We All Have a Role to Play

Levon on his first trip to our state capital.  He spent the day with his father, working to save mother earth.
Levon on his first trip to our state capital.

Today I am an especially proud wife and mother.

Engaging in our democracy is a core value in our family.  Last night Paxton was recounting the trip he took to Albany with Dada to fight the dragons when he was four.  (Pax and Eric attended a rally to support labor in the wake of Scott Walker’s dismantling of collective bargaining in WI.)  He explained to his little brother, “so now it’s your turn.”  Pax then asked his father, “When is it Mama’s turn to go to Albany?”

He spent the day one-on-one with his father, fighting to save mother earth.
He spent the day one-on-one with his father, fighting to save mother earth.

My turn comes on Sunday.  I’m headed up to our state capital to participate in the New York Conference of Mayors‘ Winter Legislative Meeting.  Tonight I’ll attempt to explain to the boys that there are many ways to honor our democracy.  Whether voting at the ballot box, writing a check, holding a sign, attending a hearing, getting informed, or running for office—in order for our democracy to thrive, we all have a role to play.

Want to learn more about hydrofracking and how you can make a difference?  One organization that’s working hard on this issue is Riverkeeper, based right here in Ossining.  Also, the Working Families party has been out front on this.  And today’s event was organized by Frack Action.

Activists gathered on the "million dollar staircase."
Activists gathered on the “million dollar staircase.”

Supporting Local Businesses with Fun Raising

The Craft Beer Tasting & Pool Party was a big success thanks in large part to the generosity and hard work of our hostess County Legislator Catherine Borgia and several local businesses.  Supporting local businesses is a core value for my family.  It reinforces our goals for preserving our environment, growing our local economy, rewarding ingenuity & customer service, and just old-fashioned looking out for your neighbor.  Some of the local business that directly supported this event were:

The Mike Risko Music School    Sterling Sweets   Charms by Amy  and  The Pastures Grass-Fed Free Range Beef  (at the Ossining Farmers Market)

Bill Hanauer brings such passion to his work as Mayor of Ossining.
Catherine Borgia was such a generous hostess. She’s a fantastic cook and throws a great party. One more terrific reason to become active with the Ossining Democratic Committee!
Life-size lawn signs will be ready in October. Will you post one at your Ossining home? Send me a message below if you can!

David Carlucci made at least four trips across the Tappan Zee on that Saturday. He’s working hard to get to know the Ossining voters he seeks to represent now that his NYS Senate district includes Rockland and Ossining.

I’m not sure what Sandy Galef and I found so hilarious, but I love this picture. She takes her role as public servant seriously, but is joyfully light-hearted about the rest of life.

The Ossining Side of the Hudson

“The 38th District…A River Runs Through It”  That was the phrase suggested by our host Miguel Hernandez at a weekend gathering with NYS Senator David Carlucci.  David Carlucci himself recognized that the senate district line established earlier this year carving Ossining off of Westchester and connecting us with Rockland was ridiculous.  Nonetheless, he has embraced his constituents on our side of the Hudson.

My husband Eric and I enjoyed a lovely evening in the beauty and relative cool of Miguel & Tamsen Hernandez’ yard on Saturday.  This was not our first opportunity to engage with David Carlucci.  I’m aware of several previous occasions when the senator has been in Ossining getting to know us, and our concerns.  Perhaps you shook hands with him at the Ossining Fair, Portuguese Day, or the St. Augustine’s Fair.  He may even have knocked on your door in June when he was gathering signatures for petitions.

The first time I met Senator Carlucci was at a Westchester fundraiser this spring.   When I mentioned my work as a liaison for Energize Ossining, he immediately recognized how the On-Bill Payment legislation he had recently helped pass in Albany, was both confusing to homeowners as well as extremely beneficial to anyone interested in making their home more energy efficient with no out-of-pocket expenses.

The next time you see Senator Carlucci, I encourage you to engage him in a conversation on an issue that matters to you.  He’s likely to be knowledgeable about any NYS legislation related to your concern.  David Carlucci embodies much of what we hope for from an elected official—intelligence, a sincere interest in the concerns and ideas of others, and a dedication to serving the people of his district.

I expect we will be seeing even more of Senator Carlucci and his staff when they open their Ossining office at 80 Spring Street on August 15th.  I appreciate former Mayor Hernandez’ sentiment that the Hudson River flowing through the 38th District may be viewed as a force that unites us.  Surely we do share many of the same concerns as voters on the west side of the Hudson.  And now that we also share a senator, an awareness of Rockland’s interests adds a new element to the glorious sunsets that celebrate the close of each day on the Ossining side of NYS Senate District 38.

Ossining’s in Rockland?

Ossining is in Rockland County?  If the proposed NYS Senate redistricting lines take effect, Ossining will be carved out of Westchester and taped on to District 38.

How did this happen?  The Republican lead Senate and the Democratic lead Assembly decided to renege on the commitment that many members of both parties signed last year to allow an Independent Redistricting Commission to draw the lines.  Instead politicians drew lines to ensure their own reelection, not to ensure that voters are fairly represented in Albany.

What can we do?  Sign this petition right now!  On Friday, March 2 the petition will be presented to Governor Cuomo, the State Senate and the State Assembly.  It is widely anticipated that Governor Cuomo will veto the bill and make modifications to the most egregious examples of gerrymandering.  Ossining has a smaller population than many of the other most disenfranchised communities, so we need to shout louder to be heard.  Please join in the chorus of Ossining voices directed at Albany, and sign this petition.

Paxton Looking Yonder at District 38

District 38?  I had the pleasure of meeting David Carlucci (our would-be senator) this weekend at a Westchester County Democratic Party Brunch.   He struck me as approachable, engaged and knowledgeable.  When I invited him to attend next week’s Energize Ossining Community Launch, he knew what I was talking about.  He even took it a step further and recognized how the recently passed “On Bill” payment system will be an asset to the Energize program.  Senator Carlucci committed that he, or a representative from his office, will be at the Energize Ossining Community Launch next Thursday, March 8 to help us all understand how homeowners can take advantage of the rather confusing, but extremely beneficial, “On Bill” payment system.

Clearly my opposition to the senate redistricting has nothing to do with the David Carlucci.  But even if Senator Carlucci makes dozens of trips across the Hudson to get to know Ossining, there’s no guarantee that he will continue to represent us until district lines are redrawn a decade from now.  It’s not a stretch to imagine that a politician ambitious and competent enough to get elected to the NYS Senate at age 29 will continue to run for ever-higher elected office.

Below is the letter I sent to Governor Cuomo earlier this week.  There’s still time for you to send an email to the Governor.  And it will take only a minute for you to sign the petition referred to above demanding that Ossining be represented by a senator on our side of the Hudson.

Governor Cuomo,

Senate Republicans may claim the district lines they propose are, “fair, legal and consistent with the Voting Rights Act”, but to Ossining voters, being lumped with Rockland County feels unfair, gerrymandered, and consistent with the worst of partisan politics. 

Please do not allow Ossining’s senate district to be gerrymandered into District 38 with Rockland County.  You ran for governor with a vow to “fix” Albany.  The Republicans’ proposed districts are intended only to strengthen and broaden their power in the senate rather than to fairly represent the voters of our state.  This partisan manipulation is enraging to Ossining voters on both sides of the aisle—and deservedly so.

Rivers are natural dividing lines between districts, counties, states, even nations.  The Hudson River is wide and Ossining residents must drive several miles to the nearest bridge connecting us to Senator Carlucci.  Let District 38 maintain its constituents in Haverstraw, Stony Point and Orange County.  They share demographic needs and geographic accessibility.

Ossining residents would be better served by a senator in Westchester.  Republican Senator Greg Ball who primarily represents areas north of us in Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties, would be more connected to us geographically.

Maintaining Ossining as part of District 37, or including us as part of District 35, would more fairly represent our demographic constituency as well as allow for our senator to easily connect to us geographically. 

I implore you to veto the Republicans’ proposed senate districts; restore Ossining’s senate district to the east side of the Hudson; and draw lines that honor the needs of NYS constituents above partisan incumbency. 


Victoria Gearity

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