Remaking Albany

The Fiscal Policy Institute
The Hispanic Federation
League of Woman’s Voters (New York)
Strong Economy for All
Women’s Campaign Forum
Alliance for Quality Education
Communication Workers of America District 1
Community Voices Heard
Make the Road New York

Samuels and artist Robert Greenberg have created a series of satirical illustrations on the corruption and dysfunction in Albany. Shown below is their recasting of a classic political illustration, “Campaign for Reform.” This image is based on the 1897 Lewis Dalrymple illustration for Puck, “The Campaign of Noise.” The original illustration depicted corruption’s hold over the state capital. In this new version, Samuels leads the charge to reform Albany, surrounded by Andrew Cuomo, Eric Schneiderman, Liz Krueger, and great reformers from New York’s past: Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Eleanor Roosevelt.

For more on Tiger v. Donkey, click here.

State Senator Liz Krueger and former Senator now Attorney General Eric Schniderman review with Bill how to draw the satirical illustrations above at a fundraiser for Liz Krueger at Bill’s home.

New York will not become the true Empire State and the New York Legislature will not be a respected and effective institution, unless the legislative process is reformed.

New Roosevelt focuses on reforms in five main areas, reforms that once enacted, will create the opportunity for new legislators to get elected and take on the issues that have been ignored for far too long:

Redistricting Reform
New York has one of the worst gerrymandered district maps in the nation.

Cuomo’s Redistricting Amendment on the ballot in 2014 must be defeated.

It is an incumbent protection plan that is not “independent redistricting.” Redistricting rules written in 1894 were found unconstitutional in 1964, but we still haven’t fixed the problem. Our system takes power from the voters, gives it to lobbyists and special interests and has created a crisis in government. It’s absurd, and we’ve had enough.

Campaign Finance Reform
New York City’s Small Donor Empowerment Program must be adapted by the state. Special interests own Albany. They funnel huge amounts of cash to politicians, who use it to stay in office and do their bidding. But they’re supposed to work for us, and do what’s right for the taxpayers. Until we clean up this corrupt system, we’ll never get the State Government we deserve. We need a soup-to-nuts overhaul of our campaign finance structure to bring some sanity back into the system.

Educational Constitution Reform
We need a new, bold approach to educational funding which is restricted by the 1894 State Constitution. Poor districts, both in rural counties and our cities, start with less money for students than wealthier districts. This must end.

Today there is a massive retirement security problem. We need a plan that leads to pensions for all.

Unfunded Mandate Reform
New York State is the only state that burdens its counties and New York City with $8.4 billion dollars of the State’s Medicaid share. The State must stop abdicating its responsibility and assume 100% of the Medicaid cost.

By enacting these changes, we can make being a politician a good and noble thing once again. When legislatures have pride in their jobs and respect from their community, we can start bringing in the very best people into public service, launch innovative programs, bring more rapid development to New York’s economy, and put the state back in the national leadership position that it deserves.

Other Activist Organizations

Brennan Center for Justice
Citizens Action of New York
Common Cause
The Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy
New York Communities for Change
New Yorkers for Social Justice PAC
United Healthcare Workers East
CWA Local 1180