November 22nd, 2015

Guests: Joe Crowley and Todd Kaminsky

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Congressman Joe Crowley

Crowley says that Gov. Cuomo should support a state-run retirement savings program:

JC: “Much of the responsibility will fall on the states and I think that Governor Cuomo—if he’s as smart as I think he is, and I think he’s very smart—will come to the conclusion as well that it would be helpful to his constituency in New York State, our constituency as well, to have this ability, to have the incentives statewide to help New Yorkers save for their future. I think that’s a smart thing to do and I think the governor will recognize that as well.”

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Crowley expresses support for a city-run retirement savings program in NYC:

JC: “I think at any level where we can show that this works and, quite frankly, if we did it on the citywide level, if we did it on the statewide level and on the federal level we’d have a lot more people looking a lot more secure in terms of their retirement. And so I do think that what tends to happen, and gets the federal government to move, is when there is more action on the local and statewide level that calls really more for federal action. … Certainly what New York will do in the future will be helpful in terms of our efforts to get this done on a nationwide basis.”

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Crowley on the chances of the Zadroga bill being renewed:


JC: “I’ve made an admonition to my colleagues to not use the term ‘never again’ until they are prepared to fulfill their promise to these men and women. And I do think that an overwhelming majority of my colleagues, if the bill were brought to the floor, would make it permanent. And Speaker Ryan has talked about bringing regular order back to the House and I think that this is one particular bill where regular order is called for and if the House is able to work its will I think we would pass this bill and pass it permanently. It’s really up to them to make it happen.”

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Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky

Kaminsky on whether he will run for Skelos’ Senate seat:

TK: “I don’t think it’s ripe for discussion yet. As long as Senator Skelos is the senator … there’s a long time until next November. If he’s not the senator, then obviously that will certainly prompt some discussion and obviously I’d be a fool not to want to at least think about it, but I just have a lot to do on Long Island to fight for people in my district, to fight for the middle class. And so I just really don’t have the time to think about would-bes and could-bes and possibles. Look, the trial is not going to go on forever. It will be ending fairly soon. If it ends in such a manner where there’s an open seat, then obviously we’re in a different situation.”

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Kaminsky on whether Silver would be reinstalled as Assembly Speaker if acquitted:

TK: “I can tell you that there is tremendous confidence in Carl Heastie. I can tell you that no one wants to relive the very tumultuous period that existed after the arrest. And I don’t think that, regardless of what the outcome of the trial is, that the facts of the trial would lead anyone to say that we need a new Speaker. So at the end of the day Mr. Silver does have a lot of friends and he would still come back into the Assembly but I don’t see there being a change in speakership.”

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Kaminsky says that one reform that needs to be passed immediately is pension forfeiture for convicted lawmakers:

TK: “One of the things we need to do right away—and the fact that it’s not law is disgraceful—is the pension forfeiture. What kind of incentive or disincentive it will create for other people to stop committing crimes I don’t know. But on principle, the fact that you could violate the public’s trust and then go and collect public money is just disgraceful. That has to end. That’s first of all. It’s not a tremendous thing, but it’s important and it has to happen.”

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Kamisky on the resistance of the “old guard” to ethics reforms in Albany:

TK: “There is a feeling in Albany that I fight against every day, which is the following: ‘Bad people are going to do bad things, so what can we do? Why are we legislating? Why are we trying to do anything about ethics? You can’t legislate ethics.’ So there’s an old guard up there that says repeatedly, ‘We did ethics reform this year. Then we did it the following year. Then we did it last year. At the end of the day, Kaminsky or other reformers … it’ll never satisfy the press, never satisfy the reformers. We can’t stop people from doing bad things.’ And that is true, but it’s not enough because there are plenty of gray areas where once we allow people to wade into [them], bad things happen. And when we have a system that pays people … modest to low salaries, but they could earn much more than that doing something else, it creates tangled lines. So if somebody comes to ‘X senator’ who is doing very well at a law firm, maybe not even doing work at that law firm, and says I want to give you my company’s business, which would obviously increase the senator’s ability to earn lucrative money on the outside and prove what he can do for his or her law firm. What happens when that same person comes and asks you for something in your official capacity?”

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