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November 21, 2019

Politics

State Sen. Jamaal T. Bailey, whose district includes Mount Vernon, hosted a gun violence awareness basketball game at Hartley Park. Bailey presented $4,000 checks to Mount Vernon Project SNUG and Bronx Rises Against Violence (BRAG).
County legislators honored LGBTQ program leaders while marking Pride Month. From left, Board Chair Ben Boykin, Legislator Kitley Covill, Majority Leader Catherine Parker, Shepard Verbas, Judy Troilo, Ariana Luz Quiñones and Legislator Terry Clements.
U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney

Around The Towns: Lawmakers Fight Electric Hike, Scorn Guns, Restore Federal Funds, Praise LGBT

State Sen. Shelley B. Mayer of Yonkers recently testified against Con Edison's proposed electric and gas rate increase for 3.5 million Westchester and New York City customers.

In January, the utility company applied to the state Public Service Commission to request a total revenue increase of $695 million, resulting in a 5.7 percent increase on the average residential electric bill, and a 10.9 percent increase on the average residential gas bill. If approved, Con Edison estimates that the average bill for a residential electric customer would increase by more than $6 monthly and by more than $17 monthly for the average residential gas customer.

At a June 25 public hearing,  Mayer said: “For many Westchester residents, these increases pose serious challenges, particularly for older residents living on fixed incomes, and struggling to afford high property taxes and a lack of affordable housing. 

Mayer added the substantial rate increase request "is particularly troubling in light of Con Ed’s persistently poor record" of restorations after storms and threatened moratorium on new gas connections.

Gun Violence Awareness 

State Sen. Jamaal T. Bailey, whose district includes Mount Vernon, hosted a gun violence awareness basketball game on June 26 at Hartley Park.

Bailey partnered with Mount Vernon Project SNUG and Bronx Rises Against Violence (BRAG) in hosting the game. During the game, Bailey presented a $4,000 check to both organizations for "the great work they do for the community" related to anti-violence initiatives. 

"We have lost far too many members of this community due to gun violence," Bailey said. "I am proud to have two great organizations, BRAG and SNUG in my district, that strive everyday to combat gun violence in our neighborhoods."

The basketball game was a part of Sen. Bailey's "24 Hour Tour of the District."      

Federal Money Restored 

U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney helped pass a package of bills in June funding federal government programs that directly impact veterans, school children, opioid abuse and affordable housing.

Maloney represents northern Westchester, Putnam and parts of Dutchess and Orange counties.

Another appropriations bill supported by Maloney provides more than $2 billion in federal money to New York for repairs to roads, bridges, rail, ports, airports and public transit. Another $50 million was approved to improve safety at railroad crossings. 

Nearly $4 billion was budgeted to combat the opioid and drug epidemic. And about $3 billion was budgeted for clean water and drinking water programs.

Maloney said legislation approved by the House also would block the Trump Administration from eliminating the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. Congress also added more than $1 billion for special education to the federal budget. 

More than $24 billion was provided for federal student aid including for the Pell Grant program, which many Hudson Valley families utilize, according to Maloney.

Legislators Recognize LGBTQ Pride Month

The county Board of Legislators celebrated LGBTQ Pride Month during a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the start of the modern LGBT civil rights movement.

The Board's ninth Pride celebration coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising of 1969, when police action against the Stonewall Inn, a gathering place for gay men in Greenwich Village, galvanized the community and touched off the modern gay rights movement.

Majority Leader Catherine Parker, a Democrat who represents Harrison, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle and Rye, presented a proclamation to The LOFT LGBT Community Center for furthering the cause of inclusion, diversity and pride through education, advocacy and celebration in Westchester for more than 35 years.

Accepting on behalf of The LOFT, Executive Director Judy Troilo said, "On the 50th anniversary of Stonewall we're (also) reminded of, yes, how far we've come. . .but we still have a lot more work to do."

Citing current challenges faced by the transgender community, Troilo said, "We need to recognize that not only are we fighting to further our struggle for equality but we're now trying to protect what we've already achieved."