Tag Archive: Congress

Mar 03 2014

Grace Meng ‘Disappointed’ With Tony Avella

Grace Meng, Queens Politics

What does it mean when the nicest person in politics is suddenly calling you out?

You’ve been a bad boy Tony.

At her campaign announcement, Grace Meng said how deeply disappointed she was with Avella’s switch to the IDC.

This means a little more than at first glance: Meng is an optimist known for her sincerity, warmth, and candor to everyone – even her political enemies – which comes in part from longstanding roots in her hometown district and an old school sense of respect. Grace gives a mother’s touch to everything, sort of like the district’s ever-watchful matriarch, always reluctant to scold you in public, so when she  spoke of her feelings during a press conference about Tony Avella and his IDC debacle (an old colleague mind you), we couldn’t help but feel like our mother just gave us that look of REAL disappointment.

John Liu wasn’t happy about Tony either, but it’s Grace’s comments we should be mindful of, no matter how delicate.

[From The Politicker] State Senator Tony Avella’s decision to join the Independent Democratic Conference is irking ex-Comptroller John Liu and Congresswoman Grace Meng.

Mr. Liu and Ms. Meng–who like Mr. Avella, are Democrats hailing from northeast Queens–criticized Mr. Avella when asked about about his recent move to join the breakaway conference Democrats governing the State Senate with the Republican Party.

“It’s disappointing to say the very least,” Ms. Meng told Politicker at an unrelated press conference. “I think the Democrats, especially the Democratic senators, have worked very hard on issues that not only affect Democrats throughout the state, but affect everyone, all working families. And so I was disappointed at the very least.”

Full article: http://politicker.com/2014/03/grace-meng-and-john-liu-slam-tony-avella-for-joining-idc/

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2014/03/meng-disappointed-with-tony-avella/

Mar 03 2014

John Liu: Congress still an option

johncliu

It ain’t over till it’s over.

John Liu, hometown hero, antes up and denies widespread rumors of a challenge to Congresswoman Grace Meng in NY6, even offering his endorsement to the beloved incumbent in his hometown.

Despite the endorsement, rumors are still floating about Liu gunning for Congresswoman Nydia Velazaquez’s seat, a fact he doesn’t deny, so it still seems a run for Congress (where you only have to be a resident of the state to run in a district) is still an option for Liu.

[From The PolitickerJohn Liu still won’t rule out another try for elected office. 

The ex-comptroller and mayoral candidate refused to swat down rumors that he is mulling a bid against Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, even as he put another batch of rumors to rest by endorsing his own congresswoman, Grace Meng, for re-election.

“Let met me just say that rumors are rumors and I’m not in the business of denying nor confirming rumors. So I’ll leave it at that,” Mr. Liu told reporters at the endorsement press conference today. “Obviously we have a capable incumbent in the 7th District [Ms. Velázquez's district] as we do in other districts that rumors have been floated about me.”

When Politicker asked if Mr. Liu would rule out a congressional bid of any kind–he was also rumored to be mulling a challenge against Ms. Meng before he endorsed her today–Mr. Liu played coy. 

For full article: http://politicker.com/2014/03/john-liu-is-keeping-his-political-options-open/

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2014/03/john-liu-congress-still-an-option/

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Photo of the day: Congresswoman Grace Meng Prepares For Reelection Announcement

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 4.34.54 PM

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2014/03/congresswoman-meng-at-reelection-announcement/

Feb 24 2014

Congressional Candidate Confronted About FEC Fines [video]

grantlally

Grant Lally certainly didn’t want to answer any questions as you will see in the video and he definitely did not like being filmed in a public forum. Not exactly the makings of a Congressman, or is it? Full transcript below.

Why does the FEC penalize candidates? Because that’s what they do, at least according to Grant Lally, a Congressional candidate who is very familiar with illegal campaign contributions.

According to the legend of Achilles, as a baby Achilles was dipped into the river Styx in order to make him invulnerable by his mother Thetis. It was a smart move; it made Achilles strong, seemingly invincible to his enemies who cowered at the mere mention of his name, however his heel wasn’t covered by the magical water and thus the supposedly invulnerable Achilles - despite his strength and prowess in battle – had one fatal weakness: his heel. And as fate would have it, he was shot and killed by an arrow straight through his Achilles’ heel.

Grant Lally, like Achilles, has a fatal weakness: he paid off the government when the Federal Elections Commission fined him $280,000 for accepting illegal campaign contributions from his parents, and then lied about it. And now, seeking public office yet again, he won’t talk about it, but he’ll be sure to accuse you of being a Democrat if you ask.

It’s all about character and integrity in this race, and so it will be a recurring question in the campaign because it’s like a downright admission of his guilt. After all, why would Lally pay the fines (one of the largest fines ever in FEC history) if he didn’t do anything wrong? What would stop him from doing it again? This is really serious. But that’s not what this post is about. Rather, it’s about a potential federal elected official unwilling to answer questions at a public forum. So how can voters trust him? Will he dodge ALL questions about the matter? Nevertheless, in the video Queens-Politics contributor, Jack Oneil was one of the few brave citizens to actually speak up at a civic forum in Forest Hills where he questioned Lally directly about the fines, his payoff, and why exactly he didn’t fight them. Lally, in return, stonewalled.

Transcript:

 

GL: (regarding exposure of his FEC fines)  ….This is what they do.
JO: Where I’m coming from is as a very successful, high-profile attorney who has political ambitions and political experience and all the rest, a $280K fine, or $250K, or $300K whatever it was, a settlement, I mean I think if it was me and the FEC was suing me and I had a big successful political law firm….
GL: You’re not filming me right now are you?
JO: Yes
GL: (Looks at the officials and rolls his eyes)
JO: I were I were a big..
GL: Who are you?
JO: Jack Oneil
GL: Could you not film me? I’d prefer not to be filmed..
JO: Thinks (Then why are you running for congress you Jackass?)
JO: Well this is a public forum.
JO: Again if I were being sued and I were a high profile attorney with all the resources that you have, I wouldn’t have settled
GL: Are you a Democrat? Who are you with ?
JO: I’m not with anybody , I’m an independent.  With such a large fine, I wouldn’t have settled, I would have fought it tooth and nail.
GL: This is not, this is not…..
GL Supporter:  CHANGE THE SUBJECT!

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2014/02/grant-lally-folds-under-questioning/

Feb 18 2014

Meet Steve Israel’s Challenger

grantlallyRepublican honcho Grant Lally will tackle Congressman Steve Israel for control of CD-3.

From LI Politics:

Grant Lally is the managing partner of Lally & Misir, LLP. A top ranked attorney, Mr. Lally is an experienced practioner with an extensive background in commercial and corporate transactions, federal and state litigation, administrative proceedings, and appellate practice. He has practiced law for over twenty years in the New York metropolitan area, and is also a Solicitor in the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. Mr. Lally is an expert in legal and media crisis management and has handled many high profile matters, including those involving international jurisdictional conflicts. He has counseled and represented Heads of State, Government Ministers, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and appears regularly on radio and television.

Mr. Lally’s past practice has included successfully representing President George W. Bush before the Miami-Dade and Orange County Boards of Election at the 2000 Florida Recounts; handling numerous complex corporate reorganizations involving multi-jurisdictional assets; recovering priceless stolen art from an international auction house; restructuring of clients’ business affairs to reduce their tax and liability exposure; successfully litigating major elections cases and appeals; representing media groups in domestic and international litigation; handling complex domestic relations, divorce, and custody matters; serving as general counsel to numerous corporations in the health care, media, manufacturing, and hospitality industries; and representing parties in multi-national litigation.

Lally’s partner, Deborah Misir, has filed legal briefs and participated in the most important litigation before the US Supreme Court in 50 years – the Obamacare case.

Mr. Lally graduated with his B.A. with honors from The Johns Hopkins University; his J.D. from Boston University, School of Law; and an LL.M. in International & Comparative Law from Georgetown University, Law Center.

At Lally & Misir, LLP, Mr. Lally specializes in handling complex civil litigation and transactions, including business transactional work, corporate and business litigation, international arbitration and litigation, multi-jurisdictional conflicts including business and divorce proceedings, and the media management of these conflicts and transactions.

Mr. Lally was Founding Chairman of the Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies, Long Island chapter, and served as Founding Chairman of the New York State Republican Lawyers Association. He served on the National Board of Governors of the Republican National Lawyers Association (1990-2008), and on the Board of the Bay of Pigs Brigade 2506 Museum in Miami (2004-2006). He currently serves as National Co-Chairman of The Irish American Republicans, and serves on the Boards of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center, the Plattduetsche Home Society, the Institute for US-Cuba Relations, and the Brehon Law Society of Nassau County. He is a member of the Irish American Bar Association of New York, and the Nassau and Suffolk County Bar Associations.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2014/02/meet-steve-israels-challenger-grant-lally/

Jun 25 2013

Supreme Court Guts Voting Rights Act In 5-4 Ruling, Ends Civil Rights Era

supreme_court_buildingA return to the old ways? Former Presidential candidate Howard Dean expressed his disapproval of the Court’s decision on FB alongside a bevy of candidates and elected officials. “The Court continues to destroy its own legitimacy as it descends further into politically based decision making. This decision ranks with Dred Scott, Citizens United and Bush v Gore among the most morally bankrupt and non-constitutionally based political decisions in the courts history.”

Sal Albanese, a candidate running for Mayor wrote on his FB, “In light of today’s terrible decision by the Supreme Court, I’m calling on the New York Congressional delegation – regardless of party – to unite behind new legislation that guarantees equal access to the polls for every American.

Mark Levine, a Democrat for a Manhattan based NYC Council Seat is also calling for action. “The Supreme Court’s blow to the Voting Rights Act leaves us no choice–we must push congress to take bold legislative action to protect every American’s right to vote in free and fair elections. Join the movement.

Article below:

[Huffington Post] The Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act on Tuesday, the provision of the landmark civil rights law that designates which parts of the country must have changes to their voting laws cleared by the federal government or in federal court.

The 5-4 ruling, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, ruled in Shelby County v. Holder that “things have changed dramatically” in the South in the nearly 50 years since the Voting Rights Act was signed in 1965.

The court’s opinion said it did not strike down the act of Congress “lightly,” and said it “took care to avoid ruling on the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act” in a separate case back in 2009. “Congress could have updated the coverage formula at that time, but did not do so. Its failure to act leaves us today with no choice but to declare [Section 4] unconstitutional. The formula in that section can no longer be used as a basis for subjecting jurisdictions to preclearance.”

The Voting Rights Act has recently been used to block a voter ID law in Texas and delay the implementation of another in South Carolina. Both states are no longer subject to the preclearance requirement because of the court’s ruling on Tuesday.

“Our country has changed, and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions,” Roberts wrote.

“There is no doubt that these improvements are in large part because of the Voting Rights Act,” he wrote. “The Act has proved immensely successful at redressing racial discrimination and integrating the voting process.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/25/voting-rights-act-supreme-court_n_3429810.html

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/06/supreme-court-guts-voting-rights-act-ends-civil-rights-era/

Oct 29 2012

THE MAN WITH THE “CAMPAIGN MIND”

The 3rd Congressional District was reapportioned with sections of northeast Queens, a part of town where U.S Rep. Steve Israel needed to build name recognition.

The redistricting of 2012 opened the door for New York Congressman Steve Israel to step into the political consciousness of northeast Queens, but despite conventional wisdom his national job as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) wasn’t enough to raise his name recognition, it was a strong grassroots campaign initiative which helped ensure victory on Election Day.

He didn’t grow up in Queens, but he spent every Sunday here with his grandparents and his dad in the shadow of Shea Stadium, dreaming of someday playing centerfield for the New York Mets.

Being new to the area, over the summer his campaign team launched a concentrated effort to raise name recognition in Queens. Virtually overnight, campaign signs peppered the neighborhood, bumper stickers were given out, and soon civic groups and political organizations met members of his campaign team.

Israel’s iconic green and blue “Steve Israel t-shirt” became ubiquitous throughout the new parts of New York’s fifth CD running from the tip of Whitestone and as far South as Glen Oaks.  But some questions remain, who is Steve Israel, what does he stand for, and what will he do for Queens?

Steve grew up in Long Island, deep in Nassau County in Dix Hills, so naturally the question arises, does Israel know what he is getting into with us Queens folk? We don’t know for sure, yet, but what we do know is that Israel hit the campaign trail with style and it’s been hard to ignore.

To put his ear to the beat of the neighborhood, Steve began visiting the Democratic clubs, including the Clinton Democratic Club, where he was welcomed with much fanfare. Upon meeting Israel, the club’s president, Paul Vallone, concluded, “He’s an exemplary leader for New York.”

Israel made further rounds at the FDR Democratic Club, and then with a plethora of civic groups and senior centers all the while meeting one on one with community leaders. Last week Israel was greeting voters at Waldbaum’s in Bay Terrace.

Who is he, where does he stand? Steve Israel has a strong progressive record. “Steve Israel is a champion of progressive values in the United States Congress and has done an excellent job to restore the Democratic Majority in the house,” according to Steve Behar, a community advocate for northeast Queens and a national figure in progressive politics.

The eastern edge of Queens now in NY3 (in blue) includes Bay Terrace, parts of Bayside, Beechhurst, Little Neck, Douglaston, Glen Oaks, Bellaire, and Floral Park. Map from CUNY Center For Urban Research.

But with a fickle constituency like in northeast Queens – a place where large pockets of voters register as Democrats but tend to lean Republican – Israel will have to remain cordial and open to a sense of pragmatism to transcend these differences and win the hearts of this odd mix.

So far he’s off to a great start. “I don’t care if they’re Dems or Republicans – for me before I was taught to be a Democrat, I was taught to be a Mets fan,” joked Israel – a sound bite that will bode well with voters in northeast Queens.

The political world might see Rep. Israel as the chairman of the powerful DCCC, but first and foremost comes the needs of his constituency. “My primary job is to be the representative and my part-time job is to try and take the majority,” said Israel. His statement expressed the dichotomy of his role as both a member of Congress to provide services for the new constituency and as DCCC Chair to help elect Democrats across the nation, however the line between the two can sometimes be blurry. During the interview he emphasized that the needs of the district will be his primary objective but in regards to strategy to retake the majority (which he believes will also serve not only the district, but the entire country) Israel said it’s very straightforward. It’s mostly raising awareness. “We want to remind people under the Republican majority a budget was passed that ends Medicare in order to fund tax cuts for millionaires…the Republican majority for 24 months has been trying to shut down Planned Parenthood instead of trying to open up small businesses.”

He continued, “big corporations that want to outsource jobs to China and receive tax breaks when instead we should be making it easier for middle class families to afford college in New York.” Israel believes we should expand student assistance programs, including amending the tax code. “Middle class families should be able to write off a big part of their college investments. That is a much better investment to growing an economy than letting a giant corporation write off the cost of opening up a plant in China,” the influential Dem said.

The Congressman’s voting record is as liberal progressive as his talking point. On abortion he is pro-choice (NARAL gave him a 100 rating) and he supported same-sex marriage in 2010. Year after year he receives an ‘F’ from the National Rifle Association for his position on gun rights. On the economy, Israel believes in reducing defense spending and increasing income tax brackets in order to balance the budget. In the past he has advocated for federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth and he believes in providing tax incentives to businesses for the purpose of job creation.

In 2007 Israel voted YES on regulating the subprime mortgage industry. In 2009, he voted yes for senate pay raises and in 2006 a no for requiring photo-IDs for federal elections. Israel is against privatization of social security into personal spending accounts and he staunchly defends the Affordable Care Act, or what even President Obama now calls Obamacare.

Ethics reform is also a major part of his platform. I spoke candidly to him about lobbyists in their dual role as campaign managers, funneling clients and money back and forth, and the need for regulation, he raised the ethical dilemmas of Super PACs.  “I have heard plenty of concerns about ethics with respect to elected officials but I have not heard the issue of whether campaign managers should be regulated. I will say that I think this country is in need of fundamental campaign finance reform. You know have these super PACs sanctioned by the Supreme Court that can spend anything, spend any amount, not have to disclose who they are, and they’re funded by special interests who are trying to steal elections. We ought to ban them.”

In his latest initiative Israel introduced legislation to reform the electoral college which would in effect make campaigns more competitive as well as advocating for weekend voting to increase turnout in federal elections.

As chairman of the DCCC, Israel oversees a sophisticated propaganda outfit. He can dump a fortune into your campaign war chest and optimize the use of media to sway the hearts and minds of the electorate. For example last August, ahead of the House vote to repeal Obamacare, the DCCC went on the offensive with their “Drive for 25″ campaign which targeted vulnerable GOP lawmakers on healthcare ahead of the House vote.

The initiative included television ads, online videos and robo-calls, however, despite the DCCC’s best efforts, the plan was ineffective as the Republican controlled House repealed all or parts of the Affordable Care Act more than 33 times. The ads ranged from the awe-inspiring (Check out “Health Care Victory”) to the whimsical (See The Millionaires video regarding Bobby Shilling).

While the leadership position comes with such privileges as helping fellow Dems get elected, it has also cast Israel as a national target for Republicans and the far right. Recent attacks include a NY Post story that suggested Israel’s support of the TARP program is the reason he was granted a ‘bailout’ for his home in Dix Hills. State GOP Chairman Ed Cox didn’t waste any time urging an investigation by the House Ethics Committee. “The Congressman has taken advantage of his position to qualify for a debt reduction that is supposed to be reserved for hard-working families that are experiencing a financial set back,” said Cox, adding, “It is not for a congressman that wants to avoid his obligations and a personal financial loss.”

Israel said he wasn’t fazed by the scurrilous accusations. “It’s politics as usual that Republicans, who are trying to end Medicare, would find phony issues to raise against me,” he said. “It’s unfortunate when you’re one of the national leaders trying to stop Republicans from ending Medicare to fund tax cuts for millionaires, then you should expect to be a target of their attacks – it doesn’t surprise me.”

There are plenty of battles for Steve Israel to fight for in this part of Queens, but for now the Congressman from Long Island is busy building bridges on both sides of the aisle to focus on issues challenging middle class families. “Whether you’re living in Wyandach or Whitestone it’s about strengthening the economic recovery and protecting Medicare for Seniors, and stabilizing taxes.”

Visiting Queens is something he has done for his entire life, so naturally we wanted to know his favorite deli. Cherry Valley? Chrisite’s? No, the Congressman’s favorite deli is Ben’s Kosher in Bay Terrace. He told me a story about how he how he competed in a New York deli fundraiser competition in Washington – an annual tradition in it’s 30th year run by Congressman Gary Ackerman where competitors would invite the best deli to the Hill and present a full spread to Congressman Ackerman to judge the winner.  Israel chose Ben’s Deli and his competition, U.S Rep. Jerry Nadler, chose Liebman’s Deli of Brooklyn. Each won in respective categories.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/10/steve-israel-dccc-chair-congressman/

Oct 22 2012

New poll indicates Halloran inching ahead of opponent

If the new poll indicates a valid trend, Meng could be in trouble.

[Updated x3] A press release from the Halloran campaign highlights the findings of a new poll that suggests a dead heat in the race for NY6.

According to pollsters Mclaughin and Associates, a poll taken on October 10th & 11th, 2012 indicates Halloran is in a neck and neck battle against Meng with Halloran receiving 33% to Meng’s 36%, which is well within the margin of error.

Press release: Council Member Dan Halloran is in a statistical dead heat with Assembly Member Grace Meng, according to the latest poll. Despite spending well over a million dollars (including more than $122,000 of her own funds) and outspending Halloran by more than 10 to 1, she has failed to develop a significant lead.

The poll indicates that Halloran holds a 5% lead among voters who have heard of both candidates. Halloran leads by an astounding 28% among voters who have a firm opinion of both candidates. The poll concludes that “voters who know both Halloran and Meng like Halloran better.”

Mitt Romney is leading President Obama in the district, according to the poll. Romney receives 46% to Obama’s 43%, with 11% undecided. Poll respondents gave President Obama a 61% negative job rating.

Pollster McLaughlin & Associates point out that,

 ”Voters of this district have a history of electing Republicans, including Senator Frank Padavan, Senator Serf Maltese, Rudy Giuliani and Dan Halloran himself.  Further, portions of this district also voted for Congressman Bob Turner.”

Halloran spokesman Kevin Ryan said,

“The poll confirms that Dan Halloran is on his way to winning this race. Dan won over Democrats in his Council race and he is doing it again in the heart of Queens. Voters know that he will fight to create jobs, help small businesses and reduce gas prices.”

Ryan continued,

“Dan Halloran is ranked the #1 New York City Councilman for constituent services and voters know it. You can’t buy a record like that, even if you’re a multi-millionaire like Grace Meng.”

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Update Oct. 22 10:48 AM : In a statement, Meng spox Austin Finan said Dan Halloran is making poll numbers up.

Leave it to Dan Halloran to release a tailor-made poll. This “poll” is nothing more than a desperate attempt on behalf of the Halloran campaign to raise money from its far right, radical Tea Party base of support. Once again, Dan Halloran just makes things up and expects no one to question him. I think we would all like to see the methodology of this survey so that we may see what is obvious: this poll does not represent the diversity or true sensibilities of middle-class voters in Queens.

Please note that Grace for New York’s internal polling shows the Assemblywoman with a sizeable, 51%-22% lead with 27% undecided.

Update Oct. 22 12:20 PM: Halloran Spox, Kevin Ryan responds to Finan’s comment,

I do not believe anyone would categorize Rudy Giuliani, who endorsed Dan Halloran, as a far-right radical member of the Tea Party. I have not seen a summary of any poll from the Meng campaign, but our summary is available for anyone to see.
Update Oct. 22 12:30 PM: Meng spox, Austin Finan casts more doubt on the methodology of the Halloran-released poll and requests specifics to prove validity,
400 voters from throughout the 6th Congressional were polled, demographically representative amongst all political parties and blanks, and at no time – testing any messages in any scenario – did Dan Halloran receive more than 24% of anything looking like support of any kind from anywhere. Once the Halloran camp releases what percentage of respondents in their bogus poll speak what languages – and from what neighborhoods and amongst what registrants – we’ll gladly release additional info.

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/10/poll-indicates-halloran-inching-ahead-of-meng/

Oct 01 2012

Halloran Blasts Mayor For Endorsement of Opponent

In response to Grace Meng’s recent endorsement by Mayor Bloomberg, her opponent Dan Halloran sent out a press release calling the endorsement another one of Mayor Mike’s ill conceived ideas. Full context in the official communication below.

Press Release: Mayor Bloomberg Advocates Soda Ban, Congestion Pricing, and now Grace Meng for Congress

Nanny State Mayor’s Bad Ideas Just Keep Coming

Not surprisingly, the Mayor who bought himself a third term by disregarding the will of the People and overturning elected official term-limits, now moves to endorse Assemblywoman Meng for Congress.  It’s no wonder this Super Nanny-State advocate, who champions feel good measures with no shot of fixing real problems, has made this choice. Whether it’s the soda ban, his congestion pricing schemes, or the bike lanes to nowhere, Mayor Mike has found another bad idea for New Yorkers: Grace Meng in Congress.

“I have vocally fought the Mayor‘s social engineering pet projects and spending excesses.  I’ve called out the Mayor on the City Time scandal long before the others piled on, back when it was “just” a question of being ten-times over budget.  I fought to keep Queens free from the Mayor’s Congestion Pricing Plan, which would have cost local residents millions.  And despite the Mayor’s billions, I will continue to speak truth to power.   Meng, a go-along Democrat won’t stand up for New Yorkers’ right to think for themselves, has voted 99.7% with Shelly Silver in Albany. She certainly isn’t rocking the boat here in New York, and we can’t expect her to in Congress,” Halloran said.

In the past, Halloran has also warned the Mayor’s office of many unconstitutional city plans, such as the so-called Crisis Pregnancy Center Bill that Bloomberg signed into law and was struck down in Federal Court three days after he signed it, which curtailed the free-speech rights of Catholic institutions.  He spoke out against the City’s proposed taxi medallion sale, which Halloran pointed out violated the State Constitution and now jeopardizes the NYC Budget revenue projections with a $1.5 billion dollar shortfall.  Council Member Halloran also stood up for churches and other religious institutions when the Mayor sought to prevent them from renting off-hours space in publically owned buildings.

“Bloomberg’s latest suggestion for the City of New York, voting for Grace Meng, is just as detrimental to New Yorkers’ freedom and prosperity as the rest of the Mayor’s ill-conceived ideas.  This reminds Queens residents of why New York City is already faced with above average unemployment, high taxes and a huge cost of living along with ever-increasing tolls and subway fares.  Our small businesses are struggling more than ever with exorbitant fees and aggressive city ‘revenue’ programs. Our voters need Meng in Congress like they needed the soda ban,” said spokesman Kevin Ryan.

Dan Halloran will continue to fight for New York in the United States Congress, because he’s one of us.  We know we aren’t better off today than we were four years ago; we wish the Mayor and Grace Meng knew that, too.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/10/halloran-blasts-mayor-meng/

Sep 28 2012

Grace is running in heels

Grace Meng has the national spotlight in ”Running In Heels,” an article featured in the Marie Claire Bulletin portraying the “women to watch and vote for” in 2012.

If you’ve ever wondered about the hectic schedule a Congressional candidate has to endure to win, then read about Grace who balances both a candidate’s routine and Assembly duties – all while being a full time mom.

Check out the article (link below in .pdf).

Grace Meng – Running in Heels

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/09/grace-featured-in-national-magazine/

Sep 27 2012

Queens GOP Chairman Can Count On Solidarity

Queens County GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa

The New York Post reported Congressman Bob Turner, whose district was chopped up during reapportionment, is interested in becoming the Queens County Republican Leader, however the one-term Congressman neglected to mention it won’t be a cake walk.

Bob Turner will have to convince leaders in 18 Assembly Districts that he’s the right man for the job, which will prove to be an uphill battle considering Queens County Republican leaders are already confident that incumbent Chairman Phil Ragusa has the bulk of support.

“Phil Ragusa will be re-elected to another term because the vast majority of leaders in the 18 Assembly District appreciate his integrity and hard work these past five years,” according to Queens County Republican Executive Vice Chairman Vince Tabone.

Republican candidates have found it difficult to gain a foothold in some parts of Queens, but the GOP remains dedicated to providing an alternative to Queens County Democratic candidates and have since stepped up efforts with youth outreach, voter registration drives, and dedicating full support for Councilman Dan Halloran’s bid for Congress.

Even with GOP endorsed candidates, like Juan Reyes, losing this election cycle the official party leadership remains confident.

“Is Chairman Crowley seeking reelection since several County endorsed candidates lost?,” asked Tabone.

Meanwhile another battle for control of the Party seems to be looming overhead, but one fact remains clear: the Queens County GOP can count on solidarity when it comes to reelecting Chairman Ragusa.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/09/gop-chairman-can-count-on-solidarity-ragusa/

Sep 03 2012

All American Grace Salutes Labor Day

In honor of Labor Day, Congressional Candidate Grace Meng issued a statement supporting unions and the working men and women of America.

She also throws a well-deserved barb at the union busting activities of the Tea Party.

Press release: 

In celebration of Labor Day, Assemblywoman Grace Meng – the Democratic candidate for Congress in New York’s 6th District – released the following statement:

“Labor Day is a day we celebrate the great American work ethic and those hardworking men and women who struggled to provide us with workers’ rights and deliver us today’s landmarks of middle class security, including the 40-hour work week, child labor laws, pensions, a minimum wage, Social Security and Medicare.

“Unfortunately, the Tea Party-controlled Republican Congress is making every effort to turn back the clock on decades of labor achievements in favor of tax breaks for corporations and the wealthiest one percent of Americans.

“Now more than ever, we must elect representatives to Washington who will stand up in support of labor’s collective bargaining rights so that working men and women may have a voice on the job, a chance to negotiate for fair pay and safe working conditions, and the ability to a secure a comfortable retirement.”

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/09/all-american-grace-salutes-labor-day/

Aug 21 2012

Meng & Gillibrand Helping Small Businesses With Tax Breaks

Press Release:

Women-Owned Small Businesses Are Among Fastest Growing Segments of the Economy, But Start With Eight Times Less Capital Than Other Businesses

Gillibrand, Meng: Federal Bill Would Help Entrepreneurs Grow Their Businesses and Create New Jobs in Queens

Queens, NY – Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Assemblywoman Grace Meng were joined at Great Bear Auto Repair, a woman-owned auto repair shop in Flushing, by owner Audra Fordin to announce federal legislation designed to extend targeted tax breaks for small businesses. Women-owned small businesses are among the fastest growing segments of the economy but start with eight times less capital. Senator Gillibrand and Assemblywoman Meng urged the U.S. Senate to vote on theSUCCESS Act of 2012, legislation that would provide investors with strong incentives to invest in small business stock, double deductions for start-up expenses, purchase new equipment, and continue tax credits that small businesses can take advantage of.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the most powerful job creators we have,”Senator Gillibrand said. “I’ve heard from women in Queens and all across the state. I know women are ready to lead us to a thriving and stable economy, with new good-paying jobs that can support a family. When we provide the tools that small business leaders need, we can help this economic engine take off.”

“Small businesses have always been the engines of job creation and community development in Queens, and are moving us out of this grinding recession,”Assemblywoman Mengsaid. “We’re already seeing more start-ups, more hiring, and more entrepreneurs striking out on their own. Nowhere is the growth of women-owned businesses more evident than here in New York State, New York City, and in Queens. Critical to supporting and sustaining this trend for small business owners is ensuring access to credit and capital as well as tax credits for hiring and healthcare through the Affordable Care Act. These will be my priorities in Congress.”

“As the first woman to run my family’s auto repair and auto body shop, I know from experience what the challenges and opportunities are to build a successful business,” said Audra Fordin, Owner of Great Bear Auto Repair and Auto Body Shop.  “With careful budget planning and networking, my company has turned a profit over the past few years. Extending these tax breaks would be a major incentive to help grow my business further. By providing some needed breathing room, I would be able to immediately divert resources towards staff and new equipment upgrades, which are a win for my business and for the community.”

Last fall, Senator Gillibrand held women’s economic empowerment roundtables across the state, and heard firsthand from small business owners. Small businesses play a critical role in the national and local economy, with more than 10 million firms owned by women. Between 1997 and 2007, women-owned businesses added roughly 500,000 jobs, while other private firms lost jobs. In New York alone, more than 30 percent of all small businesses are owned by women. However, women, on average, start their business with eight times less funding than men, making tax credits a critical part of their business plan.

To bolster small business growth, Senator Gillibrand has been working with a group of bipartisan women Senators to extend targeted small business tax benefits, which expired at the start of 2012, through at least 2013. These tax breaks are included in a larger bill aimed to help small businesses grow, called theSuccess Ultimately Comes from Capital, Contracting, Education, Strategic Partnerships and Smart Regulation(SUCCESS) Act of 2012.

In September 2010, Congress passed theSmall Business Jobs Act, which provided a number of key tax benefits to American small businesses, such as eliminating capital gains tax on investments in small business, and cutting taxes for businesses that invest in new equipment. With roughly two-thirds of new jobs in the U.S. generated by small businesses, extending these tax provisions for businesses is a key way to encourage growth and hiring.

Small Business Tax Breaks Under the SUCCESS Act

These tax benefits include a number of provisions that help give small businesses the ability to grow and expand now by providing incentives to invest in small businesses, helping businesses make new investments in equipment, and extending benefits that help out new start-ups.

Tax Relief for Small Business Capital Gains: This provision would provide investors a strong incentive to invest in small business stock.  Prior to 2009, 50 percent of the gain of a small business stock was subject to tax. Senator Gillibrand supported legislation that increased this exclusion to 75 percent and the Small Business Jobs Act expanded that benefit to 100 percent of the gain. Eligible small businesses are defined as those with gross assets under $50 million and the stock must be held for at least five years.

Doubles Existing Deductions for Start-up Costs for New Small Businesses:New start-ups typically face a number of substantial expenses in their first year they get off the ground, such as permits, consulting costs, expenses in finding clients and custoemrs and other needs, but are limited in the amount of expenses they can deduct that year on their taxes. This provision would extend the increased deduction for start-up expenses, from $5,000 to $10,000. Eligible expenses include studies of potential markets, products, labor markets, or transportation systems; advertisements for the opening of a new business; compensation for consultants and employees undergoing training and their instructors; and travel for the purpose of securing suppliers, distributors, and customers.

Extends Section 179 Expensing: This provision allows small businesses to write-off up to $500,000 in tangible property, such as investments in machinery and plant equipment, or other physical equipment (such as refrigerators or stoves for a restaurant or gas pumps for a gas station).

General Business Credit Carryback: This provision would allow businesses to continue to carryback (i.e., count against profits from previous years) general business credits for up to five years.  This helps businesses who are currently not profitable by allowing them to claim credits against years where they were making money.

Another measure included in theSUCCESS Act is the Expanding Access to Capital for Entrepreneurial Leaders (EXCEL) Act, which would modify the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program to raise the amount of SBIC debt the Small Business Administration (SBA) can guarantee from $3 billion to $4 billion. It would also increase from $225 million to $350 million the amount of SBA guaranteed debt a team of SBIC fund managers who operate several funds can borrow.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/08/meng-gillibrand-helping-small-businesses-with-tax-breaks/

Aug 21 2012

Examining The Israeli Connection

The following is a press release from Congressional candidate Dan Halloran that compares his recent trip to Israel with Grace Meng’s visit in 2010.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Steven Stites; 347-702-2882, steven.stites@gmail.com

Halloran, Meng, and Israel: Setting the Record Straight

Two Candidates, Two Trips to Israel. So What Are the Differences?

Grace Meng went to Israel in 2010. Dan Halloran was there last week.

 

While Assemblywoman Meng was in Israel, she didn’t get endorsed by a single Israeli leader of note. In fact, she didn’t have a single substantive one-on-one conversation with any Israeli leader on matters of security or foreign policy while she was thee. (Or if she did, she decided to keep it a secret for two years.)

 

Meanwhile, Halloran was personally endorsed by the Culture Minister and several members of the Knesset, including Deputy Speaker Danny Danon. Which candidate do they think will truly fight to protect them in Congress?

 

How else are they different?

 

Assemblywoman Meng didn’t say a word about the Cordoba House mosque, which Halloran vocally opposed.

 

Grace Meng said she would vote to censure the NYPD for its anti-terrorism programs by cutting federal funding. Halloran — whose grandfather and great-grandfather were both NYPD police officers — has pledged to put more cops on the streets to fight crime and terrorism.

 

Grace Meng’s first critiques of Obama’s foreign policy appeared in The Jewish Week just two weeks ago. In her Jewish Week editorial, Meng didn’t say a word of substance about how to keep Israel safe. She didn’t so much as mention the new Islamist government in Egypt, or the crisis in Syria. On both issues, Halloran has taken strong stands.

Halloran went to Gaza and Ramallah and other Arab-controlled territories — as well as Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem. What trouble spots did Meng visit and see for herself to really understand the crisis?

 

Halloran said: “I believe Israelis can build wherever they want. I believe Israel has the right to defend itself, by force, if needed. My opponent doesn’t really know what she believes. She is a Democratic rubber stamp in  the Assembly. In Washington, she would be a rubber stamp for President  Obama and his failed foreign policy.

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We are glad that neither candidate was photographed with an assault weapon.

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/08/halloran-to-meng-i-got-there-first/

Jun 27 2012

The Battle Lines Have Been Drawn

Come on, you wanna go to war, we take you to war, okay? -Tony Montana

Congressional candidate Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) today congratulated his Democratic opponent, Assemblywoman Grace Meng, on her victory in last night’s Primary and basically drew the line in the sand.

This is his official statement.

“I look forward to discussing our unique visions for Queens. Assemblywoman Meng wants to raise taxes and increase spending. I want to lower taxes and fees and spend responsibly. Assemblywoman Meng wants another failed government stimulus, bailing out corporations and failed fiscal policies. I want to help the private sector create working-class union jobs and grow our economy. Assemblywoman Meng wants to cut New York City’s share of anti-terror funding from Washington to punish the NYPD. I want to protect those dollars and keep our City and its police officers and firefighters safe.”

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/06/the-battle-lines-have-been-drawn/

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