NYSYD to Sen. Robert Ortt: Resign

In light of his recent indictment, New York State Young Democrats (NYSYD) calls on Robert Ortt (R-Niagara County) to immediately resign from his seat in the New York State Senate.

In an indictment in Albany County unsealed yesterday, Sen. Robert Ortt was indicted on three felony counts of filing a false instrument in a scheme to create a no-show job for his wife while he was Mayor of North Tonawanda and facing a $5,000 annual salary reduction and funnel $21,500 into his household between 2010 and 2014. The charges were brought by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Senator Ortt has pleaded not guilty and said he will not resign his seat in light of the charges. Ortt, however, had no issue in 2015 calling on former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos to resign from his leadership post when Skelos was indicted on similar charges when he arranged a no-show job for his son, Adam.

“As the late, great Yogi Berra liked to say, ‘This is déjà vu all over again,'” said NYSYD President Mike Corbett. “We saw this with Dean Skelos – a public official setup a no-show job for a family member. The people of the 62nd Senate District deserve better than another corrupt official who will end up spending more time in a courtroom than doing work for constituents. It’s only right that Senator Ortt practices what he preached two years ago and step down.”

Stemming from the investigation by Attorney General Schneiderman’s Office, Ortt’s predecessor, former Sen. George Maziarz, was indicted on five felony counts of filing a false instrument in relation to the scheme and has pleaded not guilty. Maziarz is accused of misusing funds donated to both his campaign committee and the Niagara County Republican Committee in order to funnel money to a former State Senate staff member, who left following allegations of sexually harassing a female colleague, using a “pass-through” entity to hide the payments from public scrutiny. Additionally, Former Niagara County Republican Chairman Henry Wojtaszek has plead guilty to a misdemeanor related to failing to proper file campaign finance disclosures between 2012 and 2013 and will be sentenced later this year.

NYSYD Endorses Home Stability Support

The New York State Young Democrats (NYSYD) is proud to join an ever-growing broad and bipartisan chorus of elected officials, labor unions, and community leaders in supporting the Home Stability Support (HSS) – a proposal which aims to bring an end to the homeless crisis in New York State put forward by New York State Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Queens).

HSS aims to be be a new statewide rent supplement for individuals and families eligible for public assistance benefits as well as for those who are facing eviction, homelessness, or loss of housing due to domestic violence or hazardous living conditions. HSS will replace all current city, state, and federal rent supplements and will be fully paid for by state and federal government. Further, this more-expansive program will save taxpayer dollars. According to current estimates, it costs $38,460 per year to house family of three in a homelessness shelter in New York City; however, HSS is estimated only cost $11,224.

In 1975, shelter allowances were created as a means to pay the rents of most of households using public assistance, factoring-in locale, family size, and if heating is included in rent. However, those allowances failed to keep up with the rising cost of housing. New York State has over 150,000 homeless children and over 80,000 families on the brink of homelessness, which amounts to billions of dollars being spent by local, state, and federal governments on essential services. Finding concrete solutions to homelessness has become a moral and fiscal obligation for every New Yorker.

Especially troubling is the impact homelessness has on young people. According to the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, runaway and homeless youth (RHY) often do not complete their education, which in turn, hurts their ability to seek employment. Further, a new report by the Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness shows that RHY are more likely to have health problems, be bullied, attempt suicide, be sexually exploited and abused, and abuse drugs and alcohol while also being less likely to graduate high school.

“Homelessness is an issue that affects everyone, especially young people,” said Mike Corbett, President of the New York State Young Democrats. “Given the number of youth that are either homeless or are on the brink, it is imperative that we act now. That is why I believe Home Stability Support is a good plan, not only because will end up saving taxpayer dollars, but more importantly because it will save lives as well.”

“I am proud to have the New York State Young Democrats endorse the Home Stability Support plan. I look forward to working with this new generation of leaders to help some of our most vulnerable New Yorkers,” said Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (A.D. 28).

The New York State Young Democrats calls on its representatives in Albany to pass Home Stability Support as a concrete way to end the state’s homelessness crisis and, in turn, help flourish the Empire State’s economic outlook.

The New York State Young Democrats is the official youth arm of the New York State Democratic Committee. It represents Democrats between the ages of 16-36 living in all of New York’s 62 counties.

NYSYD at the Women’s March on NYC

With chants like “This is what democracy looks like” and “Build a fence around Mike Pence,” today, January 21, 2017, the New York State Young Democrats participated in the Women’s March on New York City. Members from across the city and the Hudson Valley peacefully took to the streets of New York and we made our voices heard. Going from Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza to Trump Tower, throughout the day, we were joined by various elected officials including Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright, City Councilwoman Margaret Chin, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

Photo of Amanda Pizzuti and Mike Corbett in the Women's March on New York City

Marching alongside 500,000 other New Yorkers and hundreds of thousands more in sister marches across the globe, we stood united in saying that we will not be silenced. We said that we will not stand idly by while a man who jokes about sexually assaulting women occupies the Oval Office. We showed we will fight back when our Commander in Chief insults the disabled, veterans, immigrants, minorities, Muslims, and women.

Photo of thousands of protesters along 42nd Street

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer today claimed that more people attended President Trump’s inauguration than both protests in D.C. or either of President Obama’s inaugurations and any photographs to the contrary are proof of media manipulation. From the outpouring I saw today, I would say that Mr. Spicer is perpetuating “fake news.”

Though we have had some setbacks, for the next 1,460 days, we must stand united and be vigilant. We must fight to ensure that our health care is not taken away. We must fight to protect the freedom of our press. We must fight to be protect the right to marry the person we love. We must fight to

To quote a famous Democrat, “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die.”


Official Call to Convention

Join us May 5-7, 2017 in Dutchess County, New York as we meet for training, networking, electing officers and continuing to build the future of the New York State Young Democrats. This document is the official Call to Convention for the 2017 State Convention.

Convention Officers

The 2017 Convention Chair is Andrew Goldston. The 2017 Convention Rules Committee Chair and Parliamentarian is Dusan Lakic. Other convention officers shall be named at a later date.

Chartering or Re-chartering

Re-chartering packets will be distributed and made available electronically on or before February 1, 2017, and will be due for submission by electronic mail by no later than 11:59:59 PM EST on March 17, 2017. Each Chapter must submit a roster listing all members and required data in accordance with Article II Section 1.1 and Article III, Section 5 of the NYSYD Constitution.  A spreadsheet template will be provided online. The Chartering fee is $65.00 plus 0.50 cents per member in accordance with Article IV, Section 1. The deadline for the chartering fee and certification from county chairs to be submitted is April 6, 2017.

Delegates to Convention

Re-chartered and Newly Chartered Chapters must submit their preliminary list of Delegates to the Credentials Chair at the following e-mail address: by no later than 11:59:59 PM EST on or before March 17, 2017. Amendments can be made to delegate lists until 11:59:59 PM EST on  May 1, 2017. Each chartered or re-chartered County Chapter shall receive one (1) delegate for every ten (10) members of the Chartered Chapter who are residents of the county in which the chapter is located as set forth in Article III, Section 6 of the Constitution. Delegates and Alternate Delegates must be members in good standing of the chapter they represent in accordance with Article III, Section 3 of our Constitution. Proxies are permitted, and individuals may be empowered to act as proxies on behalf of delegates, so long as such individual’s name is submitted to the Secretary prior to the commencement of voting. No one person may hold more than 3 proxies, in accordance with Article III, Section 4 of our Constitution. All delegations are subject to the provisions of Article III, Section 6.1 of our Constitution. The Credentials Committee shall submit their final pre-convention report of eligible delegates and alternates by April 22, 2017.

New York State Young Democrats Executive Board Positions

All members of the New York State Young Democrats are invited to consider running for an Officer position on the State Executive board. Applications will be collected via Google Form. The link for applications will be distributed on February 1, 2017 by electronic mail as well as our website and social media pages. Applications are due by 11:59:59 PM EST on April 1, 2017. All applications will be automatically time stamped.

Pursuant to the constitution and bylaws, positions you may consider running for are:

President, Executive Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, National Committeeman, National Committeewoman, Regional Vice President (Capital, Central, Downstate, Hudson Valley, Upstate, and Western), and Legal Director (must be an attorney licensed to practice in the State of New York).

In addition, the following caucuses will hold elections: Caucus of Color; Disability Issues; High School; Jewish; Labor; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT); Rural  (YDR); and Women. Only members of the aforementioned caucuses may vote in these elections.

Executive Board Election Procedures

All candidates must submit their applications via Google Form by 11:59:59 PM EST on or before April 1, 2017. All Candidates shall have an opportunity to address the convention and answer any questions delegates may have prior to their election. All elections must be conducted by roll call vote by County name in alphabetical order alternating between ascending and descending order. Each candidate may only run for one position. In an election for a position involving one candidate, one must receive a majority of the votes cast otherwise the position will remain vacant. In an election for two candidates one candidate must receive a majority of votes cast, a failure for either candidate to achieve a majority will result in a further round of debate and voting until a majority is reached. In an election for a position involving more than two candidates, one candidate must receive a majority of the votes cast, and if no candidate received a majority then the candidate with the lowest number of votes shall be dropped from the ballot and the election run again with the remaining candidates until one candidate receives a majority of the votes cast.

Write-in votes will not be accepted.  Nominations from the floor will not be accepted unless there is an Amendment to the Constitution on that day and only for a position that was newly created or for which the nominee was not previously eligible for candidacy. Following the conclusion of elections, the newly elected officers will assume their positions. In the event of a vacancy after the application due date or following elections, the vacancy shall be filled in accordance with our Constitution and By-laws.  A motion to suspend the rules shall be in order upon the affirmation of 2/3rds of the appointed delegates.

Special Executive Board Election Procedures

Each region elects a Regional Vice President pursuant to the Constitution, Article III Section 3. Only individuals who are registered voters in the region shall be eligible to run for a Regional Vice President position. The elections for Regional Vice Presidents will occur in a manner and time identical to all other Executive Board positions, except only votes from the respective region will be counted for each regional election.

Constitutional Amendment Procedures

Any proposed amendments to the Constitution shall be submitted electronically to the Rules Chair Dusan Lakic at Any proposed amendments to the Constitution must be received by 11:59:59 pm EST on or before April 22, 2017. All proponents for a Constitutional Amendment shall be entitled to be heard by the Convention Rules Committee. Proposed amendments to the constitution must both articulate the specific provisions amended and the rationale for the amendment.

Agenda and Programming

The agenda and program of the Convention will be determined by the Convention Programs committee, pursuant to the NYSYD Bylaws Article V.

Key Dates

February 1, 2017

  • Re-chartering Packets Distributed Electronically
  • Executive Board Election Applications Open

March 17, 2017

  • Re-chartering Packets Due
  • Proposed Delegate Lists Due

April 6, 2017

  • Chartering Fees Due
  • Certification from Democratic County Chair Due

April 22, 2017

  • Final Pre-Convention Credentials Report Due
  • Constitution and Bylaws Amendments Due

May 1, 2017

  • Amended Delegate Lists Due

We look forward to seeing you in May and ensuring the future of our organization.

NYSYD Supports Governor Cuomo’s Excelsior Scholarship Program

The New York State Young Democrats (NYSYD) are proud to support Governor Cuomo’s plan to make college more affordable for all New Yorkers. This proposal, the Excelsior Scholarship, will provide free tuition for all two-year and four-year degrees at all schools within the SUNY (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY) systems – two of the largest public university systems in the nation.

Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled this initiative, the first of many prior to his State of the State addresses, alongside Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 at LaGuardia Community College in Queens. The program will allow those making up to $125,000 per year to attend any CUNY and SUNY college tuition-free by paying the remaining costs not already covered by grants and scholarships.

“A college education is not a luxury – it is an absolute necessity for any chance at economic mobility, and with these first-in-the-nation Excelsior Scholarships, we’re providing the opportunity for New Yorkers to succeed, no matter what zip code they come from and without the anchor of student debt weighing them down,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement.

“Governor Cuomo has presented a solid plan to make college more affordable for all New Yorkers,” said Mike Corbett, President of the New York State Young Democrats. “The Excelsior Scholarship program will allow anyone who attends a SUNY or CUNY school to do so without the burden of debt upon graduation. As a result, the dream of a quality college education will become a reality for almost one million middle-class families. This proposal is another example of New York State setting the tone for the nation and we thank the Governor for his leadership on this issue.”

A similar plan to pay the tuition for all CUNY and SUNY students who agree to live in New York State for five years following graduation and perform a requisite number of hours per year of community service had been previously introduced by Assemblyman James Skoufis, NYSYD‘s 2016 Young Elected of the Year, in 2014. The Governor’s plan seems to draw on and expand that idea.

“I am extremely encouraged to see the Governor join our three-year effort to enact free tuition at our public colleges. For so many New Yorkers, the snowballing cost of a higher education has meant drowning in student debt for over a decade; for countless more, it serves as an outright roadblock,” said Assemblyman Skoufis (D-Woodbury). “Our students and families cannot wait any longer. Now’s the time for the Governor and Legislature to come together and heed the call from our families to live up to SUNY’s and CUNY‘s original promise: a truly affordable and high-quality experience. Let’s get it done in 2017.”

NYSYD is committed to making this plan a reality to improve the economic well-being of its current and future members. The organization calls on the members of the New York State Legislature to draft and pass a bill with the proper funding mechanisms to see this through to send to the Governor’s desk for his signature in time for the 2017-2018 academic year.

In this new global economy, a well-educated workforce has become necessary for continued growth. According to the U.S. Department of Education, employees with a bachelor’s degree typically earn 66% more than those with a high school diploma over their lifetimes.

Today, an increasing number of jobs require a college degree for entry-level work. Additionally, student loans has become the second-largest form of consumer debt and, from private lenders, can have an annual interest rate as high as 13%. This situation is preventing a new generation of laborers from entering the workforce with a decent wage and, in turn, money to contribute to the economy.

“As a college student, I applaud this proposal to make higher education more attainable,” said College Democrats of New York (CDNY) President Kevin Kowaleski. “Hundreds of thousands of middle-class and working-class New Yorkers attend SUNY and CUNY institutions, and they understand that this issue is of critical importance. For many current and prospective college students, lower costs could make the difference between realizing their full potential and falling short of their dreams. It’s time for New York to invest in our students and lead the nation on college affordability.”

Having the support of Senator Sanders, who made college affordability a hallmark of his 2016 Presidential Campaign, is testament to how this plan is something every state can model and be a catalyst to finally making college affordable nationwide.

The New York State Young Democrats is the official youth arm of the New York State Democratic Committee. It represents Democrats between the ages of 16-36 living in all of New York’s 62 counties.

Statement on the Passing of Daniel Friedman

This morning, former Ramapo Councilman Daniel Friedman passed away at the age of 30.

A young man passionate about public policy, Dan began his career at the age of 15 when he interned in the New York State Assembly. He later went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in government and a master’s degree in public policy from Pace University.

Daniel Friedman served on the Ramapo Town Council from 2010 to 2016 –first appointed to fill a vacancy and later elected to a full term. At 24, he then was the youngest elected official in Rockland County and the youngest councilman in the history of the Town of Ramapo.

Dan also was instrumental in the reconstitution of the Rockland County Young Democrats and served as its one-time President.

“Dan was a person with a tremendous heart who cared deeply about our community,” said Joseph Coe, President of the Rockland County Young Democrats. “Also ready to pitch in, he was a fiercely intelligent man who dedicated his life to improving Rockland. We will not forget you Dan.”

“We are deeply saddened upon hearing of the passing of Daniel Friedman, who was one of our own,” said New York State Young Democrats President Mike Corbett. “In addition to becoming an elected official at only 24 years of age, Dan was one of the founding members of the Rockland County Young Democrats. Without the hard work of Dan, amongst others, that chapter might not exist today. We want to offer condolences to the family and friends of Daniel Friedman in this difficult time.”

“Daniel Friedman politics aside cared deeply about the Town of Ramapo and the County of Rockland and showed it on a daily basis whether through his work at the County Legislature or during his free time helping non-profits,” Christopher Smith and Amanda Roman, Co-President Emeriti of the Rockland County Young Democrats jointly said. “He will be sorely missed by all of us.”

Following his tenure with the Ramapo Town Board, Dan Friedman continued to serve his community as a Constituent Service Representative in the Rockland County Legislature and as an adjunct professor at SUNY Rockland Community College.