Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Rochester, N.Y. -- Several New York media outlets are addressing the issue of CSEA’s role in this year’s election cycle. It has been reported in several newspapers that our union, The Civil Service Employees Association, with approximately 300,000 members strong, is yanking support for many state legislators this fall because of the "dark deal" they made with the governor on austerity budgets, a property tax cap and a reduced benefits tier for public employees. That is pretty close to the truth—and it’s for good reason.

Our endorsement normally brings financial contributions and statewide get-out-the-vote efforts such as mailings, phone calls, printing, grassroots volunteers, along with internal union resources and activities to reach the extensive CSEA membership in every part of the state.

"Many lawmakers who have long enjoyed CSEA support will not have it this year because they abandoned the working people of this state," CSEA President Danny Donohue told the Legislative Gazette. "CSEA is holding lawmakers accountable for their actions. The CSEA endorsement has to be earned or else it has no meaning."

WNY Region 6, which represents a 14 county area including Erie and Monroe Counties, only endorsed 5 statewide candidates this year. The limited endorsements come following an extensive review process of state legislators within CSEA.

According to the Legislative Gazette, our union officials accuse lawmakers of rubber-stamping state budgets they say undermine state operations and shortchange local governments and schools. Donohue also said legislators forfeited oversight responsibility on public policy issues important to our members and they imposed a property tax cap the CSEA says is causing fiscal chaos in local government and school district budgets.

Additionally, Donohue said lawmakers made a "dark deal" with Gov. Andrew Cuomo last spring, trading support for "onerous and unnecessary" public employee pension tier changes in exchange for favorable legislative redistricting.

CSEA's limited endorsements are only going to candidates "who stand with working people," says the union's president.

Ted O'Brien
For western New York Region 6, Senate and Assembly endorsements include Rochester lawmaker Ted O’Brien (NYS Senate, 55th); Buffalo Representative Michael Amodeo (NYS Senate, 60th); Mark Johns, NYS Assembly (AD 135); Crystal Peoples-Stokes, NYS Assembly (AD 141) and Sean Ryan, NYS Assembly (AD 149).

"CSEA members will aggressively campaign for our endorsed candidates," Donohue said. "Just as important, beyond this election we will work to mobilize members to be even more involved in the legislative process – regularly communicating with elected officials and challenging them when they don't do what's right for working people."

CSEA also released its endorsements for federal races, topped by support for U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Other endorsed candidates from our district include Louise Slaughter for Congress (NY-25); Brian Higgins for Congress (NY-26); Kathy Hochul for Congress (NY-27).

"Sen. Gillibrand has been an outstanding advocate for New York and a voice of reason within the U.S. Senate," Donohue said. "Our congressional endorsements also reflect support for candidates and challengers who will stand up for reasonable and responsible government that works for all Americans."

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