A Winning Formula for LI Democrats

Published by Newsday. Written by Lisa Tyson.
November 23, 2015

It’s going to take a lot more than a stitch in time to save the “Long Island Nine” in the 2016 elections. If the Democratic challengers to these nine Republican state senators who represent the Island follow these three rules, they’ll have a real shot at winning seats and taking back the State Senate majority from Republicans.

First, Democrats need to make Republican corruption central to their campaign themes and commit to fixing the state’s electoral system by promising to support publicly funded elections. This month’s elections for Nassau County district attorney and Oyster Bay supervisor proved voters will stand up against a system that’s based on elected officials being impacted by campaign contributors.

Democrat Madeline Singas’ victory over well-known Republican Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray for Nassau district attorney, and the very slim victory, despite recent scandals in his administration, of Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto over Democrat John Mangelli are textbook examples of how to run against a corrupt political system and beat the odds.

Next year, Venditto’s son, state Sen. Michael Venditto, is up for re-election with a last name that’s linked to scandal. Will the younger Venditto stand up for real reform, including publicly funded elections, that will stop Albany’s culture of corruption? He hasn’t yet.

Second, challengers need to stand up for the issues that can truly improve voters’ lives, like increasing the minimum wage and making college tuition affordable. After all, it’s the big money interests who fight these policies by heavily contributing to lawmakers.

When it comes to having elected officials who are responsive to the needs of most New Yorkers, state Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) embodies all that’s wrong with Albany. What’s worse than his alleged crimes to enrich himself and his son is the legal bribery that happens every day at the Capitol. When Skelos was head of the Senate Republicans, he set the agenda — an agenda that put corporate profits before the needs of ordinary New Yorkers. His pro-fracking, anti-living wage, and even pro-gun positions trace to corporate interests.

Third, candidates need to make sure voters look down the ballot by connecting the major presidential campaign issues like income inequality to state issues like raising the minimum wage. In 2012, President Barack Obama won seven of nine State Senate districts on Long Island. Democrats also have an enrollment advantage in seven of the nine Long Island districts.

In the last presidential election, Obama won the 7th District with 54 percent of the vote. That same year, incumbent Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola) won only 52 percent. Democrats will turn out next year because their voting numbers rise in presidential elections. Democratic candidates for State Senate need to get those votes by having meaningful conversations with voters.

The Democratic enrollment advantage on Long Island and across New York gets stronger every year. So far, Senate Republicans have been able to cling to power by scaring voters — saying votes for Democrats will give control of the state to New York City; taking campaign money from big real estate moguls and hedge fund managers; and buying off a few Democrats by giving power to a small group that caucuses with the Republicans.

Next year can be one of change. It can be a historic moment when Democrats vote against corruption — legal and illegal — by demanding their issues come first and that their elected officials are accountable to them.

Lisa Tyson is director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition.

LIPC Applauds Governor on LNG

Long Island Progressive Coalition’s Statement on LNG

November 12th 2015

Cuomo Veto

“The Long Island Progressive Coalitions applauds Governor Cuomo his announcement today to veto the
Port Ambrose a liquefied natural gas (LNG) port proposed off New York’s coast. This facility would threaten public safety and endanger our beaches and it would maintain our reliance on dirty fossil fuels while blocking a wind energy project proposed for the same location” stated Lisa Tyson Director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition.

Over 150 activists from across Long Island join to build a united progressive movement



Conf Big Picture

STONYBROOK (November 7, 2015)

Long Island organizations gathered at the first Progressive Vision for Long Island: Organizing for Success conference. This conference was organized by a new groundbreaking initiative called Long Island Progressive Network that brings together immigration, social justice, LGBTQ rights, environmental issues, labor rights, education, sustainable development and community organizations to work together to build power and to move progressive issues throughout Long Island, the state and the nation.


The Conference is a historic event because it is the first time Long Island organizations explored what can happen if we bring together people from many different issue areas that all have an interest in creating positive change on Long Island.  Bob Master, Assistant to the Vice President for Legislative, Political and Mobilization Activities for District One of the Communications Workers of America, kicked off the event by giving a national overview of labor struggles. Attendees then gathered for issue workshops and skill building trainings, to hone the skills needed to effect change.


“The time has come for our organizations to work and fight together to improve the lives of the residents of Long Island. Long Island is one of the most segregated communities, there is a major housing crisis, severe income inequality and major corruption. In order to win significant improvements on these issues we must do things differently by banning together and supporting allied organizations’ campaigns” stated Lisa Tyson, Director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition.


“This conference is a sign that progressives are fired up around key issues and are willing to work together to get the job done. It is not just about individual organizations but the issues that affect all working families. It is great to see Long Islanders strategize and leave excited to continue the fight.” said Bob Master, Assistant to the Vice President for Legislative, Political and Mobilization Activities for District One of the Communications Workers of America who was the Keynote Speaker for the event.

Conf Small Group Photo

“This conference allows different organizations to learn about others struggles and fights and how we, as a Labor, can better understand our members and their needs,” said Brendan Sexton, the Political Coordinator for UFCW 1500.
“In our current political and social climate the inaugural Progressive Network Conference could not be more timely. Having had the privilege to be a part of the planning process, I am confident this convening will be the beginning of a unified progressive movement that has the potential to do truly transformative work. Only by working together in solidarity and by recognizing that we cannot continue to work in silos can we achieve more inclusive, integrated, sustainable communities that provide opportunity for all,” said Nuzhat Quaderi, Community Organizer at ERASE Racism.

Conf panel Sustain photo

For more information about the Progressive Network please contact Dan at dfingas@lipc.org.

What’s a Name Worth?

Excerpt from Newsday’s The Point:
The family name
Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto may still pull a win out of Tuesday’s election, but the family brand has taken a hit.

Democrats looking to take back the State Senate from the GOP in 2016 suddenly see Sen. Michael Venditto, the supervisor’s son, as vulnerable.

The younger Venditto, serving his first term in Albany, coasted to victory last year in the race to succeed Charles Fuschillo. Michael, 33, was plucked from the Nassau legislature, where he had only served 16 months on the strength of the family name.

His selection over more senior and experienced Republicans was defended by Nassau GOP chairman Joseph Mondello, who said Venditto was from a political family and had worked on his father’s campaigns. Mondello was right, the name carried the day and Michael won easily.

A year later, that name isn’t looking so stellar.

After casting ballots for John Venditto for nine terms, voters in the heavily Republican areas of Oyster Bay rebelled, angry over badly managed town finances and a federal investigation into how town concession contracts were awarded. The year-over-year comparison in the election districts that overlap the Senate district are stark. In 2014, Michael won them with 79 percent of the vote. On Tuesday, John’s margins in his home area and stronghold were only 59 percent.

Remember when the Bush name meant victory in politics?

— Rita Ciolli

Is Senator Hannon looking out for our best interests?

Hannon Photo

New York State Senator Kemp Hannon

Below is an excerpt from Capital Tonight’s “Morning Memo”:

“Democrats Target Hannon’s Legal Work

As battleground races for the state Senate are more than a year away, Democrats are once again eyeing the Long Island district held by Republican incumbent Kemp Hannon.

In particular, allies of the Democratic conference are looking at Hannon’s legal work at FarrellFritz.

On the firm’s website, Hannon in a question-and-answer portion of his bio speaks about the FarrellFritz’s work on behalf of clients as why he chose to join the firm.

“It is the firm’s commitment to “excellent lawyering, to hard work and to performance for clients that I think is unique to Farrell Fritz. It’s an exciting and intellectual atmosphere in which to work,” he states in the Q and A. “I have been with the firm since the 1980s. This commitment is something that has consistently been a hallmark of the firm.”

Hannon isn’t referring to his own clients, and he claims none on his financial disclosure form with the joint Commission on Public Ethics.

Nevertheless, Lisa Tyson of the Long Island Progressive Coalition sees Hannon’s work with the law firm — legally allowed in a part-time Legislature — as a problem.

“Long Island needs Senators who put the people ahead of their own personal financial gain,” Tyson said in a statement. “Instead, we have Kemp Hannon shamelessly promoting his influence in the State Senate to generate business for his high-priced, special interest law firm. This is the kind of behavior that’s been allowed for too long in Albany and shows why we desperately need to shake things up on Long Island.”

The Hannon seat is one of up to a half dozen districts that could be in play for either conference heading into 2016. Democrats have routinely eyed the district in presidential election years, when Hannon’s margin of victory is typically smaller and more Democratic voters support down-ballot candidates.

In addition to the Hannon seat, Democrats are also eyeing the Hudson Valley district held by Republican Sen. Bill Larkin.

– Nick Reisman (@NickReisman)”

Want to learn more about how Fair Elections can beat corruption in NYS?  Contact Dan at dfingas@lipc.org.

Interns Needed to Help Make Change on LI

Do you know a bright, young progressive person on Long Island?  Do you know of a college student who wants an internship where they can gain real experience and make a difference?

LIPC needs interns for Fall 2015. Please read below for more information.


Have a passion to help the community and want to get real world experience?

Want to learn how to organize and communicate with Long Island Communities?

Don’t Miss Your Chance to Make a Difference

The Long Island Progressive Coalition is looking for enthusiastic interns, who want to improve the quality of life for all citizens on Long Island.

Become part of a fun, cooperative work environment while earning college credit.

LIPC is a 35-year old, Island-wide, multi-issue, grassroots organization dedicated to promoting sustainable development, revitalizing local communities, enhancing human dignity, creating effective democracy, and achieving economic and social justice.

Join us in fighting for:

• A quality public education system

• Affordable housing- Yes in My Backyard

• Clean Money Clean Elections

• Economic Justice

Learn community-organizing skills including:

• Strategy development

• How to use social media in organizing

• How to make community change through electoral campaigns

No prior experience required. Training is provided.

Contact the Dan Fingas our Organizing Director (516) 541-1006 x17 or email dfingas@lipc.org

 Please forward this email along to any interested students you know or contact Dan at dfingas@lipc.org with any names of progressive students who you think would be a match.

Views From 90 Penn: Social Justice and Education

Sam Head Shot


LIU Post Senior Samantha Capofarri

My name is Samantha; I am currently an intern at the Long Island Progressive Coalition. I am graduating from Long Island University in May with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and a minor in Sociology. As a future teacher I am truly passionate about equality in education and society as a whole. When Dr. Heather Parrott offered me this internship I was really nervous at first. Once my first day came around and I met everyone at LIPC I was beyond excited to begin working with the organizer’s of LIPC and Alliance for Quality Education, I knew from the start that we had similar goals in mind, not only for quality education but for the entire Long Island community.

In the past few weeks of this internship I really learned a lot about how LIPC helps our Long Island community and citizens in struggling Long Island areas. Currently I am working on promoting the Rev.Barber Speech, this event was held at Stony Brook University on April 28th. Rev.Barber is the president of the North Carolina NAACP and the founder of the Moral Mondays Movement. Moral Mondays is a social justice movement that has taken hold across the country and calls for economic justice and government accountability. While making the phone calls to invite members of the community to this event, I learned so much from the people on the other end of the phone. Hearing how passionate the citizens in our community were about bringing this movement to Long Island really opened my eyes to the importance of community involvement. If we want something to happen or to see a change we need the support of our community. Having the support of the community is what makes movements, like the Moral Monday Movement, successful.

The next campaign I began working on was for the Alliance for Quality Education. The AQE fights for quality education in every school district regardless of its location. As a future Early Childhood educator I am passionate about what the AQE fights for. Education is the foundation of our future, therefore it should be of the best quality. Unfortunately there are many school districts in need of aid that aren’t receiving the aid and support they need to provide that quality education all students deserve. Most students, at some point in their school career don’t feel completely satisfied with their education quality and learning experience. If schools, students, and parents work together to improve the quality of education that students are receiving then students will have an easier time getting the education that they deserve. In the past few weeks I have gained so much for my future education career from working with the AQE.

As a young woman, finishing my degree and hoping to one day make the differences in education and the well-being of our Long Island community, I will always be committed to making progressive changes that will benefit Long Island. The real world can seem like a scary place. College is supposed to prepare you to enter it but academia can leave a lot of gaps. A great strategy for becoming more prepared for this challenging life event in my opinion is to get an internship. Having an internship and mentors to guide you on your new journey in life provides a hands on experience that can only come from someone who’s done it all before. The people I have worked with so far at LIPC have provided me with so much information and knowledge to take with me after I graduate and enter the real world.

Views From 90 Penn: LIPC has Opened My Eyes to Public Education on LI

Imhoff Headshot

Intern Jennifer Imhoff with her son Everett

My name is Jennifer Imhoff and I am finishing my last semester at LIU Post. My internship at LIPC has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I have had the opportunity to work with people who are passionate about what they do, and are willing to help educate others about the many issues affecting people living here on Long Island.

I am studying to become a social worker because I have an interest in helping people and making the world a better place, and an internship with the Long Island Progressive Coalition has exposed me to the many ways that I can help people. I have had the opportunity to attend local forums on education, attend rallies in Albany, Nassau, and Suffolk County. I have been able to speak to people that are directly affected by the 2% tax cap. The 2% tax cap does not take into consideration school districts that are facing increased enrollment, causing class sizes to grow in these districts. Unfortunately, it is the high- needs districts that benefit the most from state and local funding, but when there is less money to spend per pupil, all of the children are directly affected.  The state is underfunding schools and programs are being cut because of the tax cap and state underfunding.

As a student, parent, and wife of a teacher I see the pressure that is being put on our students and teachers.   It is not fair to use student’s test scores to evaluate teachers and this needs to change.  The State also needs to fully fund our schools. Schools district can not maintain vital programs when state aid is cut and districts need to adhere to the 2% tax cap.   The Board of Regents suggested $2 billion as the minimum needed in additional state aid, however they are only receiving $1.6 billion.  I also learned that the way the funding is distributed very important.  High-needs schools need to get more funding and have access to more resources so that students in those districts also receive a quality education.  LIPC has given me the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally, and I am proud to have participated in the internship program here. I challenge you to get involved in the education campaign with the Long Island Progressive Coalition. Attend a meeting, make a call, or write a letter but take action to make a difference.

Join Us As We Remember Diana Coleman

News 12 has been playing a story about Diana Coleman for Black History Month which is shown below. I was cooking dinner one night and hear Diana’s voice on t.v. I went to see the story and I just cried because I miss her friendship but also we have lost such a fearless warrior who fought for her community for decades and made a real difference in all of our lives.

News 12 did an excellent job highlighting some of the amazing things she had done in her life. You saw her when she was suing Nassau County for unfair assessments to the minority communities. You saw her leadership in working in her community to deal with crime and violence. And you saw her making strong arguments on various issues where she worked to convince people why they should support issues like fair redistricting and campaign finance reform.

At our annual luncheon on April 11th we are giving the first Diana Coleman Community Leadership Award. NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli will be talking about Diana who was a close friend of his and giving this award to North Hempstead Supervisor. Please join us for this event as we honor Diana and reflect on our work for social, economic and racial justice.  Contact john@lipc.org for more info about how you can join us on April 11th in honoring Diana.

In Solidarity,