March 6, 2006

NYS Dems Assess Candidates

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Active Democratic leaders from across New York State convened this past weekend at Cornell to speak and cast their ballots in a non-binding straw poll for political positions including governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, comptroller and U.S. senator. The Statler Hotel lobby was packed Friday night as Democrats met and cheered on candidates as part of the Democratic Rural Conference, which raised local concerns of upstate New York’s 41 rural counties.

In a Statler ballroom decorated with red, white, blue and Statue of Liberty balloons, speakers included Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (D-N.Y.) and Comptroller Alan Hevesi (D-N.Y.).

David Paterson, New York State senate democratic leader, who is running for lieutenant governor, saying, “The Republican leadership has left the economic state [of New York] in ruin. We can do a lot better.”

Paterson said that Spitzer has plans for bringing jobs and people back to the New York area, alleviating Medicaid burdens on counties and improving education.

“This is going to be a Democratic year everywhere,” said Herman “Denny” Farrell, New York State Democratic chair, speaking after Paterson. Farrell pointed out the need to “make this a state where children want to come back because they can get jobs here.”

According to Alan Hevesi, New York State comptroller, who took the platform next, New York State needs reform – more specifically, fiscal, legislative, debt and procurement reform.

“We do not agree with the other team that believes government is the enemy. I don’t believe that teachers, policemen and firefighters are the enemy,” he said. Hevesi argued that the real enemy is stupid, corrupt and wasteful government.

“[Let’s] make DRC mean: Democrats Regain Control,” said Denise King, New York State Democratic Committee chair, who introduced Clinton, running for re-election as senator.

“Hillary Clinton listened and learned about the people of New York,” she said.

Receiving a standing ovation as she walked across the stage, Clinton said, “We just have to keep speaking up and speaking out against policies that are bad for New York and bad for America.”

She added, “People know that we are headed in the wrong direction now