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On Albany capitol steps, Samuels, NRI and State Senate Democratic candidates Joanne Yepsen and Susan Savage endorse Rivera; pledge to oppose Espada for any leadership role in the Senate

Albany, NY – On the steps of the Capitol, women Democratic candidates for State Senate today endorsed Gustavo Rivera in his primary race against disgraced State Senator Pedro Espada. State Senate candidates Joanne Yepsen and Susan Savage were joined by Democratic Activist Bill Samuels, who has made Espada’s ouster and Rivera’s election the top priority for his New Roosevelt Initiative.

Yepsen and Savage explained that they were looking forward to working with Rivera to reform Albany should they all be elected in November, and they pledged to oppose any effort to keep Espada in his current leadership position should he manage to be reelected. The reform-minded candidates are all challenging incumbent Republicans who voted to make Espada the Senate Majority Leader during his attempted coup in 2009.  They urged fellow candidates and lawmakers to join them in endorsing Rivera and rejecting Espada.

“Pedro Espada has no business being in the State Senate,” said Joanne Yepsen, State Senate candidate in the 43rd District. “And neither does my opponent Roy McDonald, who voted to make Espada a leader and bring gridlock to the legislature. That’s why I’m supporting Espada’s challenger Gustavo Rivera, to make sure Espada is held accountable for his actions.”

“Hugh Farley voted to make New York City’s Pedro Espada the Senate President, placing him a heartbeat away from the Governor’s office,” said Susan Savage, State Senate candidate for the 44th District which includes Fulton, Montgomery, Schenectady and part of Saratoga Counties. “By voting for Espada, Hugh Farley put his own political interests above those of the 44th District and the taxpayers of this state. If Pedro Espada returns to the Senate, he should know he will not be receiving my support for any position of leadership.”

Betsy Gotbaum, former New York City Public Advocate, who has hosted top women reform candidates who will change the State Senate said, “I applaud these women for standing up against corruption and endorsing fellow candidates who will carry the mantle of reform to Albany.”

Samuels praised the willingness of all the candidates to put principles first in endorsing Rivera against Espada. “Across the state, we have five Democratic women state senate candidates who are courageous enough to take a stand, endorse Rivera and put themselves on the record as unwilling to support Espada for any leadership position,” Samuels said. “I am impressed by the breadth and depth of women stepping up to run for office in New York this year. The election of more progressive women to the State Senate can send a powerful message that we can change the culture in the statehouse and finally bring true reform to Albany.”

Samuels, who was an active candidate for Lieutenant Governor until recently, founded the New Roosevelt Initiative to help make New York State’s legislature the best in the country.

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