People’s Convention to Reform New York

That was the question Assembly Republican Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,I,C-Canandaigua) asked the taxpayers present tonight at a Town Hall workshop hosted by the Finger Lakes Tea Party Patriots at the Penn Yan Middle School Auditorium. Kolb was joined by his colleagues, Assemblyman Jim Bacalles (R,C,I-Corning) and Assemblyman Thomas O’Mara (R,C,I – Big Flats), and the three discussed their support for a “People’s Convention to Reform New York,” and described how it could deliver the positive change that New Yorkers of all political parties – and regions – have been demanding. The People’s Convention to Reform New York is a grassroots, non-partisan reform effort to empower citizens so they can take back their state government and, in the process, chart a positive, new direction for New York. Some of the issues that could be considered during a People’s Convention include fiscal reforms like a property tax and state spending cap, debt reform, along with a ban on “backdoor” borrowing and unfunded mandates. Governmental reforms such as initiative and referendum, an independent Legislative Redistricting Commission, term limits for Legislative Leaders, ethics reform and a succession plan for state offices could also be considered as part of a People’s Convention.Kolb also discussed his non-partisan legislation, “The People’s Convention to Reform New York Act,” Assembly Bill A.9157. If enacted, the bill would put the question of whether New York should convene a People’s Convention on the 2010 ballot; by law, this question automatically goes before voters in 2017. The non-partisan measure would move up the opportunity for reform by seven years, accelerating the state’s ability to enact long overdue and much-needed changes. The legislation specifically requires that any elected official seeking to run as a delegate for, or serve in, the People’s Convention must first resign their office.“There is a growing feeling among New Yorkers that their state government has stopped working for them – that it’s grown too costly, unresponsive and disconnected from the lives of those it was supposed to serve. It is time New Yorkers took their state government back – it begins by convening a ‘People’s Convention,’ which is the first step toward restoring accountability,” said Kolb, who noted that over 2,200 people have already gone to www.reformny.org and signed the on-line petition in support of a People’s Convention.“I am proud to join with members of the Finger Lakes Tea Party Patriots as well as local families to discuss this very important issue,” said Bacalles. “Effective ideas to improve our state government like a ‘People’s Convention to Reform NY’ must be voted upon by the full Legislature in Albany. I am glad Leader Kolb traveled to the Southern Tier this evening to share his views on this truly democratic way to make government work for the people again.””We are very excited to host this Town Hall meeting and provide a way for the community to get involved in their local and state government. State government is broken; holding a People’s Convention could be a possible fix. The people that attended this Town Hall meeting got the opportunity to see how government works and does not work,” said Finger Lakes Tea Party Organizer Sandy King.“Taking control out of the hands of our dysfunctional political leaders and putting it into the hands of the people is just what New York State needs,” O’Mara said. “We have let the special interests stop progress in Albany for far too long. A People’s Convention to Reform New York is just the change that the State Capitol needs.”Bacalles represents the 136th Assembly District, which includes Steuben and Yates counties. O’Mara represents the 137th Assembly District, which includes Chemung, Schuyler and Tioga counties. Kolb’s 129th Assembly District is located in the Finger Lakes region and contains Cayuga, Cortland, Onondaga, Ontario and Seneca counties. Town Hall meetings will also be held in Owego on June 17, Elmira on June 24 and Mount Kisco on June 30. For further details on the People’s Convention, go to www.reformny.org, and follow Assembly Republican Leader Brian Kolb on Twitter and Facebook.

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