Tag Archives: Bill Perkins

State Senate Democratic majority: Every vote counts and we are counting every vote

11 Nov

By STATE SEN. BILL PERKINS

Most of the focus of the 2010 election has been on Capitol Hill, but closer to home here in New York, there are three closely contested races where counts are still underway that will determine which party holds the majority in the now Democrat-controlled State Senate. These races are outside of New York City, in Nassau, Westchester and Buffalo, but we need to keep a watchful eye on them because of what’s at stake for communities of color and also because widespread voting irregularities throughout the state have called the new voting system into question. There are still thousands of absentee, affidavit and emergency ballots yet to be counted and we need to make sure New York in 2010 doesn’t become what Florida was during the 2000 presidential election. In these contests, only hundreds of votes separate three Democratic incumbents—Craig Johnson, Suzi Oppenheimer and Antoine Thompson—from their Republican opponents. The outcome will impact policies in New York for years to come as Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo takes the reins of power in the executive mansion. With control of one half of the State Legislature in the balance, voters deserve a full, fair and honest accounting of the ballots cast in these races, especially after previous electoral debacles. To that end, Democrats have now launched what we believe to be the largest election protection effort New York has ever seen. This was the first general election run on new electronic voting machines. Voters and poll workers were not accustomed to the new system. In Suffolk County, there have been wild swings in the initial counts in the 1st Congressional District and the 1st Assembly District. Meanwhile, in Nassau County, there are reports of ballots that weren’t scanned. Overall, there may be as many as 10 races in dispute throughout the state because of voting discrepancies. All across New York, we heard reports of ballots rejected because voters checked, rather than filled in, the bubble next to a candidate’s name. The law states that every ballot where the voter made their intention clear must be counted, but these ballots weren’t. This is an area that could require further legislation to protect voters. In addition, thousands of votes cast by men and women serving in the military, or who for some other reason were unable to travel to a polling place on Election Day, have yet to be tallied. These citizens have every right to be heard. Make no mistake, we will not allow a rush to judgment to quiet the voice of the people. Democrats have dispatched teams to make certain every vote is counted. Although Republicans want to declare a victory by press release, Democrats understand we have laws to ensure accuracy and fairness in close races. Two years ago, Democrats were able to gain a slim two-seat majority after 43 years of lost jobs, high taxes, inequitable education funding and a health care policy that disenfranchised New Yorkers. Since then, we’ve stimulated job creation, expanded health care access to the underserved, opened up state contracts to more minority- and women-owned businesses, created low-interest student loan programs and forced public authorities like the MTA to be more transparent. We’ve also advanced progressive policies such as reforming the Rockefeller Drug Laws and the NYPD’s invasive stop-and-frisk practices. Whether these policies continue rests on the outcome of these pivotal races. We believe that when the votes are fully counted, we will build on the victories Senate Democrats witnessed on election night. In Queens, Tony Avella, a proven advocate for his community, beat Republican State Sen. Frank Padavan, an incumbent who served for nearly four decades. In Rockland County, David Carlucci of New City was victorious against a Republican political giant, County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef. Carlucci’s win puts this seat in Democratic hands for the first time since 1983. And in Buffalo, Erie County Legislator Tim Kennedy beat Jack Quinn III, the scion of a Republican political dynasty. The importance of the outcome in these three other races cannot be overstated. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “I am not interested in power for power’s sake, but I’m interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good.” We must not and we will not let any voters be passed over by a flawed voting process or a pointless rush to meet an arbitrary deadline for power’s sake. We are ready to go through every ballot to make sure the people’s voice is heard.

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The debate that wasn’t

21 Oct
By CYRIL JOSH BARKER and By NAYABA ARINDE
Talking loud and saying nothing is a phrase some armchair and professional pundits alike are using to describe last Monday’s gubernatorial debate. Little was gained or learned, “unless you appreciated the comedy of it,” State Senator Bill Perkins told the AmNews.

To call Monday night’s event a gubernatorial debate would be an overstatement, considering the fact that the candidates vying for the governorship barely spoke to each other but, rather, answered questions about what they would do if elected governor. Continue reading

Perkins trounces Smikle despite challenge

16 Sep
By STEPHON JOHNSON: Amsterdam News Staff

While the major theme pushed upon New York State residents was “Throw the bums out,” State Sen. Bill Perkins’ battle with Basil Smikle could be seen as a battle for Harlem’s children. Heavily influenced by the debate over charter schools uptown, Perkins seemed to have met his match in Smikle, who was backed by some of the same people who finance the schools.

Perkins easily defeated Smikle with 76 percent of the vote in the 30th State Senate District. Smikle amassed the remaining 24 percent. Overall, 22,746 Harlem residents went to the polls on primary day and told New York City and New York State exactly what they thought of charter schools. Continue reading

Amsterdam News Primary Endorsements: Bill Perkins, State Senate

26 Aug

30th Senatorial District: Bill Perkins

Bill Perkins has been serving the people of New York City for decades. Since his return to Harlem after graduating from college in 1972, he dedicated himself to his community. Serving as a New York City Council Member for eight years, he succeeded David Paterson as Harlem’s state senator and has served in the senate. He has been a supporter of education, health, care and civil liberties.

While some disagree with his recent stances on charter schools, he has been a vocal proponent for a good education for New York’s youth. And while he believes that the public schools are the best solution and has pushed for broad improvement and investment in the schools, he has recently conceded that charter schools run by not-for-profit institutions also have a place in the system and voted to expand the number of charter schools in a recent senate vote.

As a cancer survivor, he also knows the importance of access to heath care, and that is why he has been a huge advocate for early detection.

Perkins is a strong believer in the community in which he serves and has always fought for what he believes is right. He has served and community well and continues to do so.

His opponent in the race is not a newcomer to New York City politics. Basil Smikle has worked behind the scenes of New York politics for many years. A product of a family of Jamaican immigrants, his father was a textile worker and his mother, to this day, works as a special education teacher. He knows this city and is committed to the community. However, at this time, when the city and the state are in such dire straights, we need someone that has experience as an elected official.

That is why the New York Amsterdam News is endorsing Bill Perkins for senator of the 30th Senatorial District.

Rangel assailed, but unfazed

26 Aug

Rep. Charles Rangel and former Mayor David Dinkins after the debate in the sanctuary of Convent Baptist Church with its senior pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jesse Williams, and members of the Gang of Six, which sponsored the political debate. (Herb Boyd photo)

By HERB BOYD: Special to the AmNews

There were rumors that Congressman Charles Rangel was not going to participate in the debate with candidates seeking to unseat him, but like so much hearsay surrounding the embattled representative, this was false. Not only did he appear at Convent Baptist Church Monday evening, he sat to the very end, often enduring withering attacks from his opponents.

“We need a new perspective,” said Joyce Johnson, 62, who organized for Obama’s campaign, “there is a sense of urgency” in Harlem she asserted. “They say a woman’s place is in the house—the House of Representatives.”

When moderator Les Payne asked her if Rangel should be sent back to Congress, she said: “I’m sending Joyce Johnson.” Continue reading