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League of Women Voters of NYS
League of Women Voters of New York State
Please provide brief responses to the questions below. The League of Women Voters of New York State will share your answers on our nonpartisan voter guide for the September 13th primary election. Responses are limited to 1000 characters. Your responses will not be edited and will be entered exactly as returned to us.
1. What will be your top three priorities if elected?
(1) 100% Clean Energy and Net Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2030: Enact the New York Off Fossil Fuels Act (NY OFF: A5105A/S5908A).
(2) Universal Single-Payer Health Care: Enact the New York Health Act (A4738/S4840).
(3) Progressive Education Reform: Fully fund Foundation Aid for public schools; Universal pre-k and kindergarten; Tuition-free CUNY and SUNY; Opt Out of teacher evaluations and school receiverships based on high-stakes standardized tests; Desegregate New York’s most segregated schools in the nation by ending tracking and enacting controlled choice. Tracking segregates within as well as between schools. Stop rationing good education. Controlled choice means families rank their choice of schools from across the district and students are assigned to schools by combining preferences and balancing all schools by family income. This means of integration has worked well in Raleigh/Wake County NC, Cambridge MA, and many other school districts across the country.
2. What reforms would you propose to strengthen NYS’s ethics and campaign finance laws and enforcement? Please explain your answer.
Create a new Moreland Commission on Public Corruption.
Replace JCOPE (Joint Committee on Political Ethics) with Independent Ethics Oversight which has the resources necessary to vigorously investigate and punish ethics rules violations by members of both the executive and legislative branches, no elected officials on its governing board, a five-year revolving door restriction for recent politicians and their staff members to serve as board or staff, and is subject to Freedom of Information and Open Meetings laws.
Full-Time Legislature with limits on income from outside work similar to Congress.
Term Limits: 2 four-year terms for executive officers, 6 two-year terms for legislators.
Full Public Campaign Financing on the Clean Money model used in Arizona and Maine.
Close the LLC Loophole.
Ban Campaign Contributions from Lobbyists.
Prohibit Legislative Staff from Working on Political Campaigns.
3. NYS has one of the lowest voter participation rates in the country. What election reforms would you support to improve voter participation? Please explain your answer.
Make all elections competitive by making every vote count with Proportional Representation from multi-member districts for legislative bodies and Ranked-Choice Instant-Runoff Voting for single seat executive offices.
End noncompetitive gerrymandered districts through proportional representation from multi-member districts and replacing LATFOR (Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment) with an Independent Redistricting Commission.
Same day for federal, state, and local primaries.
Make election days state holidays.
Early Voting: In-person voting for a designated period before election days.
No-Excuse Absentee Voting.
Ballot Reform: one page for each office or ballot proposition; random ordering of candidates on each ballot; one ballot line for each candidate with all party endorsements on that line; a voter guide mailed to all registered voters with sample ballots and statements from each political party and candidate of up to 250 words.
4. With the smallest overall gender wage gap (for full-time working women) in the country of 89 cents, NYS has made progress on pay equity, but the gap for our state's Black women is 66 cents, and for Latinas, it is 56 cents. How can government address this continuing wage disparity?
Wage theft amounts to $1 billion a year. It affects Black and Latina women disproportionately.
Beef up wage theft enforcement by the Department of Labor.
Workers who win back wages in court ofter never receive them, which is why the SWEAT (Securing Wages Earned Against Theft) bill must pass. It would enable workers owed previously earned wages to file a wage lien against the assets of their employer.
Pass the pending legislation to prohibit employers from seeking salary history from prospective employees.
Repeal the Department of Labor “emergency” regulation allowing no pay for 11 hours of 24-hour shifts by home care workers in defiance of three state appellate court rulings in 2016 and 2017. These workers are predominantly immigrant women of color.
Accelerate the increase in the minimum wage toward $15, which only gets to $12.50 upstate in 2021. It’s still a poverty wage. Increase the minimum wage to $20 by the end of 2020 statewide.
5. What are your priorities for improving New York State’s crumbling infrastructures?
The top priority is raising the money for infrastructure investments. All of New York’s infrastructure needs to be repaired, improved, and expanded. NYCHA needs $32 billion over 5 years. MTA needs $37 billion over 10 years. Roads, bridges, and water and sewer systems need $80 billion over 20 years. More is needed to build a clean energy system and expand public housing to guarantee affordable housing for all.
We can pay for it by progressive taxation and a state bank.
The share income going to the top 1% has grown from 12% in 1980 to 31% today, or $375 billion. Taxing about 10% of that through a more progressive income tax, keeping instead of rebating the stock transfer tax, and clawing back the Trump corporate tax cut windfall would generate $35-40 billion a year for infrastructure investments.
The public bank will cut the costs of financing infrastructure by as much as half by bypassing Wall Street fees and interest, as North Dakota’s state bank has demonstrated.