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Samuels hails Joy’s bucking Albany’s entrenched leadership to reject corrupt incumbent Pedro Espada and endorse Rivera; assails incumbent John DeFrancisco for voting to elect Espada President of the Senate; cites imperative to increase percentage of women serving in the Senate

New York, NY – Today, New Roosevelt Initiative Founder Bill Samuels endorsed Senate candidate Kathleen Joy (D-50) praising her courage for the highly unusual step of endorsing Gustavo Rivera over corrupt incumbent Senator Pedro Espada in the party primary, against the wishes of Albany’s entrenched political leadership. Samuels cited her continued push for reform and ability to help increase the number of women lawmakers in the state Senate, which currently ranks 40th among the country’s statehouses in percentage of women lawmakers, alongside Alaska, Alabama and Mississippi.

Joy is challenging incumbent Senator John DeFrancisco who voted to make Espada President of the Senate and went along with fellow GOP lawmakers to offer Espada more than $2 million in member items to join the GOP caucus. Espada’s party switch brought the Albany legislature to a halt during the summer of 2009.

In July, New Roosevelt was the first organization to endorse Rivera in his challenge to Espada, who he handily defeated in the Sept 14th primary.

Joy thanked Samuels and New Roosevelt for their endorsement and took aim at incumbent State Senator John DeFrancisco. “My opponent John DeFrancisco voted to make Espada President of the Senate, putting his corrupt practices a mere heartbeat away from the Governor’s office, going so far as to give him a big hug for switching parties. That is simply unacceptable and we must hold DeFrancisco responsible for putting partisan interests ahead of the people in our district.”

In his organization’s endorsement, Samuels hailed Joy for standing up to party bosses by endorsing Rivera and said they have the opportunity to lead a group of reform-minded women Senators who can change Albany and its culture for the better.

“With the defeat of Pedro Espada, we have not only ousted the most corrupt member of the State Senate, but demonstrated to voters that Democrats can police their own party,” Samuels said. “New Roosevelt heartily endorses Kathleen. We want her to join a remarkable group of independent, reformist women leaders, who can go to Albany change its culture.”

Currently, New York ranks far behind other statehouses in its percentage of State Senators who are women. New Hampshire leads the way with 54% of its State Senate comprised of women legislators, while New York ranks 40th in the nation with only 16% women legislators.

Samuels is a native of upstate New York, who grew up near Rochester in Canandaigua. He founded the New Roosevelt Initiative to reform Albany and help make New York’s legislature the best in the country. He believes the only way to achieve such reform is to put a diverse group of reform-minded men and women into the Statehouse.

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