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Warns State Senators who have made Ed Koch’s “Enemies of Reform” that they will be potential targets of New Roosevelt Initiative protests if they do not comply with the pledge and pass redistricting reform during current session for the 2012 election cycle and not the 2022 cycle

New York, NY – Democratic activist and New Roosevelt Initiative founder Bill Samuels and a coalition of progressive groups and young activists announced today that State Senator and tea party activist Greg Ball, who represents Dutchess, Putnam, Westchester counties, will be the target of their next rally, demanding that the freshman Senator keep his word to pass Independent Redistricting in the state legislature.  Ball, like State Senator Jack Martins from Nassau County, who was the subject of the group’s first protest in March, signed the Koch NY Uprising pledge last year, promising to pass Independent Redistricting Reform during the current legislative session in order for it to take effect in time for the 2012 elections.

Like his fellow Republican State Senators, Ball has not lived up to the pledge and continues to block passage of a number of Independent Redistricting bills before the legislature, including Governor Cuomo’s proposal and the long-standing Valesky/Gianaris Independent Redistricting bill.

The rally, followed by a canvassing effort to educate crucial swing voters in Ball’s district, will take place on Saturday May 14th and will include a broad array of local and state activist groups including Westchester Young Democrats and Act Now.

“I have a couple simple questions for freshman Senator Greg Ball, who signed the Koch Pledge, promising to pass Independent Redistricting Reform in 2011. Are you going to live up to the promise or not? Are you switching your position on redistricting reform?” asked Samuels.

“As we saw from the response to our rally in Senator Martin’s Nassau County district, voters want to know the answers to these critical questions,” Samuels said.

“Saying that you’re in favor of a Constitutional Amendment that will have no practical effect on independent redistricting reform until 2022 does not fulfill the pledge, which clearly states that you will vote for redistricting reform in the current session to take effect in 2012,” explained Samuels.

“The bigger issue for Ball, Martins and others who signed the pledge is their inability to be truthful about a simple question. If they cannot be trusted to live up to a simple pledge, they cannot be trusted to act in the best interests of their constituents,” said Samuels.

Samuels also praised Mayor Koch’s efforts to keep the heat on the Senators who signed the pledge by announcing his “Enemies of Reform” with plans for automated calls and direct mailings to voters in districts where Senators have not lived up to their promise to pass Independent Redistricting Reform.

“The ‘Enemies of Reform’ named by Mayor Ed Koch and New York Uprising are officially on notice that a failure to make good on their pledge, especially independent redistricting, means that you may be the target of the New Roosevelt Initiative. We intend to take this fight to Ball’s district just like we did with Nassau Senator Jack Martins,” warned Samuels.

Last month, New Roosevelt led a coalition of more than sixty local and statewide activists from thirteen groups committed to Independent Redistricting Reform to rally against freshman Nassau State Senator Jack Martins, who also signed the Koch Pledge but has failed to lived up to his word.

“The message is clear, make good on your word,” explained Samuels.  “The Koch pledge isn’t going away and we will make sure that voters remember who their Heroes and Enemies are come Election Day 2012. Passing Independent Redistricting Reform is the first step towards restoring voters’ trust in lawmakers and making Albany the best state legislature in the country.”

Ball’s signed NY Uprising pledge, in which he pledged to pass an independent redistricting commission to draw lines based on the 2010 Census with an overall district deviation of less than two percent (2%) in stark contrast to the Constitutional Amendment passed in the Senate to take effect in 2022 with an overall district deviation of ten percent (10%) is available at http://nyuprising.org/pdfpledges/SD040_BALL_GREG.PDF

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