Wednesday, June 10, 2009

SL Dem Committee Supports Senator Gillibrand

Chairman Mark Bellardini and the St. Lawrence County Democratic Committee gave overwhelming support to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand as she moves to remain the junior senator from New York. Senator Gillibrand has proven her value to Northern New York and already established a strong working relationship with St. Lawrence County during her first few months on the job.

According to Legislator Daniel Girard, “When I heard the names being mentioned for the appointment, I knew that Senator Gillibrand would be the best choice for St. Lawrence County. Her congressional district had many of the same values and difficulties as we do. She will serve the North Country and all of New York very well.”

Recently Senator Gillibrand attended an economic roundtable discussion with St. Lawrence County elected officials and business people in attendance. Her understanding of the area and the problems faced in St. Lawrence County was apparent. Senator Gillibrand came with suggestions and proved how she can be part of the solution for the North Country.

Chairman Mark Bellardini added, “Senator Gillibrand’s work in Senate committees and subcommittees places her in the areas where St. Lawrence County can develop, including agriculture, green jobs, environmental health and public works oversight. With Senator Gillibran’s clout, we can see the development of a four-lane highway, new industrial jobs, and a redevelopment of agriculture in the county.”

With all of the positives, the St. Lawrence County Democratic Committee’s endorsement is a wholehearted, simple decision about what is best for this county.

SL Dem Committe Endorses DA Nicole Duve

The St. Lawrence County Democratic Committee proudly endorses District Attorney Nicole Duve for her reelection campaign. Ms. Duve proved her dedication to St. Lawrence County during her first campaign as she spent months discussing the pertinent issues with residents across St. Lawrence County. She fused these opinions with her own beliefs and appealed to the voters to come out as the overwhelming victor for her first term.

During her first term, Ms. Duve worked to protect St. Lawrence County through convictions, her strong management of the District Attorney’s office, and her working relationship with other court agencies. Ms. Duve has earned the respect of the people she has worked with during these four years.

Chairman Mark Bellardini stated, “Ms. Duve will continue to serve St. Lawrence County with the strength and fairness she has shown during her first term. As the incumbent she has set a wide path for the DA’s office, giving her the room to carry on fighting for safety and justice for all of St. Lawrence County.”

Legislators Call for Border Solution

As St. Lawrence County Legislators for areas that have been greatly affected due to the closing of the International Border Crossing, Greg Paquin and Daniel Girard would like to call for a resolution that involves our American President and the Prime Minister of Canada, along with representatives from the Mohawk Council for Akwesasne. This would show our local constituents that each national government views this problem as a true international occurrence.

As the protests continue and the International Bridge located between Cornwall and Rooseveltown remains closed, many people have commented on the local impact for communities on both sides of the border. Estimated losses for Cornwall businesses stand at approximately $10,000 per day for each business. Merchants in Massena, especially the St. Lawrence Centre mall complex, and surrounding St. Lawrence County areas, have seen their sales drop significantly as the bridge closing limits Canadian customers. Businesses on Akwesasne have felt similar struggles, especially in a downturn at the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino and the Mohawk Bingo Palace, which will decrease the amount of money our local communities receive from the Tribal Gaming Compact.

Beyond the monetary impact is a personal impact for many families. The location of the bridges between the United States, the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation, and Canada has allowed families who straddle the border to keep in contact with minimal effort for generations. Now, the path has been cut, and families are forced to find alternatives.

While most of the discussion about the bridge closure focuses on the local fallout, this is in essence an international problem. The reported issues deal with national border security and tribal sovereignty, unfortunately a solution that respects both issues has not been brought forward.

President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and representatives from the Mohawk Council for Akwesasne should sit together and give this issue the respect it deserves as an international problem. Hopefully, then a permanent solution beyond a permanent closing of the bridge spans could be reached.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Looking for Solutions

In the spirit of Obabmaism and striking at the progressive root of the party, I'm calling for solutions.

I have a few ideas, myself, but I welcome solutions from across the political perspective. We hear about the problems all of the time. St. Lawrence County has an unemployment rate above 11%. Balmat Zinc, General Motors, and ALCOA, have laid off hundreds, and the ancillary job loss increases. Our young people are leaving and we're too isolated for anyone to come here. Our old infrastructure is crumbling, and modern infrastructure is lagging behind.

What can we do to make St. Lawrence County a better place to live?

I'll wait a week, and hopefully get some good comments. Please add what you think would be good solutions, regardless of your political affiliation.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

St. Lawrence County Democrats Release Their Platform

The St.Lawrence County Democratic Committee recently approved a political platform according to Waddington resident Jonathan Putney, a member of the NYS Democratic Committee. The Democrats are seeking to provide the public with a “roadmap” so that the citizens can observe their goals. “The platform highlights our values. It revolves around initiatives to serve the people well. One of the key goals is to improve the economic well being of our citizens. That involves attracting businesses to the region and supporting the economic engines we already have.”
Dan Girard a county legislator representing Waddington, Louisville and Massena commented on the platform. “It expands upon some of the initiatives that we have been able to bring forward and those that we would like to follow through on. The PLA with the new jail shows how everyone benefits when we can create a square deal between laborers and the county.” Girard stated that the legislature has tried to be mindful of the needs of the public when crafting their budgets. “We have been trying to strike a fair balance. On one hand we want to meet the peoples need for services and a safe infrastructure but we also don’t want to place an excessive burden on taxpayers.”
Greg Paquin the new Chairman in the St.Lawrence County Legislature reflected on the Platform. “In the current economic climate, we need to ensure that St.Lawrence County builds for future economic growth. The opportunity is now to rebuild our infrastructure from the federal stimulus package.” Paquin added that our region benefited from Governor Paterson’s recent visit to Massena in January to sign the power agreement between Alcoa and NYPA. “This was an important step in trying to maintain some stability within the region.”
Putney concluded that the work of the Democrats isn’t finished. He spoke about an effort to bring a 4 lane highway to the North Country. “The county recently passed a resolution supporting a 4 Lane highway which can help bring long term benefits to this region. The vast majority of citizens in St.Lawrence County will gain opportunities from the highway, rather than lose them. In short this is something we should embrace for our future growth and survival.”

St. Lawrence County
Roadmap to a Secure Future
In order to provide a high quality of life for all our citizens.
1 – To ensure that St. Lawrence County is and remains financially strong and secure.
1- Maintain an adequate fund balance annually.
2- Maintain or improve the county credit rating.
3- Resist unfunded mandates from the State and Federal governments.

2 - To Improve transportation in St. Lawrence County

1- Effectively maintain the county highway infrastructure
2- Promote and encourage the development of a 4 lane highway
3- Promote and encourage expanded use of the Port of Ogdensburg
4- Promote and encourage rail freight improvement and expansion
5- Assist and promote public transportation
6- Support sustainable passenger air service

3 - To improve the economic well-being of our citizens

1- Support economic development initiatives that promote creation and retention of quality jobs.
2- Support initiatives to keep current levels of low cost power available in SL County.
3- Reduce the percentage of County residents living in poverty.
4- Support initiatives that provide essential and fundamental help to those in need.
5- Make broadband available to everyone in the County.
6- Support the agriculture economy; farmers and agribusiness, both big and small.

4 - To build a high performance and diverse county organization and workforce.

1- Support training initiatives
2- Support diversity in hiring practices
3- Require annual performance evaluations of county employee performance.

5- Protect and manage our natural resources and environment

1- Clean up environmentally blighted property to make it useful and productive.
2- Promote and encourage the development of renewable energy resources.
3- Retain energy resources for regional use.
4- Effectively manage county timber resources.
5- Support State and Federal clean air and water quality programs.

6 – Promote continuous improvement of the general welfare of all our citizens.
1- Support strong public safety
2- Promote tourism and encourage expansion of the county tourism industry
3- Support and encourage improvements to the physical appearance of our community.
4- Support public libraries and encourage increased participation and usage of the library system.
5- Support quality of life improvement initiatives for our senior citizens.
6- Support arts and entertainment programs
7- Support sports and recreation initiatives
8- Support and promote public health and public health initiatives
9- Support education at all levels and youth programs

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Democratic Umbrella

When we look at national elections, we can often see the divergent ideas included in the Democratic Party. As politics move left of center, personal reasons stem from intellectual philosophy, freedom from certain governmental constraints, economic issues for families, or a sense that we have necessities in life that the government must help us all meet.

In little Northern New York, we are sometimes lulled into the false belief that, "everyone is the same as me." We need to be more insightful about, and respectful of, our differences. As a group, the St. Lawrence County Democratic Party, all of those elected and non-elected members, seem to be pulling in different directions. We all try to focus on our own personal vision instead of working together to accomplish as much as we possibly can.

It really comes down to impatience. As more towns in St. Lawrence County elect Democratic leadership and the Board of Legislators has a Democratic majority, Democrats now have the responsibility of leadership rather than the burden of criticizing as part of the minority. Unfortunately, some of us have not made the transition and still continue to criticize rather than lead. With the divergent opinions all existing under a large umbrella, many Democrats find it easier to criticize people from their own party than change, be patient, take a leadership role, and wait to be heard.

I'm Voting Republican! (Ha!)

I like the sarcasm of this clip.