• After Riding the Blue Wave, MCDC Leaders Back at Work

    Barely ten days after Monroe County Democrats joined the rest of the United States in riding the wave that ripped the U.S. House of Representatives’ majority away from Republicans, local town and city leaders gathered at Monroe County Democratic Committee (MDCD) headquarters for a workshop on November 15, 2018.

    The newly elected local officials, representing a number of Monroe County towns and the city of Rochester, will now join MCDC’s Executive Committee. The orientation and training session was led by MCDC’s Chair, Brittaney Wells. Wells welcomed everyone stating, “We prevailed in significant, very important electoral wins. We rode the wave with so many millions of other hopeful, hard working, determined Democrats around this county, our state, and our nation, but the work is not finished.” Wells added, “We continue moving, united, to complete our agenda on behalf of a more inclusive, fair, democratic, just, and economically prosperous Monroe County in all its districts.”

    As part of the agenda, the new leaders from across Monroe County received a preliminary work calendar for 2019, and they heard presentations and joined a question and answer session on topics related to outreach, leadership, communications, and general organizational processes in preparation for the 2019 election cycle. In addition to Ms. Wells, presenters included Tom Ferrarese, Monroe County Election Commissioner, Ernest S. Flagler-Mitchell, Monroe County legislator, and members of the Strategic Communications Committee, Joanne Greene-Blose, co-chair, and Daniel Mooney.

     

  • Monroe Democrats Celebrate Election Day Victories

    “This has been a big night for Democrats here in Rochester, Monroe County, across New York State, and America,” said Brittaney Wells, Chairwoman of the Monroe County Democratic Committee.  “Voters came out in droves to support sensible, hard-working Democratic candidates across the board, and we have started the ball rolling to take back our county next year and our country in two years.  The Democratic Party will move ahead after this election to offer voters candidates who will stand up for their values in next year’s local elections and beyond.  Today we gave voters a choice between policies, candidates, and government that believe America’s best days are ahead, and that our country, and the communities that make it up, are strongest when we celebrate and embrace the diversity that defines us.”

    Joe Morelle led the ticket for local Democrats with his resounding victory for the Congressional seat long held by Louise Slaughter.  Democrats also won local contests throughout Rochester and Monroe County and had strong showings for Governor Cuomo, Letitia James, Tom DiNapoli, state assembly, and other state-wide candidates.

    “Tonight local Democrats delivered, and I am grateful to Monroe County voters for their support of our party and its candidates,” said Chairwoman Wells.

  • It’s Time to Vote! Important Information for Voting on Tuesday, Nov. 6

    Important information for voting in the general election for federal, state, and local offices

    Polls are open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 6

    Absentee ballot deadline is today:  Oct 30 – last day to postmark an absentee ballot application

    You will be casting TWO votes for Democratic Congressional candidate Joe Morelle

    There are TWO elections for our Congressional representative, divided into two columns on your ballot.  You will cast one vote for the two-year Congressional term beginning in January 2019 and one vote to complete the unexpired term of former Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, beginning immediately. The Democratic candidate is Joe Morelle. If you want Mr. Morelle to fill both Louise Slaughter’s unexpired term AND fill the two-year term beginning in January, you must vote for him in BOTH COLUMNS.

    Click here to see a sample ballot.

    Don’t Know if You’re Registered to Vote or Where to Vote?

    Use Monroe County’s Online Voter site to find out if you are registered to vote, where you vote, the candidates for which you will be voting (sample ballots are not yet available, but will be soon), to change your voting information (e.g., change your address if you’ve moved), and to request an absentee ballot.

    Another great resource is Everything You Need to Know to Vote.

    Who are the Democrats on the Ballot?

    Federal level: 

    State level:

    Mr. Ciaccio and Ms. Gallaher are not running against each other as there are two openings on the Supreme Court so you may vote for both candidates.

    Local level (including representatives to the New York State Senate and the Assembly)

    Ms. Reid and Ms. Shepard are not running against each other as there are two openings on the Family Court so you may vote for both candidates.

    Other candidates will vary depending on where you live.  Click here to check your ballot.

    The Monroe County Board of Elections has a complete list of all candidates running in Monroe County in all parties for any elected office.

    Where can I get Information about the Candidates?

    Most candidates have Web sites where you can learn more about them. Do an Internet search using the candidate’s name to find their Web site or click on the live links above.

    In addition, a number of non-partisan groups offer candidate information. Examples are:
    The League of Women Voters – New York state
    The League of Women Voters (Rochester chapter)
    Ballotpedia, an encyclopedia of American politics and elections

     

  • Get Ready to Vote on Tuesday, November 6

    Get ready to vote in the general election for federal, state, and local offices on Tuesday, November 6. Polls are open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

    Deadlines

    • Oct 12 – last day to register to vote in person or to postmark a mailed-in registration form
    • Oct 30 – last day to postmark an absentee ballot application

    Don’t Know if You’re Registered to Vote or Where to Vote?

    Use Monroe County’s Online Voter site to find out if you are registered to vote, where you vote, the candidates for which you will be voting (sample ballots are not yet available, but will be soon), to change your voting information (e.g., change your address if you’ve moved), and to request an absentee ballot.

    Another great resource is Everything You Need to Know to Vote.

    How to Register to Vote

    The Monroe County Online Voter site can also be used if you need to register to vote (see the tab entitled “Register To Vote”).

    You will be taken to copy of the voter registration form that you can fill out and mail in. If you are registering in Monroe County, the mailing address is Monroe County Board of Elections, 39 Main St. W., Rochester, NY 14614. Mailing addresses for the Boards of Elections in other counties are on the form itself. Your voter registration form must be postmarked no later than Oct. 12.

    Click here for a Spanish version of the voter registration form.

    Click here to register online at the New York state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Web site, if you have a New York driver’s license, learner’s permit, or a non-driver identification card. Here’s the link to use:

    Eligibility to Vote

    You must be a United States citizen to register to vote.

    The minimum age for voting is 18 at the time of the election, so you may register if you are not yet 18 but will turn 18 before the election in which you wish to vote. So, for example, if you want to vote in the primary on September 13, you can register even if you’re only 17 as long as you will turn 18 by September 13. Similarly, you may register for the general election even if you’re now 17 as long as you will turn 18 by November 6. You do, of course, have to register by the appropriate registration deadlines specified above.

    If you are convicted felon, you are eligible to register to vote once you have completed your sentence including probation.

    Who are the Democrats the Ballot?

    Federal level: 

    State level:

    Mr. Ciaccio and Ms. Gallaher are not running against each other as there are two openings on the Supreme Court so you may vote for both candidates.

    Local level (including representatives to the New York State Senate and the Assembly)

    Ms. Reid and Ms. Shepard are not running against each other as there are two openings on the Family Court so you may vote for both candidates.

    Other candidates will vary depending on where you live.  Click here to check your ballot as we get closer to the election date.

    The Monroe County Board of Elections has a complete list of all candidates running in Monroe County in all parties for any elected office.

    Where can I get Information about the Candidates?

    Most candidates have Web sites where you can learn more about them. Do an Internet search using the candidate’s name to find their Web site.

    In addition, a number of non-partisan groups offer candidate information. Examples are:
    The League of Women Voters – New York state
    The League of Women Voters (Rochester chapter)
    Ballotpedia, an encyclopedia of American politics and elections

     

  • Candidate Profile: Jen Lunsford for NY State Senate

    Jen Lunsford is a lawyer, a mom, and a community volunteer running for the New York State Senate against Rich Funke in the 55th District.  Jen is 36 years old and resides in Penfield with her husband, Scott, a Pittsford native, and their two-year old son.  After graduating from Boston University School of Law in 2009, Jen moved to Rochester to begin her legal career.  Since then, she has worked to protect the interests of sick and disabled people through her work as an attorney, and to advocate for children as a volunteer with the Center for Youth.  Jen believes that public service works best when it actually serves the public.  She has pledged to hold regular public forums and open office hours throughout her district once she is elected.

    “Elected office is a customer service job. Too many elected officials forget who they work for and shut themselves off to opinions that differ from their own.  When you are given the privilege of serving your community you owe it to those you represent to hear them out, even if they didn’t vote for you or donate to your campaign.  When you are elected to office, you should represent everyone, even those who disagree with you.  Something I have learned over the course of my legal career, where I meet people from all walks of life, is that we are far more the same than we are different.  We all want the same things– quality schools, good healthcare, safe communities and good job opportunities for ourselves and our families– we just sometimes disagree about how to get there.”

     

     

  • Download Your Proxy Form for the Upcoming Special Election for Congress Here

    Here is the form to use for the proxy vote if you are unable to attend the Nominating Convention for the Special Election for the 25th Congressional District of the Monroe County Democratic Committee to be held on Monday, August 27th, 2018 at 6:00 P.M.

    ==> click here.

    This form can also be found on the 2018 Candidates page.

  • Congressional Challenger Nate McMurray Speaks Out against Rep. Chris Collins

    North Tonawanda native and Grand Island Town Supervisor, Nate McMurray, is running for congress in the 27th Congressional District, a deep red district currently represented by Republican Congressman Chris Collins.  Upon first hearing of the Congressman’s indictments for insider trading, Mr. McMurray thought it best to stay quiet until the dust settled. Then he heard Rep. Collins’ statement Wednesday evening, Aug. 8, denying any wrongdoing and Mr. McMurray knew he needed to say something. The opportunity to do so came the next morning at the New York State United Teachers building in downtown Rochester. Surrounded by campaign workers, elected officials, and the media, Mr. McMurray pledged to speak out against the corruption in Washington, DC. and give his constituency a congressman they could be proud of.

    “It’s time for him [Rep. Collins]to go,” McMurray stated. “It’s time for new leadership. We’re not talking about progressive versus Republican. Left versus right. We’re talking about right versus wrong. This is an argument about who is honest and dishonest. Who is going to serve our community and represent our community.”

    “We have this idea right now that America is so divided; I bet your dinner table is divided. We have people in all different parties, and ideas, and beliefs. This idea that those people are over here and we’re over there; that might be good for talk radio but it’s not good for America. And that’s not the type of leader I’m going to be. I’m going to represent all of NY27.”

    When asked if he thought a Democrat could win in this district he nodded and said,”We’re going to win. But this would be a win not just for Democrats. This would be a win for NY27.”

    If you are interested in getting involved or donating you can do so at Mr. McMurray’s campaign website, votemcmurray.com.

     

  • Candidate Profile: Fatimat Reid for Family Court Judge

    The American Dream is alive and well in Fatimat Reid, a candidate for Monroe County Family Court Judge, who is a prime representative of this ideal. Her unique life story began in the state of New York, where she was born. As a child, her family moved to Nigeria, where she was raised during an important period of her life. She returned to the United States and then, at the age of ten, she became the subject of a Family Court custody action and spent time in foster care. These experiences give her a special perspective on Family Court. “I understand, from first-hand experience how frightening and frustrating court proceedings can be for children and all involved, particularly for those stricken by poverty and those with immigrant identity status.”

    Not only does Ms. Reid bring significant personal experience to the judicial bench from the perspective of a child involved in a family court case, she also brings extensive professional experience. Reid has established herself in the legal community as an attorney who has broad legal experience having served private practice as well as government entities. She currently serves as Chief of Staff for the Rochester City School District (RCSD). At RCSD she supports the school district’s mission of providing quality education while promoting wellness for all children and their families in the community. Ms. Reid commented, “I am honored to work in conjunction with educators and families serving the needs of all students”

    A passion for and knowledge of the law completes an impressive professional profile for Ms. Reid. She graduated from the University at Buffalo Law School and is a member of the Monroe County Bar Association, the Rochester Black Bar Association and the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys. She began her legal career as an attorney with the law firm of Davidson Fink LLP and with Wolpoff and Abramson. Most recently, she has served as a City of Rochester Municipal Attorney and as an Associate Counsel for the Rochester City School District.

    Her campaign’s Web site lists and describes numerous awards and important recognitions that Fatimat Reid has received from the community and from professional organizations in Monroe County.

    When asked her perspective about current situations, such as the treatment many children and adolescents are experiencing at the U.S. southern border and other cases involving child abuse in Monroe County, she said that she will “adhere to and apply the law as it relates to each case that arrives in front of her with fairness and expediency.” In doing so, she always prioritizes “the well-being of children.”

    Reid also referenced the principles contained in the United Nations Declaration of Rights of the Child, adopted by the UN in 1989 and brought into force in September of 1990. That universal proclamation establishes the rights of the child with the goal that each child “may have a happy childhood and enjoy for his/her own good and for the good of society the rights to freedoms.” This document enshrines universal principles of justice that call “upon parents, men and women as individuals, voluntary organizations, local authorities and governments to recognize these rights and to strive for their observance,” concluded the judicial candidate for Family Court in Monroe County.

    Experience, fairness, and knowledge of the law: Fatimat Reid has it all!

  • Get Ready to Vote in the Upcoming Elections: September Primary and November General Election

    Get ready to vote in the upcoming elections. There is a New York state and local primary on Thursday, September 13 from noon to 9 p.m. and there is a general election for federal, state, and local offices on Tuesday, November 6.

    You still have time to register to vote for the primary – the deadline is August 19.

    The deadline to register to vote for the November general election is October 12.

    There’s a great Web site you can use to find out if you are registered to vote, where you vote, the candidates for which you will be voting (sample ballots are not yet available, but will be soon), to change your voting information (e.g., change your address if you’ve moved), and to request an absentee ballot. Here’s the link:
    https://www.monroecounty.gov/etc/voter/

    How to Register to Vote

    If you need to register to vote, you can use the link, https://www.monroecounty.gov/etc/voter/ and then click on the tab, “Register to Vote.” You will be taken to copy of the voter registration form that you can fill out and mail in. If you are registering in Monroe County, the mailing address is Monroe County Board of Elections, 39 Main St. W., Rochester, NY 14614. Mailing addresses for the Boards of Elections in other counties are on the form itself.

    A Spanish version of the voter registration form can be found at:
    https://www2.monroecounty.gov/files/MonroeCounty-Mail-Spanish-2015.pdf

    You can also call the Monroe County Board of Elections at 585-753-1550 to request a voter registration form be mailed to you.

    You can even register online at the New York state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Web site, if you have a New York driver’s license, learner’s permit, or a non-driver identification card. Here’s the link to use:
    https://dmv.ny.gov/more-info/electronic-voter-registration-application

    Eligibility to Vote

    You must be a United States citizen to register to vote.

    The minimum age for voting is 18 at the time of the election, so you may register if you are not yet 18 but will turn 18 before the election in which you wish to vote. So, for example, if you want to vote in the primary on September 13, you can register even if you’re only 17 as long as you will turn 18 by September 13. Similarly, you may register for the general election even if you’re now 17 as long as you will turn 18 by November 6. You do, of course, have to register by the appropriate registration deadlines specified above.

    If you are convicted felon, you are eligible to register to vote once you have completed your sentence including probation.

    Who is on the Ballot in the Upcoming State and Local Primary?

    At the state level, there is a two-way primary for the Democratic nomination for the office of Governor. The candidates (in alphabetical order) are the incumbent, Andrew Cuomo, and Cynthia Nixon.

    There is also four-way primary for Attorney General. The candidates are Leecia Eve, Tish James, Sean Patrick Maloney, and Zephyr Teachout.

    At the local level, primary candidates will vary depending on where you live. You can use the https://www.monroecounty.gov/etc/voter/ link to check your ballot as the date of the state and local primary (September 13) grows near.

    Where can I get Information about the Candidates?

    Most candidates have Web sites where you can learn more about them. Do an Internet search using the candidate’s name to find their Web site.

    In addition, a number of non-partisan groups offer candidate information. Examples are:
    • The League of Women Voters – New York state: http://lwvny.org/
    • The League of Women Voters (Rochester chapter): http://www.lwv-rma.org/
    • Ballotpedia, an encyclopedia of American politics and elections: http://www.ballotpedia.org/

  • Infiltrating American Democracy: Team Watch or Team Defend?

    By Lottie Gonzalez-Habes

    In New York state, and in Monroe county’s towns, suburbs, and cities, we are witnessing events coming from multiple fronts signaling that America’s democracy is being infiltrated. The ultimate goal is to weaken core beliefs we have established as a nation. The country, granted, is an imperfect union, but it remains a world model for free societies. Infiltration has begun with subtle messaging from bad “actors” entertaining audiences in American living rooms. It has spread, unintentionally, with help from small town radio and television outlets, and it has reached high pitch with the popularity of “people friendly,” technology-driven social media platforms. When voices dare to publicly express an opinion about these infiltration efforts aloud, gullible partisans and the opposition brush concerns aside by labeling it “exaggeration,” “hyperbole,” and other dismissive terms.

    History and writers teach us that language has been a most effective weapon when enemies of democracy have attempted and succeeded in subverting societies in other parts of the world. Our American principles of freedom of press, transparency, government accountability, participation, and justice for all peoples are undergoing a brutal attack. The attack, however, is delivered with “soft salesman” tactics. The attack on democracy is reaching American audiences using all the traditional propaganda tools: repetition, smiles, big lies, humor, and appearance of strength, as well as appeals that exploit emotions and grievances some may feel. If this sounds familiar to you as a reader, if we think that what we see happening has happened at another time, or if what we hear taking place even vaguely reminds us of high school level history classes, it is because all of it has happened before in other places to people around the world. Why then doubt that similar infiltration efforts are taking root in our own county, cities, and rural and urban places?

    History confirms that a new version of the same ideas (which have destroyed freedoms around the world before) are being introduced in the United States. In 1944 Hideki Tojo, Prime Minister of Japan and Minister of War appropriated powers and promised a “new order in Asia” with his aggressive policies. And never forget how Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Propaganda (1933) believed that “people never rule themselves” and that “rank and file are usually more primitive than we imagine . . . Propaganda must therefore always be essentially simple and repetitious”.

    Most valued American principles are being undermined in front of our eyes by Trump’s Republican administration now in power: respect for public service, the right to unionize and organize, public schools, the right to vote and be elected in free elections, having a free and independent press, national security and public safety agencies, equal protection under the law, environmental protections – all are being undermined while we watch. Examples of recent attacks and the dismantling of important American principles are documented and published in local and national media but are too often to be dismissed.

    Are we choosing to be spectators or are we going to be defenders? All Democrats, whether we lean or consider ourselves left, centrist, or conservative, must stand in indivisible coalition acting locally to defend ourselves, the nation, its citizens, and those democratic principles we strongly hold.

    What can we do?

    Here in Rochester it’s time to choose a team. I am not talking about voting for a candidate running for office or choosing a campaign in which to volunteer. The decision is larger. We are called to decide whether we will be spectators on Team Watch, viewing a “reality” spectacle courtesy of Trump’s Republican broadcasting cronies, or are we going to work, resist and act locally in meaningful ways to advance democracy and defeat its enemies. It’s on us: Team Defend!