Today you may have heard the news that the two factions of Democrats in the New York State Senate announcing their reconciliation. For years, a small group of Democratic State Senators have aligned with the Republican Conference, allowing them to maintain control over the upper chamber and what proposals can come to a vote. It has also allowed the Republicans to maintain significant power at the negotiating table over significant policies, like the State Budget.
So what does that mean for us in Upstate New York? Ten years ago, the State Senate districts were redrawn to slice up Monroe County into 6 different senate districts. Only one (the 56th District, currently held by Sen. Joe Robach, a Republican) is completely within Monroe County. The remaining 5 include one or more of our neighboring counties. This has weakened our representation in the State Senate. Of the 6 State Senators that represent us, 2 live within our county. Three of those remaining (including one who represents a portion of the City of Rochester in the 61st District Michael Ranzenhofer, a Republican) live in counties that do not even border Monroe.
So what does that mean for us? These districts were gerrymandered intentionally to make them difficult to run in against their Republican incumbents. However, over the past decade, something important has happened. More and more voters are becoming engaged with their political systems and more and more voters are enrolling in the Democratic Party. About 40.6% of all registered voters in Monroe County are currently registered Democrats.
Today’s announcement means there will be a new majority in the State Senate, and we need to support and recruit local candidates to add and strengthen that majority.
That’s why I hope you will come out to support our Democratic Challenger to Sen. Rich Funke in the 55th Senate District Jen Lunsford next week at her event on April 9, 2018, 5:30-7:30 PM at Edibles Restaurant & Bar, 704 University Ave, Rochester, NY 14607.
Today’s front page of the D&C highlighted recent legislation that will allow authorities to remove firearms from domestic abusers. This would look, to most, like a common-sense piece of legislation that was supported by our local Democratic State delegation, also co-sponsored by Majority Leader Joe Morelle, and passed both houses with overwhelming support. But Senator Rich Funke voted against this bill.
I’ll repeat, Senator Rich Funke (who received a 93% rating from the NRA in 2016) voted against a bill that ensures that domestic violence offenders do not have access to firearms.
So I hope to see you on Monday, April 9th to come and meet Jen. Ask her questions, find out where she stands on the issues and how she will be able to bring the voice of Upstate New Yorkers to the new majority in the State Senate. Clearly, our current representatives have not been voting in our interest.