Politics

Political news

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The State Assembly has introduced a bill to permit for the first time in New York voluntary public financing of some election campaigns. 

The Assembly bill would offer an optional public financing system for campaigns for state legislative and statewide offices, giving candidates six dollars for every one dollar in contributions. It would be financed, in part, through a $5 check off option on state income taxes.  

Bill Mahoney, with the New York Public Interest Research Group, says it’s a “good first step”.

A familiar face in local politics will be on national television Tuesday night. Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick and Canisius College political science professor will make an appearance on Comedy's Central The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Hardwick was contacted by the show's producers based on a comment he made to The Buffalo News recently on how New York's late presidential primary renders it moot in the national political picture.  He told The News, “It’s like being next in line for concert tickets when the ticket window closes.”

Bellavia campaign finances face questions

Apr 23, 2012

Finance questions are going unanswered inside the Congressional campaign of Republican David Bellavia.

Best known for his service in the Iraq War and previous unsuccessful runs for office, Bellavia is on pace to meet Chris Collins in a Republican Congressional primary for the chance to face Kathy Hochul in November.

According to the Buffalo News, the Federal Elections Commission has questioned four separate issues in Bellavia campaign finances, but have yet to receive satisfactory responses.

WBFO News photo by Mark Leitner

Republican Newt Gingrich may be down and out with respect to his poll numbers and campaign war chest, but there was no sign of it while stumping in Buffalo Friday. 

Gingrich appeared during the noon hour at the Ellicott Square Building.  Buffalo businessman, lawyer and former republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino warmed up the estimated 250 to 300 in attendance.

When the former congressman from George, former Speaker of the House, stepped to the podium, he immediately paid homage to the late Western New York Congressman Jack Kemp.

The New York State Conservative Party has given its endorsement to former Erie County Executive Chris Collins, in his run for the Congressional seat currently held by Democrat Kathy Hochul.

Collins and Iraqi war veteran David Bellavia had also been soliciting the Conservative party support. Both candidates are on the state primary ballot for the Republican endorsement.

Party leaders met in Brooklyn Thursday.  Party chairman Michael Long said Collins earned the endorsement by a "very high majority."

Recovering Rep. Slaughter updates her health status

Apr 17, 2012

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter met with reporters today at the University at Rochester Medical Center to update her status after suffering a broken leg following a fall in New York City earlier this month.

Slaughter says she is undergoing painful rehabilitation, but she has targeted a return to her Washington office by early next month. She says she expects to stay in the hospital for the next week-and-a-half while spending about three hours a day in physical therapy.

File Photo / WBFO, AM 970 News

The Congressional career of Chris Lee ended suddenly and in disgrace. It also ended with significant funds in his political coffers.

Lee resigned his seat last year after shirtless photos of him were published by the Gawker news blog. Lee is now closing out his campaign committee and will be donating more than $14 thousand to the Food Bank of Western New York.

That money will help pay for nearly 80,000 meals.

 

Republican Senatorial candidate Wendy Long was in Buffalo on Saturday, espousing her views for a reformed tax code.

Long is a Manhattan attorney, pursuing her party's nod to contest Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand in this year's election. Long emphasized the need for a simpler and fairer tax code. She denounced raising taxes on millionaires. She also called for the end of tax loopholes and a cap on taxes for business owners and employers.

Long is being challenged for the GOP nod by two other candidates.

File Photo / WBFO News

An announcement scheduled for later today will disclose that a Buffalo-based healthcare provider will be participating in the Medicaid Health Homes program.

Senator Tim Kennedy will be at the Urban Family Practice on Niagara Street in Buffalo to introduce the state program that will ensure that health care services are available for underserved communities.

Funding for the program was approved in the state budget.
 

WBFO News file photo

Investigative Post.org. is reporting that Buffalo Common Council Majority Leader Demone Smith’s campaign committee has failed to pay more than $1,800 in judgments filed by the state Board of Elections.  

WBFO and AM-970’s Eileen Buckley talks with the Investigative Post's Jim Heaney. Heaney said a week after Smith’s wife pleaded guilty to fraud charges, Smith is dealing with his own legal issues.

You can read more about his story at http://www.investigativepost.org/.

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Now, there are three.  

Rick Santorum's announcement today that he is suspending his Republican presidential campaign leaves only frontrunner Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul in the GOP sweepstakes.  Gingrich
and Paul are no longer considered factors in the race for the nomination.  

University at Buffalo political scientist James Campbell told WBFO News he was not surprised at today's announcement.

WBFO News file photo

Three contestants have been added to the growing list of candidates seeking the South District seat on Buffalo's Common Council.

Former County Legislator Timothy Whalen joined bartender Patrick Burke and nurse Linda Bain in raising the number of candidates in the race to six.

The seat became available when Michael Kearns was elected to the state's 145th Assembly seat last week.

photo from Newt.org

GOP presidential primary candidate Newt Gingrich is scheduling a stop in Buffalo next month.

Gingrich will be in town on April 20th for a day long visit, attempting to drum up votes and money for the state's primary in that month. Local developer Carl Paladino is among those assisting with arrangements for the visit.

Gingrich is expected to address area business leaders and supporters at the Buffalo Club.

Lawmakers agree on $132.6 billion state budget

Mar 27, 2012

Governor Andrew Cuomo and the leaders of the state Senate and Assembly today announced an agreement on a $132.6 billion state budget for the fiscal year that starts Sunday.

The budget would increase spending by two percent while expanding economic development and jobs programs and providing some protections for the poorest New Yorkers and immigrants.  The agreements include a 10 percent increase in the welfare grant in June. Cuomo wanted to delay half of the increase because of the state's slow economic recovery.

WBFO News file photo

Republican former Erie County Executive Chris Collins has officially thrown his hat into the ring for the 27th Congressional District race.

Collins made the announcement on Saturday in an interview with the Buffalo News. Should Collins survive a June primary against fellow Republican David Bellavia, he would face incumbent Democrat Kathy Hochul in November.

Collins suffered a stinging defeat in his re-election bid for County Executive to Mark Poloncarz. In a special election, Hochul upset Jane Corwin, a Republican candidate, who was heavily supported by Collins.

Kearns's status with Assembly Democrats uncertain

Mar 21, 2012

Michael "Mickey" Kearns, the South Buffalo Common Council member, is basking in victory one day after his unexpected landslide win over Christopher Fahey for the vacant 145th State Assembly District seat. Kearns will head off to Albany on Thursday.

Mayor Byron Brown congratulated Kearns, his former mayoral challenger, while meeting with reporters Wednesday.

"It was a very hard-fought campaign between two candidates that worked very aggressively. The people have spoken," said Mayor Brown.

WBFO News file photo

Voters in the 145th State Assembly District will be heading to the polls Tuesday for a special election.

Two democratic candidates from South Buffalo area vying to fill the seat left vacant by former Assemblyman Mark Schroeder -- South District Common Council member Michael Kearns and Chris Fahey, staffer to Congressman Brian Higgins. 

Both recently participated in a Webcast debate hosted by the Buffalo News.  Buffalo News reporter Brian Meyer joined his colleague political reporter Bob McCarthy asking the questions.

Photo by Karen Dewitt

Three candidates will be on the ballot in the Republican primary race for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Kirsten Gillibrand.  New York City attorney Wendy Long received the most votes in Friday's convention in Rochester with around 47%, followed by Congressman Bob Turner and Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, who both received just over the 25% required to avoid seeking petitions.  Long, a New York City attorney who is originally from New Hampshire, says she has many similarities with Gillibrand.

WBFO News file photo

WBFO and AM 970's Chris Jamele speaks with Artvoice editor Geoff Kelly in this week's Press Pass conversation.

Local election news kicks off their interview, specifically, the special election for the 145th Assembly seat.

Chris and Geoff also discuss Artvoice's review of a possible satellite location for the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

 

 

Redistricting amendment faces scrutiny

Mar 12, 2012
Photo from North Country Public Radio Web

Legislative leaders are crafting a constitutional amendment to create a bi partisan panel to draw new legislative and congressional district lines after the next census in 2020.

Talks have centered on a 10 member panel, five Democrats and five Republicans, appointed by the majority and minority parties of the legislature, with appointees coming equally from both parties in the legislature. 

DucDigital / via Flickr

New York has the highest tobacco taxes in the country, inhaling more than $1 billion a year. That's why cigarettes cost $11 a pack.

The lion’s share of that money goes into the state’s general fund. According to a coalition of anti-smoking advocates, including the Cancer Society and American Heart Association, only four percent of smoking tax proceeds are spent on the state’s Tobacco Control Program. The fund aims to educate New Yorkers about the health risks associated with smoking or chewing.

WBFO News photo

Super Tuesday for republican candidates is now history.  Mitt Romney emerged as winner after a close race with rival Rick Santorum.

Newt Gingrich places third with Ron Paul trailing behind the republican candidates. 

WBFO and AM-970’s Jay Moran had three conversations Wednesday morning with University at Buffalo Political professor James Campbell, associate professor Joshua Dyck and Erie County Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy. 

Each provided their perspective on Super Tuesday’s outcome. 

 

Creative commons

Plans to build a new Eric Community College (ECC) building at its North Campus in Amherst have drawn steady criticism over the past year from opponents who argue the project would perpetuate suburban sprawl.

WBFO News file photo

Competing redistricting plans -- written by the State Senate and Assembly -- ready for submission to a federal judge could greatly alter the representation of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter's 28th district. 

The plans have yet to be made public, but the Buffalo News is reporting that Buffalo and Niagara Falls would be removed from  Slaughter's district, as part of a shift that would bring her closer to Rochester. 

The Erie County Conservative party is endorsing Democrat Charles Swanick for the State Senate seat currently held by Mark Grisanti.  

Swanick served 26 years in the County Legislature before retiring in 2005. 

Grisanti has been the focus of national news coverage for his involvement in a scuffle a few weeks ago, but it appears that attention did little to swing support toward Swanick.

Conservative Party Chair Ralph Lorigo said Grisanti's support of marriage equality legislation alienated him from party leaders.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney won Tuesday's Republican presidential primary in Florida.  Romney rebounded from his defeat ten days ago in South Carolina, taking a major step toward the GOP nomination.  But UB Political Scientist James Campbell says the race is far from over. 

WBFO's Mark Scott reached Campbell on the phone Tuesday night for his analysis of the Florida primary.

Mitt Romney is pledging to "go back to work" as the Republican presidential campaign shifts to the next primary state in South Carolina.  Romney easily outdistanced the field Tuesday in the nation's first primary in New Hampshire. 

WBFO's Mark Scott reached UB Political Science Professor James Campbell his analysis.

WBFO News File Photo

Governor Andrew Cuomo said he is committing $1 billion over the next several years to jump start economic development in Buffalo. 

The Governor made the announcement as he delivered his State of the State Address from Albany Wednesday afternoon.

The $1 billion would be in addition to the $100 million a new regional economic development council approved for Western New York. 

Administration officials say the $1 billion package will send a message to industries worldwide that if they come to Buffalo, financing will be available.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney narrowly slipped past the rest of the GOP field to win Tuesday night's Iowa caucuses. 

The photo-finish saw Romney beat Rick Santorum by eight votes, with Ron Paul in a close third.  Now it's on to the primaries in New Hampshire and then South Carolina. 

University at Buffalo political scientist James Campbell, a nationally recognized scholar on presidential politics, joined WBFO's Mark Scott to talk about the results.

Fontana elected new common council president

Jan 3, 2012
WBFO News photo by Ashley Hassett

The Buffalo Common Council has elected new leadership. 

Lovejoy District lawmaker Richard Fontana has been elected to serve as Common Council president, knocking out long-time council president David Francyzk. 

Lawmakers voted in favor of Fontana to serve as next council president. 

“Having worked with and looked up to many Council Presidents, it is a sincere honor to be elected by my colleagues to the office. A strong, independent, and proactive legislative branch of government is and always has been my vision for the Common Council," said Fontana.

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