Dave Valesky

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The New York state Senate got swept up in this year's Republican election wave, with 33 districts in their corner after the votes were counted.

The dean of central New York’s Senate delegation, state Sen. John DeFrancisco, said that’s good news.

On the flip side, it means difficulty for central New York's Democratic Assembly members to push through key agenda items, and reduces the influence of Sen. Dave Valesky, who DeFrancisco shares representation of Syracuse with.

When the New York State Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference joined in a majority coalition with Republicans in 2012, it claimed that the arrangement would provide more up-or-down floor votes on progressive legislation.  In announcing a new intention to caucus with Democrats following this November’s elections, the IDC is claiming that the arrangement will provide….more up-or-down votes on progressive legislation.  How can both claims be true?  That question and others related to political power-sharing arrangements are explored with this week’s guest on the Campbell Conversations—IDC

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Jean Kessner has gotten her wish and will likely drop her challenge of state Sen. Dave Valesky in Democratic Party primary.

Kessner, a Democrat herself and Syracuse Common Councilor, was circulating petitions to challenge Valesky (D-Oneida), unless he rejoined the mainstream Democrats in the state Senate.

Valesky has been a member of the Independent Democratic Caucus, which controls the Senate along with the minority Republicans, since 2011.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Syracuse Common Councilor Jean Kessner continues collecting petition signatures for a possible Democratic primary run for the state Senate seat held by Dave Valesky (D-Oneida). On Tuesday, Kessner supporters rallied in front of the State Office Building in Syracuse.

Kessner says she only wants to run if Valesky stays aligned with the Independent Democratic Conference, a group of breakaway Democrats that, along with Republicans, control the state Senate.  

'Erin's Law' faces hurdles to passing in New York state

Jun 11, 2014
Office of Dave Valesky

For the third year in a row, the New York State Senate passed "Erin's Law," a bill requiring schools to teach age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness to children in pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade.

Erin Merryn, a victim of sexual assault, has come up against some hurdles in her campaign to make it a law in New York state.

When Merryn was six years old she was sexually abused by a neighbor. When she was eleven she was sexually abused again by a cousin for two years. She stayed silent for years.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Democrats in New York state are vowing to take control of the Senate from the coalition leading it now, made up of Republicans and five breakaway Democrats.

Oneida’s Sen. Dave Valesky, a founding member of the Independent Democratic Conference, says he’s staying committed to the power sharing structure, even as some Democrats are calling on him to leave it.

Many members in the more progressive wing of the Democratic party, like Blue Carreker, campaign manager of Citizen Action of New York, wants Valesky to caucus with fellow Democrats.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

There will be skating at the Meachem Ice Rink in Syracuse’s Valley neighborhood starting in October.

The rink closed earlier this year after a series of mechanical problems made it impossible to make ice. State Sen. Dave Valesky and Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli combined forces to get more than $450,000 from the state’s capital budget to pay for installation of an ice mat.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says it is the latest innovation in the ice rink world.

nysenate.gov

State Sen. Dave Valesky, a founding member of the Independent Democratic Conference believes a recent Siena College poll  gives credence to the coalition between the IDC and Senate Republicans.

The poll shows that 58 percent of New Yorkers like the way the coalition is running the New York State Senate. The Senate is controlled by minority Republicans and the IDC -- a system created a few sessions back, after a problem-filled term when Democrats controlled the Senate.

While tax breaks are the cornerstone of some of the programs in New York state meant to boost business, there are other areas where the state can become an impediment to anyone wanting to do business. A state report released recently points the finger at a bureaucracy that gets in the way.

There are 750,000 regulations on the books in New York state, many of them outdated and never reviewed. And many of them can get in the way of New York's businesses.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The independent group of Democrats in the state Senate says its 2014 legislative agenda will have a positive impact on the greatest number of New Yorkers.

Following state Republicans and Gov. Andrew Cuomo's tax commission, the Independent Democratic Conference has put forward its ideas on how to use the projected $2 billion budget surplus next year.

The IDC is calling its plan "Affordable NY." It targets middle class New Yorkers through extended maternity leave and allowing college students to lock in tuition rates at public universities.

nysenate.gov

Syracuse-area state Senator Dave Valesky says the bipartisan coalition that governs the New York Senate was successful this year.

In the wake of a series of political corruption cases out of Albany in recent weeks, campaign finance reform has become a popular issue in the state capitol.  Among the proposals for reforming the way money is used in political campaigns, is one from the Independent Democratic Conference. The group is wrapping up a set of statewide hearings on their plan today in Albany.

The new iteration of the New York state Senate will look different in 2013 with the new power sharing agreement in place between Republicans and breakaway Democrats, and two central New York lawmakers will be in the thick of it.

nysenate.gov

A potentially significant new chapter in New York's political history will be written in January, as the State Senate's Independent Democratic Caucus joins with the Republican Caucus to form a coalition majority.  On this edition of the Campbell Conversations, State Senator Dave Valesky, a founding member of the Independent Democratic group, discusses how this new arrangement will work, and why joining with the Republicans may actually bring more progressive pieces of legislation to the Senate floor.

Some supporters of the new state Senate coalition between Republicans and the Independent Democrat Caucus say it will keep upstate New York concerns on the table. Some area politicians believe that wasn't the case when Democrats had control of the New York state Senate in 2009 and 2010.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

While the balance of the New York State senate remains unclear, as votes continue to be counted in a pair of close Senate races, activists are calling on a breakaway political coalition to stick with the Democrats. A coalition of union and community groups believe some important issues depend on it.

One New York state Senate seat that has been hotly contested in recent years in central New York, will not be this year.  Republicans have not been able to come up with anyone to run against Democrat Dave Valesky in the 53rd Senate District.

As a youngster in Illinois, Erin Merryn learned about stranger danger and was warned about internet safety. She was taught to stay away from drugs.  The one thing she never learned about was how to deal with sex abuse, which was happening to her.

"I listened to the only message I was given," says Merryn. "And that was from the sexual predators who were raping and sexually abusing me as a child, telling me 'this is our little secret' and 'no one will believe you'."