years. His speech was inspiring and we look forward to seeing him for his annual trip to the North Country.

We were also pleasantly surprised with the pick of Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy. Mayor Duffy was described in the NY Daily News as "Hard Nosed". The excitement for Mayor Duffy's candidacy for LG was intense and it looks like the Democratic ticket is looking stronger and stronger by the day.

Today will be filled with great speeches by all Attorney General Candidates, Mayor Duffy as well as NY's future Governor Andrew Cuomo. Stay tuned into the North Country Democrat for more from the NYS Convention.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Owens Outlines Health Reform Tax Credits for Upstate Small Businesses

WASHINGTON — Congressman Bill Owens urged Upstate small businesses to take advantage of significant tax credits under recently passed health insurance reform. The Affordable Care Act is providing tax credits, effective beginning in tax year 2010, for millions of American small businesses to help them offer health insurance coverage to their employees.

“This is great news for thousands of small businesses in our community,” said Owens. “Under the recently passed legislation, our business owners qualify for tax credits to cover 35% of their premium costs this year, and 50% beginning in 2014. Affordable coverage for small business owners is a top priority and I am committed to make sure reform is working for them.”
Congressman Owens announced a number of details of how the tax credit works, including:

· that the new tax credit will not be reduced by a state health care tax credit or subsidy (except in limited circumstances to prevent abuse of the credit);

· that small businesses can receive the credit not only for traditional health insurance coverage but also for add-on dental, vision, and other limited-scope coverage; and

· detailed guidance on how a small business can determine whether it is eligible and how large a credit it will receive.

For more information on the tax credit, click HERE.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Assemblywoman Russell to Governor: Keep parks open before bailing out NYRA

Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell (D-Theresa) announced her firm opposition to Governor Paterson’s proposal to bail-out New York Racing Association (NYRA) with a $17 million taxpayer funded loan to preserve the Saratoga and Belmont horse racing seasons while refusing to open Canoe Island, Cedar Island, Eel Weir, Keewaydin, and Mary Island State Parks, Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site as well as an additional 36 State Parks and 13 Historic Sites across the state.

“The state’s priorities should be ensuring our hard working families have access to their public resources,” Assemblywoman Russell said. “With Memorial Day closely approaching, families will be looking to flock to our local parks, and will find locked gates and bathrooms, closed pools and pavilions, and closed camp grounds. I implore the governor to open all the state parks and historic sites before asking for money to bail-out NYRA.”

Keeping all state parks and historic sites open would cost the state $11 million, $6 million less than the NYRA bail-out. The parks within the Thousand Islands region employ nearly 900 people, generate over $60 million in local spending, and return $5 to the state economy for ever dollar spent to keep the parks running.

“Instead of keeping the parks open so the working families of this state can enjoy inexpensive, local recreational activities, the bail-out favors one region of the state and benefits the wealthy elite of the racing industry,” said Russell. “The parks system has continued to run efficiently and smoothly, increasing its patronage every year. Before we look at bailing anyone out, we should first look at maintaining the public’s investment in our parks, ensuring access to parks, and generating money for the state and local economy.”

1st Annual "Dynamic Donkeys" Golf Outing is Underway! Sign up today!!

1st Annual "Dynamic Donkeys"

Golf Outing is Underway!

The Jefferson County Democratic Party is excited to report that we have scheduled our
1st Annual "Dynamic Donkey's" Golf Outing for Friday July 16th 2010 at the Willowbrook Golf Course.
There is no better way to way to spend your day than out on the green raising some green, for a great cause.
We are calling out the troops to help us promote this FUN raiser!
We seek your help with getting players,hole sponsors,donated gifts, and volunteers to help for the day of activities.
Are you or your organization interested in getting a team together or sponsoring in some way? It would be a great advertising and networking opportunity, not to mention a great time. Please read through the attached invite,copy some invites,email them to other friends

(making it your computer wallpaper is optional)

Please forward golf outing related questions to our team leader Erica Leornard by calling 315-289-6503 or by emailing our Dymamic Donkey team by emailing us at
Also, Check out our Face Book invite Page by clicking HERE

Statement from Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell on Power for Jobs

“As negotiations about the future of the Power for Jobs program are culminating, I firmly agree we must make the Power for Jobs program permanent. If we want to stimulate the North Country economy we must provide our farmers and businesses with the certainty that they will continue to receive these benefits for years to come, not just year to year. In addition, our ratepayers deserve a continuation of the benefits they currently receive. I have been working with my colleagues in the Assembly to ensure that the power generated in our backyard is not simply stripped from the North Country and sent downstate. I am certain the Assembly, Senate and Governor will come to a consensus swiftly, because we all understand how important this program is to the viability of our farmers, businesses and residential rate payers.”

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Senator Aubertine Stands Tall for Power for Jobs

Power for Jobs Extended Two Weeks
In the Absence of a Three-Way Agreement
Sens. Aubertine, Maziarz, Gov release new plan
to make program permanent, focus on Upstate

ALBANY (May 18, 2010)—State Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine today voted to extend Power for Jobs until June 2, which will keep the program in place for employers statewide saving around 250,000 jobs while negotiations on a final bill continue. The Assembly proposed this extender in the absence of a position in that house on Power for Jobs.

“I’m disappointed it came to this, but the fact remains that each and every one of the quarter of a million jobs tied to this program is critically important. We agreed to this action in order to prevent layoffs,” said Sen. Aubertine, vice chair and ranking majority member of the Senate Energy & Telecommunications Committee. “It should never have come to this but we will continue to work. We passed legislation in the Senate with bipartisan support on May 4, well in advance of the May 15 deadline. Since then we have continued negotiating.”

The Senate passed legislation introduced by Sen. Aubertine and Energy Committee Chair Sen. George Maziarz of Newfane by a vote of 58-3 to make the program permanent, increase the power available for economic development, and streamline the program to make it more efficient for employers. The two Senators have since continued to negotiate, agreeing to a new proposal with the Governor this week called “Energize New York.”

“All the legislation we have seen is based on input from open meetings across the state from Massena to Long Island and Niagara Falls to Kingston,” Sen. Aubertine said. “On many of the major points there is agreement in all of these bills from both houses and the Governor, but still we lack a three-way agreement. We worked through the weekend with the governor’s office and came to a new two-way agreement that protects Upstate New York, farmers, rural and domestic customers, and meets the needs of businesses and not-for-profit employers.”
The Powering New York’s Future Initiative collected input from businesses and other stakeholders across the state through roundtables and hearings. The input of employers, economic development experts and other stakeholders was sought to aid the Legislature in its effort to better use the resources of the New York Power Authority to make New York more business-friendly

“I’m optimistic we can resolve our differences by the June 2 deadline,” Sen. Aubertine said. “The latest plan worked out with the governor’s office dedicates a minimum of 300 megawatts of power for economic development in Upstate New York from the Albany area north and west, which will ensure that jobs are saved and created in these regions. It also protects our farmers with a $5 million benefit.”

The latest agreement would include the following:
· Redeployment of the 455 megawatts of Rural and Domestic Power to create a new and permanent 910 megawatt blended rate economic development program that will offer reduced rate power in seven year contracts to businesses and institutions that meet selection criteria. Of which:
o At least 300 megawatts would be limited to the service territories that served the Rural and Domestic customers (NYSEG, RG&E, and National Grid);
o At least 200 megawatts would be set aside for business attraction and expansion; and
o Up to 100 megawatts would be set aside for not-for-profits and small businesses.
· Selection criteria will include among other factors: the applicant’s payroll; number of jobs that would be created or retained; risk of the applicant leaving the Sate; significance of electricity costs to the applicant; and energy efficiency commitments.
· Permanent electricity bill mitigation for Rural and Domestic customers that would be phased down from $100 million in the first year of the program to $30 million per year on a permanent basis. Farmers that received Rural and Domestic benefits would be eligible for $5 million per year carve out to support electricity discounts.
· The new program would begin accepting applications on January 31, 2011.
The Energize New York program will be a valuable tool to retain our existing workforce, particularly in manufacturing, and will also be used to attract new business investment in the State.

“For more than a decade, Power for Jobs has successfully preserved jobs here in New York State, but to reach its full potential of creating new jobs we need to expand the resources available and end its dependence on the Legislature for renewal,” Sen. Aubertine said. “This bipartisan agreement reached with Governor Paterson achieves our goal of creating a permanent new program. It is critically important for more than a quarter of a million New Yorkers dependent on jobs supported by this program, that the Assembly joins us in this bipartisan legislation immediately.”

A Message From Sean Coffey for AG

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo last week launched an investigation into whether eight of the most powerful banks on Wall Street misled credit agencies in order to get better ratings for the mortgage-based securities they were selling to investors. Watch me on Bloomberg TV talk about why fundamental reform of the way credit agencies do business is necessary, and why it is important for New York's next Attorney General to understand how Wall Street works.

This is a central issue for the next Attorney General – and as my record shows, I am the most qualified, prepared and willing to root out corruption in our complex financial system. I am ready to deliver for you.

I also hope you’ll check out my interview on NY1 where I lay out ideas for equipping the next Attorney General with the tools to prosecute corrupt lawmakers more freely and effectively. I want to fight for the things in Albany that I fought for on Wall Street – transparency and accountability. Like you, I’m profoundly disappointed in the inability of our elected leaders to tackle the significant problems facing New York. I am running because we need new ideas, new voices and new leadership in Albany.

This campaign belongs to you – and all the hardworking families I meet every day as I travel across this great state. Would you consider a small donation of $50, $25 OR EVEN $5? Also, join the conversation on Facebook – tell me what you’re hearing, what you think and stay informed about events and updates as they happen.

Thank you again for your continued support. If you’re as excited about this campaign as I am, FORWARD this email to your friends, ASK them to sign up for these emails, and JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK to stay connected.

School cafeteria catching up to McDonalds in safety

May 17th, 2010 by David Sommerstein
It's really unbelievable that the hamburger you eat at most any fast food chain is safer than the burger a child eats in the school cafeteria. Especially when you consider that young children are especially vulnerable to the effects of consuming harmful strains of E Coli.

The USDA is finally taking steps to change that. The government was prodded in no small part by a series of investigative reports by USA Today. Here's that paper's story on the USDA rule change:

The rules call for more stringent microbiological testing and say beef should be sampled every 15 minutes on production lines. Previously, ground beef bound for schools was sampled an average of eight times during an entire production day, and then those samples were combined and subjected to testing once a shift.

The rules make suppliers with "a long-term poor safety record" ineligible to sell to the school lunch program without a complete analysis of why their products failed inspections, says Michael Jarvis, a spokesman for the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service, which purchases beef for the school lunch program. No currently eligible contractors would be ineligible under that requirement "if it were in effect," he says.

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was an early champion of the new regulations. In a press release, she applauded the USDA:

In America, in 2010, it is unconscionable that food can ever go straight to our kitchens, school cafeterias and restaurants without being properly tested to ensure its safety. We need better food safety standards, not just in our schools, but across the board, to protect all of our families.

Now if only all ground beef could be safer. Another recall of 53,000 pounds of ground beef
Click HERE to read more from NCPR


UFCW Local 1500 Delivers More Momentum
To NYS Comptroller’s Campaign

New York, NY – New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced the endorsement of the influential United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500.
Bruce W. Both, President of Local 1500, said, “Tom DiNapoli is an energetic, independent and decisive leader in the right job at the right time. He makes the tough calls in order to protect taxpayers and help build a more secure financial future for New York State. Tom is a hardworking guy who doesn’t forget his middle class roots, and he knows that every dime counts - especially when they’re taxpayer dimes - so we trust him to do what’s right for New York’s
working families.”

Speaking about his latest endorsement, DiNapoli said, “This big show of support is especially important to me, having grown up in a union household, so I understand the hopes of working families. Local 1500 members do a terrific job, and they help form the foundation of our local economy. I’ll be straight with them and all New Yorkers about our state’s finances and will
make sure public resources are used solely for the public good. New Yorkers deserve a
Comptroller who works as hard as they do, and I’ll continue to do just that. It’s your money,and it’s my job to protect it.”

With nearly 23,000 members, Local 1500 is one of the largest locals in the UFCW and the largest of New York State, representing working men and women in Queens, Staten Island, Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties. Since taking office in 2007, Comptroller DiNapoli has completely reformed the Comptroller’s office.

He’s restored ethics and trust to the operation of the pension fund, implementing a long list of reforms to end the abuses of the prior administration. Under DiNapoli’s watch, the Comptroller’s office has uncovered hundreds of millions in cost savings opportunities, and waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars, while increasing transparency and accountability at every level of government. DiNapoli has reined in the influence of lobbyists and banned gifts to employees, and has instituted tough new ethics rules to root out fraud and corruption.

For a listing of Tom DiNapoli’s many endorsements – including several important labor organizations - and for more information on his campaign to remain New York State Comptroller, please go to

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Senator Wants No Charge For Paper Trail

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is trying to prevent banks from charging for paper statements and discriminating against those who don't have computers or who want to keep private data offline.

Gillibrand said there are about 250,000 people in the seven-county Hudson Valley area who don't even have online access at home, mostly senior citizens, low-income families and rural residents. These numbers come from updated Census estimates, spokeswoman Bethany Lesser said. The estimate for Dutchess County is more than 32,000 households and for Ulster, about 22,000.

Gillibrand proposed an amendment to the Restoring American Financial Stability Act that the Senate is considering. Her approach would empower the agency being created, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to review financial institutions' fees and develop rules to give consumers access to paper statements "without undue fees," her statement said. Gillibrand said a recent survey found two-thirds of Americans say they prefer to get their statements by mail.

Read more from the Poughkeepsie Journal by clicking HERE

Owens Urges Upstate Businesses to Apply for Disaster Loans before June 1

WASHINGTON – Today Congressman Bill Owens urged local small businesses in need of financial assistance to apply for federal economic injury disaster loans available in various counties in Northern and Central New York before the June 1st deadline.

“Small businesses and family farmers are the main drivers of our local economy and it is important that they have the tools they need to succeed and spur job growth in Upstate New York,” Owens said. “These low-interest loans will help them recover from damages and crop losses.”

The Small Business Administration (SBA) declared a disaster as a result of excessive rain and below-average temperatures that began on May 16, 2009. The program offers loans up to $2 million with a discounted interest rate of 4 percent. The loans are available for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private non-profit organizations of all sizes.

The SBA declaration includes Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego, and Saint Lawrence counties. The SBA determines eligibility based on the size of the applicant, type of activity and its financial resources. Repayment terms can be up to 30 years based on each applicant’s financial condition. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other expenses that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred.

Disaster loan information and application forms may be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or by sending an e-mail to Those affected by the disaster may apply for disaster loans from SBA’s secure website at

Completed loan applications must be returned to SBA no later than June 1, 2010.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Democrat New York lawmakers praise Supreme Court Nominee Kagan

ALBANY – New York native Elena Kagan is President Obama’s second pick for the U.S. Supreme Court.

If confirmed, Kagan, 50, would be the youngest member of the high court. She would also be the third woman currently on the court, and fourth woman ever, to serve.

She also would be the first justice in almost four decades to join the Supreme Court with no prior experience as a judge. She is, however, no newcomer to the court. As the U.S. Solicitor General, a key part of that job is to argue the federal government’s position in the Supreme Court.

"I would like to congratulate New York native Solicitor General Elena Kagan on her nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States”, said Gov. David Paterson. “President Obama's selection of Ms. Kagan to the nation's highest court is a profound honor, and is proof that she is both respected and admired for her distinguished work and lifelong commitment to public service.”

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said “I am thrilled to see another brilliant New York woman nominated to the Supreme Court. New Yorkers dream big, and nobody tells us what we can't achieve, which is why so many women have excelled from entrepreneurs and academics to scientists and celebrities - and now Supreme Court justices.
Read more from the Empire State News by clicking HERE

Monday, May 10, 2010

Power for Jobs Moving Forward, Budget Frustration Continues

For more than a decade now, the state’s Power for Jobs program and other similar programs have helped to preserve hundreds of thousands of jobs statewide by providing low-cost power to businesses and not-for-profit employers.

However, these programs have long been in need of improvements that would build on this success to not only protect these jobs, but give employers incentives to add employees and grow our economy. With the expiration of these programs looming, my colleagues in the Senate on both sides of the political aisle overwhelmingly supported legislation I introduced to make the changes employers say are needed to maximize the job creation potential for these programs.

The Economic Benefit Power Program legislation streamlines these multiple programs into a single program and doubles the power available to a total of 910 megawatts. This legislation makes the program permanent and provides businesses the long term certainty they need to make investments and grow through seven year contracts, while also promoting energy efficiency.

This legislation was not created in some backroom in Albany. This legislation was developed after many public roundtables and hearings coordinated through my office and the Assembly Energy Committee Chair—including events in Oswego, Massena and throughout the state—where stakeholders were given the opportunity to offer suggestions to make these successful programs even better. The value of these forums is clear in the overwhelming similarity of bills proposed separately in the Assembly, the Senate, and by the Governor.

This process put people before politics, as it should. Each one of the jobs supported by these programs is the one that is most important to the person holding that job, be it at Birdseye Foods in Fulton, Great Lakes Cheese in Adams, Crowley Foods in LaFargeville, Corning in Canton, or any one of hundreds of employers statewide, including dozens in Central and Northern New York. Now, with the program set to expire May 15, I am working with the Assembly and the Governor to ensure any remaining differences are reconciled in time.

While we’ve made real progress to renew these job programs in time, I certainly share the frustration of many New Yorkers watching as we are now more than five weeks past our state’s budget deadline and no deals have been reached. Work continues, but as I’ve said before, I believe we need to have open joint budget meetings and this sentiment is shared by the vast majority of Senators, but without the Assembly or the Governor, this process has remained grounded.

The Senate has proposed real and substantial cuts, without resorting to higher taxes or borrowing, as has been proposed by the Governor and the Assembly. For our region, I continue working to secure an increased share of school aid, which is one important reason I supported increasing the cap on the number of privately run charter schools allowed in New York. This legislation would make us eligible for up to $700 million in federal aid, more than 90 percent of which would go to public schools, reducing by almost half the proposed cuts to education.

Moving forward, I will continue working with my colleagues in the Senate to explore every option that will allow us to pass a balanced budget as soon as possible, without accepting taxes and fees that target the middle class and by making careful cuts that get at waste in government without closing Ogdensburg Correctional Facility or our parks. We need a budget as soon as possible, but most importantly, we need a budget that protects the interest of Central and Northern New York.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Assemblywoman Russell tours Newton Falls Fine Paper‏

Newton Falls Fine Paper Company was recently awarded a $750,000 grant from National Grid for the mill's $27 million biomass energy project. This technology has been researched and developed at Clarkson University. This is a perfect example of how we can use the R&D in green technology at our local universities to spur local business growth and economic development.

Thursday Assemblywoman Addie Russell toured the facility and spoke with senior management about the complexities of dealing with New York State government and what might be done by the state to ease the path.

While touring the facility Assemblywoman Russell also watched the detailed process of making quality paper.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

UPDATED!! (Thanks Ted)

First, I want to thank all of our volunteers for putting together such an incredible 2010 Spring Dinner!
Babette Hall, Patti Shaughnessy, Michelle Coullier, Carla Walker, my wife Betsy, and everyone else that spent countless hours making sure that our Spring event would be something to remember. I know I won't soon forget.
The comments I received yesterday from Elected officials, Labor Leaders, Committee members and Community Organizers was that the Jefferson County Democratic Party knows how to have a party and what a party it was!

I also want to thank all of you for giving me the honor of being your 2010 Jefferson County Democrat Achievement Award. As you could tell from my reaction I was totally taken by surprise and I am truly honored.
I have to say though, that without the selfless dedication that all of you have for our organization we would be in a very different place. I am proud to see how much of a team spirit the North Country Democrats can rally. I think Darrel was on the money last night when he said that we have a really great team of elected's, and though we don't all agree on specific issues we can come together and work as a community to reach our goals.
In tough times we have to stick together, and so I was glad to be reminded last night that you're happy to be stuck with me as Chairman. This award is something that I will treasure and I hope you know how much all of you mean to me and my family.

That being said we have a bunch of work in front of us and with your help we will make 2010 another banner year! Thanks again and God bless!

Sean M Hennessey
Jefferson County Democratic Committee
95 Public Square, Box 5A
Watertown, NY 13601
(315) 788-4590

Pamelia Woman Named NYS Senior Citizen of the Year

Dorothy Austin recognized by Senate
for her tireless work,
advocacy on behalf of fellow seniors

ALBANY (May 5, 2010)—State Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine said today that Dorothy J. Austin of the Military Road in the town of Pamelia has been named the 2010 New York State Senior Citizen of the Year by the New York State Senate.
“For me to be presented this award by Sen. Aubertine, I’m very grateful, but when I see seniors from all different counties here today, I know each one of them is just as worthy. I’m proud to be representing all seniors in winning this award,” Mrs. Austin said. “I believe in one thing and that is love. Love is cheap. Nobody has to be rich to love. To go into a nursing home and give a smile, to recognize somebody, somebody you haven’t seen in a while, that’s all it takes—a little love to make the world go around. My faith, my family and my friends are the three most important things in my life. Everything else is a luxury. If I can help somebody, put a smile on their face and a little love in their heart, it’s worth it to me.”
The award is given annually to a senior citizen who has tirelessly advocated on behalf of seniors within his or her community and assisted in providing support services and activities that have enhanced the lives of fellow senior citizens. The Jefferson County Office for the Aging nominated Mrs. Austin and her husband, Robert H. Austin, for awards with the Senate and Assembly. The Senate Committee on Aging selected Mrs. Austin among nominees from across the state.
“Dorothy is a shining example of what it means to give back to your community,” said Sen. Aubertine, who introduced the resolution to honor her on the floor of the Senate. “She has lived a full life and continues to add to it by being involved in the lives of others. A cancer survivor and a person of deep faith, she is well known to never shy away from an opportunity to help a neighbor in need.”
Mrs. Austin, who celebrated her 74th birthday on Sunday, has been an active volunteer with the Office for the Aging, helping with the office’s annual events including a summer picnic and the Senior Health Fair, sponsored by the Office for the Aging and Sen. Aubertine last fall. Married 27 years to Mr. Austin, an active senior and Pamelia Town Justice, Mrs. Austin is the mother of two, step mother to two more and the proud grandmother of three.
“Dorothy’s about as positive a person as I’ve ever met in my life. She’s always happy and takes life as it comes along,” said Steven E. Binion, director of the Jefferson County Office for the Aging. “She’s a good hearted person who’s always looking out for her friends and even strangers, anyone who’s looking for a helping hand. She’s been an ongoing friend of the Office for the Aging, helped us at many, many, events, and for her entire senior life, she’s been a volunteer and member of many civic organizations. She and her husband both are outstanding citizens, not just senior citizens.”
Serving also in her fifth year as president of the Busy BG’s—the Brownville-Glen Park Senior Citizens group—Mrs. Austin has also served as vice president and treasurer of the senior organization. She has also been actively involved in senior activities in LeRay, Theresa and Dexter.
“Dorothy’s a great person. She’s very personable and helpful to others. Plus she’s taller than me,” said Robert J. Thomas, a Jefferson County Legislator from Glen Park representing the towns of Dexter and Brownville, and member of the Brownville, Glen Park Senior Citizens. “She organizes the senior citizen events here and does a great job with that leading everyone to have a good time. She has a great sense of humor, is a great dancer, and is always willing to go the extra mile for her community. I’m very happy to see that she is being honored by the Senate.”
Mrs. Austin has been a regular participant in the county’s Meals on Wheels program and an active member of AARP, the American Red Cross, the Four River Valleys Historical Society, and the Jefferson County Agricultural Society. A lifetime member of the North Side Improvement League in Watertown and the league’s 2002 Member of the Year for the Ladies Auxiliary, the Brownville Immaculate Conception church parishioner makes weekly visits to Samaritan Keep Home to visit residents, bringing with her love and a smile to brighten the day of her fellow seniors.
“Dorothy is a wonderful friend to just about anyone she meets,” said Doris L. Bennett, a close friend and fellow member of the Busy BG’s. “I don’t think she’d ever have a stranger in her life, because everyone she meets becomes a friend. She’s never too busy to stop and talk somebody. Any time that we’re at meetings or in a social time, if anyone wants to visit with her, she’ll stop to visit. Whoever she has in front of her she puts first and that’s nice. I’ve known her for 10 years now and she’s always been a great friend.”
In addition to honoring Mrs. Austin, the Senate also declared May to be Senior Citizen Month and celebrated Senior Citizen’s Day with an information expo and ceremony at the Empire State Convention Center.
Last year, another North Country resident, Floyd “Duff” Powell of DeKalb Junction was recognized with the 2009 Outstanding Contribution by a Senior Citizen Award for his work as a counselor and leader within his community and his church, lending a helping hand with everything from performing marriages to helping maintain the DeKalb Junction Food Pantry, which he helped found. Mr. Powell passed away on February 20th at age 82.

Owens Named to House Agriculture Committee

Washington, May 5 - Congressman Bill Owens announced today his appointment to the House Committee on Agriculture. He will join colleagues on the panel that has general jurisdiction over federal agriculture policy and oversight of various federal agencies.

“Upstate agriculture is a major driver of our entire state’s economy, and now our region has a larger role in the decision making process,” Owens said. “As we continue to work our way out of the recession, we need to provide every opportunity to our farming community and small business owners to succeed.”

In his first few months in office, Owens has fought tirelessly for local agriculture interests. In January, he pressed U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to protect Upstate dairy from the negative effects a U.S.-New Zealand trade agreement would have on the industry. Owens also fought to keep the Market Access Program (MAP) funded at its highest level to help local dairy farmers and wine producers continue to play a large role in local economic development.

Owens is currently working with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s office to address the financial challenges that many farms face as a result of the recession by ensuring access to credit through the USDA Farm Service Agency’s loan guarantees and direct loans.

“As the largest segment of agriculture in New York, dairy is critical to the Upstate economy, with approximately 6,800 farms across the state. Nationwide, New York ranks third in milk production. These dairy farms are essential to their local economies and share a commitment to producing safe, nutritious and affordable products,” said Owens.

Last Month, Owens reintroduced a previous effort by former Congressman John McHugh to allow Upstate New York maple syrup producers greater access to federal resources for maple research, education, and promotion.
“The more opportunity we provide for our local agriculture leaders and small business owners, the better chance our community has at a complete economic recovery,” said Owens. “We have an abundance of untapped maple trees and providing resources for our maple producers to expand their operations will benefit our entire area.”
Congressman Owens also serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security as well as the Armed Services Committee.

Lack of jail space costing county

Jefferson's First-Quarter Expenses
Exceeded Annual Budget;Solutions Debated

With a little more than a third of the year gone,
Jefferson County has already exceeded its 2010
budget for outboarding prisoners.

Sheriff John P. Burns said on Tuesday that his jail population report for the first quarter of the year shows that $337,672 has been spent for outboarding inmates. The county budgeted $250,000 for the entire year.

In the last quarter of 2009, the county paid more than $235,000 for outboarding, he said.

As of Monday, the county had 33 of its inmates being held in five different county jails, including 10 in St. Lawrence County and eight in Lewis County. Seven are housed as far away as Broome County, with two in Clinton County and six in Madison County.

"We now travel from Clinton County at one end of the state to the other end of the state in Broome County," the sheriff said.

This year's cost includes nearly $30,900 just for transporting prisoners, he said.

With the county already over its outboarding budget, a county legislator wants New York state to make prison beds available.

"It just makes sense," said Michael J. Docteur, R-Cape Vincent, chairman of the jail ad hoc committee of the Board of Legislators. "Why should county taxpayers have to pay for a new building when the state is talking about closing state prisons?"

One problem, he acknowledged, is getting a law passed in Albany that would make unused prison space available for the housing of county prisoners.

An alternative that has been discussed on and off for years is an expansion of the Metro-Jefferson Public Safety Building facility. Jefferson County could be looking at borrowing $1.2 million to build new jail space, plus the expenditure for more staffing, Mr. Docteur said.

"We are working with our state representatives, looking for relief," he said. "We'd like some answers as soon as possible."

Mr. Docteur and Mr. Burns are scheduled to meet Friday to discuss overcrowding at the jail.

Mr. Burns said he didn't think Mr. Docteur's proposal would help.

"First of all, it's going to take a couple of years to get the two houses in Albany to pass a law," the sheriff said. "And then, if that happens, do we want to pay state correction people one and a half times more than what we pay county personnel? It's still going to be taxpayer money."

Even if the county were to build an addition, he maintains that it will be three years before a new portion would be ready for use.

"This is why I said seven years ago that we needed to start looking at the problem, but the Board of Legislators didn't want to listen to me," Mr. Burns said.

Click HERE to read more on Jail Expansion from the WDT

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Energy Committee Moves Economic Development Power Program

Successor to Power for Jobs,
creates permanent program to
maximize job retention, creation

ALBANY (May 3, 2010)—The New York State Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee today moved bipartisan legislation aimed at making the state’s economic development power programs permanent.
“The May 15 deadline is drawing near and about a quarter of a million jobs depend at least in part on these programs,” said Committee Vice-Chair and Ranking Majority Member Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine. “Today’s committee action moves us closer to a final bill for the governor, along with lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle and in both houses to agree on. Working together, we are using the input collected from employers to ensure these important programs are made even better moving forward.”
The legislation introduced by Sen. Aubertine (S.7573A) is the latest legislation derived from the Powering New York’s Future Initiative, in which Sen. Aubertine, then chair of the committee, and Assembly Energy Chair Kevin Cahill coordinated hearings and roundtables across the state last fall to gather the input of businesses and other stakeholders before drafting legislation. Energy Committee Chair Sen. George D. Maziarz and Senators Neil D. Breslin, David J. Valesky, Craig M. Johnson, and Brian X. Foley have signed on to co-sponsor the bill.
“With this bill we are moving forward in a bipartisan manner and working without regard to party lines to preserve and create jobs,” Sen. Aubertine said. “The committee vote and the teamwork displayed in bringing this bill forward with the support of business groups presents us with a great opportunity to put people before politics in Albany and pass a bill that will protect hundreds of thousands of jobs and create new opportunities for thousands more New Yorkers.”
The committee voted without opposition to move the bill to the Finance Committee for further consideration. Among the organizations which have expressed support for this legislation are the Business Council of New York State, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Manufacturer’s Association of Central New York, Consumers for Affordable and Sustainable Energy, the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce, the Metropolitan Development Association, the Center for Economic Growth, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, and the Plattsburgh North Country Chamber of Commerce.

Similar to previous Senate versions introduced separately by Sens. Aubertine and Maziarz, the Assembly version and the Governor’s program bill, this new bipartisan Senate bill also takes a comprehensive approach to using low cost power and the resources of the New York Power Authority to maximize the retention and creation of jobs across New York State. It would build on previously successful programs such as Power for Jobs by incorporating the needs of employers to ensure even better results.
The new components within this bill (S.7573) deal with Rural and Domestic Power allocations and the reallocation of this power to further additional job growth. The bipartisan bill would continue to subsidize farms, businesses and homeowners in communities receiving hydropower benefits in full up to $70 million for 2011 and 2012, reducing that subsidy for use in job creation to a cap of $60 million in 2013, $50 million in 2014, and $40 million in 2015, where it would be frozen moving forward.
Like other versions, the bill will make the program permanent beginning July 1, 2011 and offer seven year agreements for businesses with a mutual “evergreen” option for one year extenders that would maintain a seven year deal, ensuring that businesses have the certainty needed to support long term job commitments. To bridge the gap between the current May 15, 2010 expiration of Power for Jobs and other existing programs, this legislation proposes using an extender of the current program to reach the 2011 start date, then phases out the program for businesses already enrolled over five years to ensure a “soft landing” for any recipient not eligible for the new program.
The new program would be open to businesses (except retail) and non-profits, including current NYPA participants that are in substantial compliance with contractual commitments. Among the criteria for eligibility that will be factored in are:
- the significance of power costs for the employer;
- the extent that benefits will result in new investment and the willingness of applicant to commit to new investments;
- size of applicant’s payroll, jobs created or retained and willingness to commit to job targets;
- risk that facility could close or relocate, causing job loss and the facility’s local economic significance;
- whether the not for profit provides critical services or substantial benefits to community;
- prior energy audits and/or efficiency investments and a willingness to become more efficient;
consistency with the state’s energy plan, performance under prior NYPA programs, and state and local development plans.
No single criteria, standing alone, would determine if an employer receives benefits, but each shall be weighed in a consistent manner into a comprehensive review of all relevant factors. The bipartisan legislation would leave the existing Economic Development Power Allocation Board in place to determine eligibility and enroll employers in the new program, but expand the current four member board to nine members. Energy efficiency also remains central to this legislation, beginning New York Power Authority free energy audits to recipients to improve efficiency and perform weatherization worth at least $10 million annually.

To read more on Senator Aubertine please click HERE

Sunday, May 2, 2010

DRC 2010 Was So.... Much Fun!!

A strong contingent from Jefferson County descended on the 2010 Democratic Rural Conference (DRC) this weekend and much fun was had. As you can see below Jefferson County was well represented and people took notice of the unity of our team.
(Pictured are: Doris McLalen, Ezra "Ted" Ford, Jacki Schell and Sean Hennessey)
Please see below for pictures and video of this weekends event.

Senator Schumer Tells Us of the Early Days

Chairman Hennessey Nominates Sean Coffey
for NYS Attorney General

Jimmy Siegal with Chairman Hennessey
and Past Chair Ted Ford