August 14th, 2016

Guests: NY State Senator/Congressional Candidate Jack Martins and fmr. NJ Gov. Jim McGreevey

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NY State Senator/Congressional Candidate Jack Martins

Full interview

Martins’ response to a question asking him to explain his position that he is voting for Donald Trump for President, though not endorsing him:

JM: “Elections are about choices. There are two candidates and, unfortunately, two very flawed candidates running for President this year. I look at that person who is best suited for the job and I’m concerned about certainly the temperament of both candidates and their qualifications. Certainly, the ability to tell the truth, the ability to address real concerns that we have with things like the Clinton Foundation and perhaps email scandals and decisions that were made as Secretary of State, on the one hand, for Secretary Clinton, and then on the other hand, certain statements that were made by Mr. Trump that are concerning.

Thankfully, I’m always run as an individual. I’ve had the opportunity through elective office to take stances of different things and people know who I am, so I’ve been able to use that and show through experience that I listen, I work across the aisle, I get things done. I oftentimes remind people I was elected in 2010 in a tough election cycle. Governor Cuomo was at the top of the ticket for the Democratic Party and do you remember who was at the top of the Republican Party in 2010? … Carl Paladino. And I won in my district because people trusted me to do the right thing when I got to the Legislature.

So, I think that’s part of it as well. People can trust me to go to Washington, do the right thing, provide the necessary checks and balances that we need to have, and certainly I’ve demonstrated over the years that I’m more than willing and able to work across the aisle, find solutions, and move the needle forward.

Link to audio:

Martins’ response when asked which members of Congress he respects and to whom he would compare the approach he plans to take as a legislator if he is elected to the House of Representatives:

JM: “I admire Speaker Ryan, certainly. I agree with him on many of his positions, especially as it pertains to economic opportunity. The Speaker is a Jack Kemp disciple and I happen to be a big fan of Jack Kemp and the idea that we can elevate people through opportunities, through economic prosperity. I think that’s a very important message, especially as we deal with poverty and income inequality in this country.

Another great Representative is Pete King, and frankly another one is Tom Reed from Upstate New York; moderates, people who work across the aisle, are not afraid to buck their party and to get things done, and understand that first and foremost our responsibilities are to represent our constituents and the residents here on the North Shore of Long Island and Queens, Nassau and Suffolk County deserve to have a Representative that’s going to put them first.”

Link to audio

Martins voted for a $15 minimum wage, paid family leave, and stricter gun control laws in the State Legislature. Would he do the same in Congress?

JM: Yeah, I would support those measures, but let’s not go to a metric like a $15 minimum wage. Let’s understand that part of the great creativity shown in our effort here in New York is that we were willing to have discussions about what those impacts would be across the state. That we were able to phase them in separately in different parts of the state, understanding that we have different economic factors that play in and that throughout the entire process there is a pause button that was built into the legislation so that when the economy is not doing so well that there’s an opportunity by the administration to say, ‘Hold on. We can’t continue to phase it in. We’re going to take a pause.’ Not that we’re going to derail the effort, but we’re going to take a pause.

Those are important elements. And so, when we take a one size fits all approach, oftentimes we miss the opportunity to find where we can find common ground. So, when we discuss those issues, obviously it’s very important.

Paid family leave, great idea, great concept, certainly I think we did a wonderful job here in New York in terms of phasing it in, in terms of realizing how it’s going to be paid for, and giving people opportunities in the workplace. But, again, it took sitting, listening, negotiating, to get it done as well.

Link to audio

Martins on the DCCC’s charge that he was an apologist for Dean Skelos after Skelos was indicted for public corruption:

JM: “It’s silly. Obviously, there was an effort to politicize the issue on the floor and we do have rules. We have rules in every legislative chamber, which we expect will be followed. You don’t bring a bill to the floor without it having gone through a committee and having been properly vetted. By the same token, you don’t being a motion to the floor and ask for it to be voted on, and expect that it’s going to be voted on unless it’s a political stunt.

So, I was a member of the New York State Senate, I am a member of the New York State Senate and I certainly was there through those years. People know better and those who have supported and elected me over the years know who I am. Dean Skelos was the Majority Leader of the New York State Senate at the same time as I was a member of the Republican conference.”

Link to audio

Martins on whether he agrees with Bill Samuels and EffectiveNY that there should be an amendment to the New York State Constitution guaranteeing its residents the right to clean air, clean water, and a healthful environment:

JM: “I think that is our right, so I have absolutely no issue with it at all. I’m very fond of quoting a Kenyan proverb, which is, ‘We don’t inherit the land from our parents, we borrow it from our children.’ And if we’re true to that concept it’s our responsibility to protect the land, the water, and the air.

Our efforts here on Long Island go way back, thankfully well before the terrible issues in Hoosick Falls. We are in a very interesting position here on Long Island between Nassau and Suffolk Counties. You have literally three million people who are living above a sole source aquifer from which they get their only drinking water. There is no option B for us. And so if we don’t take active steps to protect our groundwater and to make sure that we pass it on to our children, frankly, there is no other option.

I have been proud of my efforts, working with Michelle Schimmel in the Assembly and others, and with our local governments to protect our groundwater, to protect our surface water from nitrification, and along those lines I’ll take the opportunity to say that unfortunately my opponent [Tom Suozzi], when he was county executive, didn’t take the necessary steps he needed to protect our groundwater and surface water and when Sandy hit we saw what the consequences are and were of having our sewage treatment plant exposed and the lack of any coordination on groundwater control, and we’re dealing with those consequences now.

So, I agree with you both, we have a responsibility to protect out environment, we have a responsibility specifically, especially here on Long Island, being an island where our groundwater provides us with our drinking water, it’s our responsibility that we keep it clean and everyone has access to clean water, clean air, and land.”

Link to audio

Martins on whether he supports a State Constitutional Convention in 2017:

JM: “Frankly, I don’t have an issue with having a convention. Any time we have an opportunity for people to come together and have a discussion, especially about something as important as the very rules by which we govern ourselves, certainly we should do that periodically.

I have no issue with the dialogue, the discussion or the opportunity. I don’t know whether or not that will result in the kinds of changes that people may necessarily be advocating for, but we should always have the discussion.”

Link to audio:

Fmr. NJ Gov. Jim McGreevey

Full interview

McGreevey agrees that politicians particularly in the executive chamber, himself included, feel a pressure to be tough on crime and not coddle prisoners, and he explains how his perspective as governor was different from how it is now as an advocate trying to help rehabilitate ex-cons’ lives.

JM: “Sure, I was one of them. … It’s so different. … I just saw [with] drugs and drug distribution and drug use, lock ’em up and put ’em away. Now, what I really appreciate is that addiction is a disease. And I’ve seen, particularly with this opium crisis, it’s going through middle class white neighborhoods like a knife through butter. … So, what I see now today, as opposed to governor, is that you can lock up everybody. It’s never going to get one addict into sobriety. It’s treatment, it’s NA, it’s AA, and it’s putting people back to work.”

Link to audio

McGreevey on whether he’ll ever run for office again:

JM: “God forbid! … Public office, running for office… One of the great things that I have now—it sounds crazy—but the time I spend with my family and it’s something that I really enjoy. … It’s sort of like that old quote by Winston Churchill: ‘You make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give.’ …

My friend, Steve Adubato … asked me yesterday, ‘What’s the biggest thing that you learned?’ And I said—and it sounds corny—but it’s something that comes out of AA and it’s called ‘the third step’: to make a decision to turn our life and our will over to the care of God as we understand him. Part of this is not doing my will, not satiating the ego, the power, whatever. But trying to be of service in my community and trying to do what the community yearns for, and trying to stay true to that … trying to yield to that inner core of goodness, that inner core of love, to say at the end of this, we can’t take it with us and so how we make the world better … So that’s where I’m at.

Link to audio


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