New York, NY – Bill Samuels and the New Roosevelt Initiative congratulate Governor-elect Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor-elect Duffy on their impressive win Tuesday. Governor-elect Cuomo put forth a substantive and outstanding platform to finally bring legislative and economic reform to the state.
It is worth remembering, however, that New York voters have been at this juncture before, most recently with the election of Eliot Spitzer and the Republican-led state legislature, and subsequently when the Democrats took control of the State Senate. In both cases, the voters were understandably angry with the lack of progress.
No matter which party ends up in control of the Senate, they need to understand that the dysfunction they have displayed over the past two years; the failure to pass meaningful, substantive reforms and the failure to effectively rein in spending has undermined the voters’ faith in either party’s their ability to lead the State Senate.
This can be achieved if all legislators, Democrats and Republicans, who made commitments to groups like Ed Koch’s New York Uprising coalition and the New Roosevelt Initiative, hold true to the principles of reform.
Unfortunately, I am not optimistic that this will happen. While New York’s economic situation may force the legislature to deal with certain fiscal reforms, there is no similar bottom-line element to the structural governmental reforms we need, and I believe that whatever is done will not be enough. If we are ever going to really turn New York around, we must have the courage to be even bolder and change everything, which requires us to craft and pass the best state constitution in the nation.
To achieve this, the legislature and Governor-elect Cuomo must put an initiative on the ballot in 2011 for a Constitutional Convention, with the goal of addressing every aspect of how our state government is run. It is the only way we will permanently solve the issues of independent , nonpartisan redistricting, the elimination of outside income for lawmakers, campaign finance, and fiscal reforms. By tackling these issues head on Governor-elect Cuomo, the legislature, and the people at a historic convention can restore trust and respect to Albany , create the nation’s best legislature and make New York a exciting place to live and work.