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.
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.
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'."