NY's Path to Ranked Choice Voting: Staten Island Forum

March 11, 2021  
Webinar
Webinar
Thursday
2:00PM - 3:15PM
Presented By Spectrum
Event Description

The virtual forum is part of a five-part series bringing together policymakers, leaders from government, advocacy professionals, academia, media, technology and more.

New York voters will see a big change in the next election cycle with the implementation of ranked-choice voting. Our diverse panel will discuss the major issues on ranked choice voting and its effect on Staten Island. Topics to be addressed include the following:

-How exactly will ranked-choice voting work in New York City? 

-What are the pros and cons? Who benefits? Who is disadvantaged? 

-How to inform voters? Risk of confusion? 

-How will this affect campaigning? Less negative campaigning? Coalition campaigning?

-What kinds of candidates will benefit from this? Who will be hurt by it? 

 

 

Speakers
Dianne Morales is running an optimistic campaign for mayor of New York City.
Dianne Morales
NYC Mayoral Candidate
Dianne Morales is running for Mayor of New York City. Dianne believes that we must uplift those who are most vulnerable and have historically been left behind. There is transformative potential in this crisis to create a new social compact that recognizes our interdependence & the power of collective action to create new possibilities for a just recovery. Our City thrives when every woman is able to live safely, every family has a pathway to economic opportunity and every child has access to quality education. Dianne has lived experiences as: a Bed-Stuy native, nonprofit CEO, single mom of two, first-generation college grad, educator & advocate, and Afro-Latina. Dianne was born in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, to two working-class Puerto Rican parents, who believed that the American Dream was not just a promise that success was possible for everyone – but a promise to lift others as they climb. From a very early age, Dianne watched her parents serve as a support system for neighbors and family who the city’s safety net failed. As a single mom of two, Dianne is personally familiar with the difficulties of navigating both the education and healthcare systems of NYC when trying to do what is best for her children. This has fueled Dianne’s life-long commitment to fix the broken systems that block millions from the American Dream. When Hurricane Maria devastated her family’s home island, Dianne provided aid to some of the areas that had been hardest hit. As a result of her experiences, she helped establish the Fundación de Mujeres en Puerto Rico to continue supporting women’s leadership and representation in providing services and developing solutions that serve and protect women’s interests in the island’s rebuilding. Dianne is committed to providing access for all New Yorkers to: good Jobs with livable and equitable wages, affordable and quality housing, excellent and equal education, and quality healthcare. Dianne has an undergraduate degree from Stony Brook University and graduate degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Columbia University. Dianne’s over 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector has given her a deep understanding of our city’s dysfunctional education, justice, and health care systems. During this time she has served as one of the founding board members of Jump Start, Executive Director of the Door and CEO of Phipps Neighborhoods. She has personally been involved with: creating a national early childhood model that increased literacy and strengthened the teacher pipeline, establishing cross-sector partnerships that provided un/underemployed South Bronx residents with career pathways into healthcare, engaging homeless LGBTQ youth in education programming and providing housing for those aging out of foster care, supporting homeless families in securing stable housing and economic stability. Her leadership and advocacy in education, employment, and social justice have improved the lives of New Yorkers in our City’s most under-resourced neighborhoods and created permanent pathways out of poverty for every type of New Yorker from single moms to the formerly incarcerated and the homeless. Dianne is a new kind of leader who will build the city we deserve. A leader with the courage to fight for every family. One with real connection to the struggles of everyday New Yorkers – and the expertise and creativity to design the solutions our communities truly need. Website - https://www.dianne.nyc/ Instagram - @Dianne4NYC Twitter- @Dianne4NYC Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/dianne4nyc/ ...On that note, it is my pleasure to introduce Dianne Morales. A Brooklyn native, Dianne’s parents instilled in her the belief that the American Dream was not just a promise that success was possible for everyone – but a promise to lift others as they climb. She earned her bachelor's degree at Stony Brook University and holds graduate degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Columbia University. Dianne has over 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, serving as one of the founding board members of Jump Start, Executive Director of the Door, and CEO of Phipps Neighborhoods. Please note, while we at Free Arts NYC are big fans of Dianne and her work, this is not an endorsement of her as a mayoral candidate. And now, Dianne... Dianne Morales is a former NYC public school teacher turned non-profit executive with over 25 years of experience. She was a founding member of Jump Start, a national early childhood education organization and served as Executive Director of the Door, where she implemented mental health services for homeless youth. Most recently, she served as CEO of Phipps Neighborhoods, where she oversaw the implementation and operation of several supportive housing programs. Her leadership and advocacy in education, employment, and social justice have improved the lives of New Yorkers in some of the most under-resourced neighborhoods, and created permanent pathways out of poverty for single moms, LGBTQIA youth, the formerly incarcerated and the homeless. Dianne is committed to providing access for all New Yorkers to housing for all, excellence and equity in education, radically reimagined public safety, and a solidarity economy.
Andrew Yang
Andrew Yang
NYC Mayoral Candidate
Andrew Yang is an entrepreneur, author, philanthropist, non-profit leader, and former 2020 presidential candidate. Andrew has lived in New York City since 1996, when he moved into his first apartment in Morningside Heights at 21. Andrew came of age, fell in love, and became a father in New York City. Evelyn, Andrew’s wife, was born and raised in Queens. Their first date was to Amy’s Bread on 9 th Avenue. His boys were both born at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital on 59 th St. and are in school in Manhattan, though it’s been Zoom lately. After being a corporate lawyer for five short months, joining a few start-ups, and even launching his own company, Andrew eventually became CEO of an education company that became #1 in the country. He then started a national entrepreneurship non-profit near Herald Square, Venture for America, which worked to empower thousands of young entrepreneurs to bring the dynamism from New York City to communities across the country. Andrew was named a Presidential Ambassador of Entrepreneurship by the White House under the Obama administration and a Champion of Change for his work with Venture for America. Initially dubbed a "longer than long shot" candidate by the New York Times in 2018, Andrew became a top-tier contender for the presidency, raising nearly $40 million in grassroots funding. With a vision to rewrite the rules of the United States economy through a “Freedom Dividend” of $1,000 a month for every American adult, Andrew became one of the most exciting stories in the 2020 race. Andrew's nationwide support, known as the “Yang Gang,” propelled him to seven Democratic primary debates, outlasting six senators, four governors, three members of congress, two mayors, and one secretary. Seeing New York City the way it is now, when many question whether it will ever be the same, is Andrew’s most motivating calling so far. The thought that he might be able to contribute to the city’s revival is both an incredible responsibility and opportunity. It’s one reason why Humanity Forward, a non-profit organization Andrew founded after exiting the Presidential race, has provided over a million dollars in basic income grants to New Yorkers struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Andrew is running for Mayor of New York City, his home, because he sees a crisis and believes he can help. Our city needs bold leadership with big ideas, focused on eliminating poverty, fact-based governance to solve our most pressing issues and recover from this global pandemic, and excited to make NYC a place where anyone would want to live and visit. New York City gave Andrew his life, friends, career, and family. It would be his privilege to serve the city in its time of need. He will do all he can to make New York a place where families flourish in every corner, and move New York City forward.
Douglas Kellner
Douglas A. Kellner
Co-Chair, New York State Board of Elections
Douglas A. Kellner has served as Co-Chair of the New York State Board of Elections since 2005. He is also the New York State representative on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission Standards Board and serves on the Advisory Board of the Verified Voting Foundation. Before assuming his responsibilities at the State Board of Elections, he served as commissioner of the New York City Board of Elections. He is an experienced election lawyer having served as the Co-Chair of the Law Committee of the New York Democratic Committee from 1982 to 1993 and as the Chairman of the Election Law Committee of the New York County Lawyers Association. When he was first appointed to the New York City Board, Commissioner Kellner was the very first election official to call for a voter verifiable paper audit trail for electronic voting machines, a principle now enshrined not only in New York law, but in the election codes of a majority of the states throughout the nation. While leading the opposition to unverifiable electronic machines, Commissioner Kellner was instrumental in promoting new technology for scanning absentee and provisional ballots. He drafted model procedures to open the process of canvassing ballots to public scrutiny and convinced his fellow commissioners to adopt rules that provided meaningful due process in ballot challenges. He drafted New York’s regulation that requires county board to staff polls so that no voter waits more than thirty minutes to cast a ballot. He has been an outspoken advocate for improving the voting process in New York while insisting on transparency, verifiability and uniformity in voting procedures Doug is a partner in the law firm, Kellner Herlihy Getty & Friedman LLP, where he specializes in complex international asset recovery litigation. He is the Chair of the North America Region of FraudNet, an organization of experts formed by the International Chamber of Commerce to assist in fraud recovery and tracing of assets.
FM
Frank Morano
Host, “The Other Side of Midnight," TalkRadio 77 WABC
MC
Michael J. Cusick
New York State Assembly Member, District 63
Since his election to the State Assembly in the fall of 2002, Michael J. Cusick, a lifelong resident of Staten Island, has worked to improve the quality of life for all Staten Islanders. Shortly after graduating from Villanova University in 1991, Cusick began his career in public service as a Special Assistant to the President of the City Council, where he was the representative for the Borough of Staten Island. Following that, Cusick served as the Director of Constituent Services for United States Senator Charles E. Schumer and then as Chief of Staff to former Staten Island Assemblymember Eric N. Vitaliano, where he oversaw the Assembly member’s Albany and Staten Island offices. Cusick has earned a reputation for dedication and thoughtful public service, tirelessly advocating on behalf of his community. As the senior member of the Staten Island delegation in Albany, with more than two decades of work in government behind him, Cusick brings his expertise to the table while negotiating issues of Island and State-wide importance. An active member of many civic organizations, Cusick has served on the Staten Island Board of Directors of the Catholic Youth Organization and the Boy Scouts of America. He was the Staten Island Chapter President of the Villanova Alumni Association, and is a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, John D. Kearney Division 3, as well as the State Island Athletic Club. In 2017, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo appointed Cusick to sit on the Blue Ribbon Panel to enhance collaboration between the Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities and the City University of New York’s College of Staten Island. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation which honors the legacy of Stephen Siller, a firefighter who laid down his life during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Additionally, Cusick chairs the Handicapped Parking Task Force on Staten Island, which he established shortly after his election. The Task Force works with community groups to address the parking concerns faced by disabled individuals. In 2011, Cusick developed a program in conjunction with the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, known as the Veteran’s Discount Program, that gives veterans a card so they can access discounted items at many local businesses. The number of veterans and participating businesses continues to grow – a tribute to the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms. In 2012, New York City proposed reopening the former Fresh Kills Landfill as a site for a waste-to-energy facility. Cusick fiercely opposed the plan, citing a state law he helped craft in 1996 which closed the former landfill to the receipt and processing of garbage forever. Standing firm, Cusick and his colleagues won the battle and the administration backed off the proposal. A passionate activist for Staten Island youth, Cusick labored on behalf of Pouch Camp, a New York City Boy Scout Sanctuary, by securing funding to keep this venerable Staten Island institution from being sold to developers. Cusick also successfully fought to restore yellow school bus serves to Staten Island for seventh and eighth grade students in 2012. In 2008, Cusick created a program called the “Total Fitness Challenge” which encourages Staten Island students from kindergarten through eighth grade to read and exercise during their summer break. An unflagging voice against childhood obesity, he challenges children to keep track of their activities and turn their score cards in upon returning to school. An awards ceremony follows where the children are congratulated for their achievements. On the legislative front, Cusick is a strong voice on behalf of his constituents in the State Capitol and has sponsored numerous bills which have become law. In 2007, legislation sponsored by Cusick created the 13th Judicial District for Richmond County. Staten Island had long sought its own Judicial District, and now the Island has a significant role to play in selecting justices for the State Supreme Court. In response to protestors who targeted military funerals across the nation, Cusick passed legislation in 2006 that creates a 100-foot buffer zone. As protests continued, he passed two more bills in 2011 that ultimately increased the buffer zone to 300 feet and created a required permit for such demonstrations. In an effort to combat the prescription drug abuse epidemic on Staten Island, Cusick was the architect of a law that established a real time prescription drug monitoring program that requires medical professionals and pharmacists to report and track prescriptions of controlled substances. This law, enacted in 2012, makes New York a leader by being among the first states to have such a program. In 2014, Cusick continued his efforts with a law that required insurance companies to use certain criteria when making decisions about in-patient treatment programs to ensure individuals have access to proper treatment and an expedited appeals process if they are denied. Cusick furthered his work to combat addition in 2016 with a law that allowed trained licensed professionals to administer opioid overdose reversal medication and required hospitals to provide patients with available follow-up treatment options. Following Superstorm Sandy, Cusick introduced legislation to include home health care and hospice agencies in local Comprehensive Emergency Management Plans that are submitted to the Division of Homeland Security. Cusick saw that chaos that took place in the days and weeks following the storm where nurses and home health care aides were unable to reach homebound patients. Following much input from the agencies, counties, and the Division of Homeland Security, Cusick’s bill was signed into law in 2017. Cusick has been a member of the American Irish Legislators Society of New York since 2003 and was elected President in 2009. In 2011 he was selected to serve as Chair of the Assembly Election Law Committee and, since 2018, he took over as Chair of the Assembly Energy Committee. As Chair of the Energy Committee, Cusick has taken an active role in efforts to secure the energy grid against cybersecurity threats, worked to increase the adoption of electric-drive vehicles, and supported efforts to bring the offshore-wind industry to New York. In addition to sitting on the Assembly Committees on Governmental Employees, Higher Education, Veterans Affairs, and Ways and Means, Cusick is a member of the National Conference of State Legislators Energy Task Force and the Council of State Governments Energy and Environment Committee.
Najay Roache
Najay Roache
Director of Government Affairs, Spectrum
Prior to joining the Charter team, Najay served as Deputy Assistant Director of Intergovernmental Relations at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget where she guided the agency’s state legislative and budget engagement. Najay began her career in government with the New York State Assembly and during a decade-long tenure, she held various roles in public policy, budget analysis and legislative communications. In 2015, she was appointed Deputy Press Secretary and Speechwriter by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and served in that role before moving back to New York City in 2018 to pursue new opportunities in government relations. Najay is a graduate of Utica College and credits her time in the Mohawk Valley for her enduring love of scenic drives and all things New York.
Agenda
2:00pm

Opening Remarks By Najay Roache, Director, State Government Affairs, Spectrum

2:10pm

Mayoral Candidate Interviews

Andrew Yang, NYC Mayoral Candidate

Dianne Morales, NYC Mayoral Candidate

2:20pm

Roundtable Discussion 

New York voters will see a big change in the next election cycle with the implementation of ranked-choice voting. Our diverse panel will discuss the major issues on ranked choice voting and its effect on Staten Island. Topics to be addressed include the following:

-How exactly will ranked-choice voting work in New York City? 

-What are the pros and cons? Who benefits? Who is disadvantaged? 

-How to inform voters? Risk of confusion? 

-How will this affect campaigning? Less negative campaigning? Coalition campaigning?

-What kinds of candidates will benefit from this? Who will be hurt by it?

Panelists: 

Douglas A. Kellner, Co-Chair, New York State Board of Elections

Frank Morano, Host, “The Other Side of Midnight," TalkRadio 77 WABC

New York State Assembly Member Michael Cusick 

3:10pm

Closing Remarks

3:15pm

Session Concludes

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