Democrat Marc Panepinto carries the endorsements of the Democratic Party and the Working Families Party

He is also endorsed by U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Congressman Brian Higgins, and Senator Tim Kennedy, as well as countless labor unions and community organizations including USW District 4, UFCW Local 1, UAW Region 9, NYSUT, 1199 SEIU, 32BJ SEIU, IBEW Local 97, Teamsters Joint Council 46, AFSCME District Council 66, CWA, National Association of Letter Carriers, NARAL, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, and the Western New York Community Action Council.

Issues

Establishing and Maintaining a Living Wage

When private companies receive government money, the government has a responsibility to ensure that the employees of that company have jobs that pay a living wage. Living wage laws establish wage floors for businesses that receive contracts or subsidies from local governments, and they provide a practical way for cities to ensure that public dollars generate quality jobs for local residents. I believe that it is important to establish a wage floor that will allow low-income workers to meet their families’ basic needs. To give tax dollars to a company without ensuring that their employees—citizens who paid into the system—receive a living wage is inherently unjust.

Ending Corporate Tax Breaks and Creating Jobs

For too long, companies have received lucrative tax breaks while sending jobs overseas. It’s fair and just to demand companies keep and create jobs at home in order to receive government funds.

Strengthen Worker Safety laws

Worker safety laws are designed to protect employees from dangerous working conditions. These laws require employers to provide a workplace that is free of known dangers. While these laws protect all workers, they are especially important to the hard-working men and women who manufacture our products, build our infrastructure, transport our children to and from school, and any one of a number of jobs that make up the glue of our society.

For years, insurance industry insiders and corporate interests have been trying to weaken or abolish these safety laws. They are not concerned about the effect this would have on the thousands of working families all over our state. Their only concern is their bottom line. I pledge to do everything within my power to preserve and strengthen our worker safety laws.

End the Privatization of Public Education

We are currently headed down a road that could cause us to lose our public education system to private interests. More and more of the nation’s wealthiest philanthropic organizations are steering their resources towards challengers of public education such as charter schools or voucher systems. This trend is hurting our public education system by removing resources from the shared pot and prioritizing certain schools and, by extension, certain children over others.

The move towards privatization in public education is largely an attempt by corporate interests to dictate public policy in a manner which allows them to bypass the governmental checks, balances, and accountability of the system. There are eight major national foundations that are largely responsible for this trend, many of which are financed and run by technology giants such as Amazon and Microsoft. This is an inherent conflict of interest as these same companies make vast amounts of money from selling goods and services to the education sector. I am more concerned with our children’s futures than a corporation’s profit.

These “reformers” preach buzzwords such as “results” and “accountability” yet The Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University recently found that only 17% of charter schools offered a better education than traditional schools and 37% actually offer a worse education. It is time for us as citizens to take back control of our region’s public education system. We need to take a look at the current system and find a way to improve it for ALL of our children.

Women’s Equality Act

In June 2013, the New York legislature failed to pass Governor Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act. As a husband and father of three young daughters, this issue is very important to me. The Women’s Equality Act would:

  • Protect a Woman’s Freedom of Choice
  • Achieve Pay Equity
  • Stop Sexual Harassment in All Workplaces
  • Allow for the Recovery of Attorneys’ Fees in Employment and Credit Lending Cases
  • Strengthen Human Trafficking Laws
  • End Family Status Discrimination
  • Stop Source-of-Income Discrimination
  • Stop Housing Discrimination for Victims of Domestic Violence
  • Stop Pregnancy Discrimination Once and For All
  • Protect Victims of Domestic Violence by Strengthening Order-of-Protection Laws

The State Senate Republican/Independent Democratic Coalition (IDC) failure to pass the initiative, which was advanced by the Governor and passed by the State Assembly, means that millions of women throughout New York State are not receiving the equal pay and protections that they deserve.

The stated reason for the Republican/IDC refusal to pass the full Women’s Equality Act is the Republicans’ refusal to codify the 1973 Supreme Court Decision of Roe v. Wade into New York State Law. Interestingly enough, New York State actually decriminalized abortion in 1970, 3 years prior to the federal law, when 12 Republicans in a Republican controlled Senate sided with the majority of their Democratic colleagues to change the law.

The federal law, to which New York already adheres in practice, makes abortion legal before viability and bans it later in pregnancy unless a woman’s life or health is at risk. But the state laws on the books criminalize abortions after 24 weeks unless they are necessary to save the life of the mother. The proposed change to the state law would assure that women choosing to terminate a pregnancy to protect their own health would not be exposed to criminal prosecution.

Polls have shown that the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers support all ten of the issues addressed in the Women’s Equality Act. In Albany, I will join my Democratic colleagues in continuing to push that the full 10 point Women’s Equality Act be brought to the floor for a vote. My wife, my daughters, and all of the women of New York deserve to have their rights recognized.

District 60