Press Releases

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 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.

2016 Convention Promises Continued Growth For The New York State Young Democrats

New Executive Board Promises Democratic Party Wins In November


The New York State Young Democrats convened in Bronx, NY from May 20th through May 22th to elect a new Executive Board, marking a continued commitment for building the Democratic Party New York and engaging young Democrats across New York State. The new Executive Board officers and caucus chairs are:

  • President: Michael Corbett (Manhattan)
  • Executive Vice President: Tom Meier (Westchester)
  • Treasurer: Amanda Pizzuti (Brooklyn)
  • Secretary: Lauren Bailey (Albany)
  • National Committeeman: Sam Hudis (Manhattan)
  • National Committeewoman: Stacey Eliuk (Queens)
  • Legal Director: Dusan Lakic (Westchester)
  • Downstate Region Vice President: Patrick Jordan (Queens)
  • Hudson Valley Region Vice President Alex Roithmayr (Westchester)
  • Capital Region Vice President: T.J. Kennedy (Rensselaer)
  • Chair of Council of Presidents: Dylan Miyoshi (Dutchess)
  • Caucus of Color: Jovan Richards (Westchester)
  • Disability Issues: Seamus Campbell (Brooklyn)
  • High School Co-Chairs: Sarah Shamoon (Manhattan) and Hannah Zimmerman (Manhattan)
  • Jewish Caucus: Brent Weitzberg (Queens)
  • Labor Caucus: Christina Isnardi (Manhattan)
  • LGBT Caucus: Austin Markford (Manhattan)
  • Rural Caucus Co-Chairs: Paolo Cemedis (Chemung) and John Midwood (Dutchess)
  • Women’s Caucus: Marcia Grippen (Broome)

In addition to selecting new leadership, the organization adopted a number of reforms to how its structure. Most notably, a change to hold conventions in odd-numbered years as to ensure better coordination with the state and national parties.

“I am honored to be the first person in over a decade to be elected as President of the New York State Young Democrats for a second term,” said President Michael Corbett. “For the past two years, we have seen NYSYD become a more stable and trusted organization, both to our local chapters and the State Democratic Party. I cannot stress how vital this has been in ensuring that we take back Congress, the New York State Senate and, most importantly, keeping the White House this November. And we have already seen this with the election of Todd Kaminsky last month. While we still have a long way to go, I could not ask this endeavor.”

New York State Young Democrats Congratulate Democratic National Committee for Moving to America’s Labor Bank


NEW YORK, NY, August 13, 2012: Today, the New York State Young Democrats (NYSYD) congratulated the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and its chair, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), for deciding last Friday to transfer its day-to-day banking needs to Amalgamated Bank, known widely as “America’s Labor Bank”. Last month, NYSYD transferred its own funds to Amalgamated Bank and has since been advocating for other chapters to follow suit.

“It is a proud day when NYSYD can say we helped lead the charge for organizations as prominent as the Democratic National Committee,” said Glenn Oldhoff, president of NYSYD. “Building a stronger New York and a stronger America requires responsible banking partners who prioritize the value of our working families. I thank Chair Wasserman-Schultz and the entire DNC for joining us at Amalgamated and for making a loud statement about the value of our party’s future. Our bankrolls are more Main Street than Wall Street, and so are our values.”

“Amalgamated Bank is pleased to be the bank for the New York State Young Democrats Political Action Committee and to join with the state’s young Democrats in their efforts to elect candidates who support the agenda of working families.” said Ed Grebow, Amalgamated Bank’s president and CEO, at the time of last month’s announcement. “Young Democrats are the future leaders of the Democratic Party and of our nation. Providing banking services to organizations like theirs is consistent with the Bank’s mission of supporting organizations aiming to improve the lives of workers in New York State and across the country. The New York State Young Democrats join a growing chorus of non-profit groups, labor unions and progressive organizations who are choosing to bank with an institution that supports the agenda of the 99% and we are proud to have their business.”

Established in 1923 by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, Amalgamated Bank continues the progressive traditions of its founders as the only union-owned bank in the United States. Chartered by New York State, Amalgamated Bank is an FDIC insured commercial bank with $4.2 billion in assets.

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

New York State Young Democrats Transfer Funds to America’s Labor Bank


Today, the New York State Young Democrats (NYSYD) transferred their funds to Amalgamated Bank, known widely as “America’s Labor Bank”. Established in 1923 by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, Amalgamated Bank continues the progressive traditions of its founders as the only union-owned bank in the United States. Chartered by New York State, Amalgamated Bank is an FDIC insured commercial bank with $4.2 billion in assets.

NYSYD is putting its money where its heart is,” said Glenn Oldhoff, president of NYSYD. “Our bankroll is more Main Street than Wall Street, and so are our values. In a political reality where money equals speech, unfortunately far more than it should, our organization will speak loudly for a progressive future that holds hard working New Yorkers in its highest regard.”

“I am pleased with our selection of Amalgamated Bank as a new depository for NYSYD,” said Jon Reznick, treasurer of NYSYD. “We live in an era when most banks are struggling with their reputations as well as with their books, an era where everything connected with money is seen as a way of giving your values voice. We are lucky that the only union-owned bank in the United States has many branches conveniently located near the city of New York. Our funds will be kept at a bank which actually talks about its progressive traditions on its website, and their branch manager and team at the midtown branch already know who we are as customers.”

“Amalgamated Bank is pleased to be the bank for the New York State Young Democrats Political Action Committee and to join with the state’s young Democrats in their efforts to elect candidates who support the agenda of working families.” said Ed Grebow, Amalgamated Bank’s president and CEO. “Young Democrats are the future leaders of the Democratic Party and of our nation. Providing banking services to organizations like theirs is consistent with the Bank’s mission of supporting organizations aiming to improve the lives of workers in New York State and across the country. The New York State Young Democrats join a growing chorus of non-profit groups, labor unions and progressive organizations who are choosing to bank with an institution that supports the agenda of the 99% and we are proud to have their business.”

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

New York State Young Democrats Support Governor Cuomo’s Efforts to Reform Marijuana Laws


Today, the New York State Young Democrats (NYSYD) declared their support for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s (D-New York) efforts to reform the state’s marijuana laws. On Monday, he announced a proposal to decriminalize possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana that’s in public view. Currently, concealed possession of small amounts of marijuana is a violation, subject to a ticket and $100 fine, while smoking or public possession rises to a misdemeanor. The Governor stated his desire to create “fairness and consistency in our laws”; 82 percent of the more than 50,000 arrests last year in the state were of black or Hispanic individuals, primarily young men.

“Governor Cuomo’s proposed legislation will close loopholes in our criminal justice system that unfairly target youth of color,” said Joseph Coe, vice president of NYSYD. “This is an issue of equality and justice and we commend the proactive approach the Governor and his partners in government and law enforcement are taking to redress the injustice that currently exists in our penal code. The message that Governor Cuomo is sending both within New York and throughout the United States is clear: unfair and unjust laws must be changed, and that we must value our greatest human resource, the youth in our state.”

“This is a new beginning for New York State in changing the decriminalization of our African American, Hispanic and all minority youth,” said Rachael Walton, chair of NYSYD‘s Caucus of Color. “The New York State Young Democrats Caucus of Color is in full support of the Governor’s new legislation and hope that we continue to make great effective policy that preserve the next generation.

NYSYD also encouraged Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature to reexamine how it can help lead efforts to curb racial profiling concerns in municipalities across the state, including the controversy surrounding the stop, question and frisk policy of the New York City Police Department. Critics have alleged that this policing strategy magnified issues related to the discrepancy in the state’s marijuana laws.

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

Elections Usher In A New Era For The New York State Young Democrats

2012 Convention Revitalizes Democratic Youth Organization


The New York State Young Democrats convened in Albany May 18-20 to elect a new Executive Board, marking what the organization says is “a renewed commitment to building a sustained Democratic movement in New York and engaging young Democrats statewide.”

The new Executive Board officers and caucus chairs are:

President: Glenn Oldhoff (Westchester)
Executive Vice President: Joseph Coe (Rockland)
Treasurer: Jon Reznick (Manhattan)
Secretary: Michael J. Murphy (Queens)
National Committeeman: Jahi Lafayette (Westchester)
National Committeewoman: Jugba Santi (Brooklyn)
Legal Director: Jenifer Rajkumar (Manhattan)
Downstate Region Vice President: Benjamin Yee (Manhattan)
Hudson Valley Region Vice President: Christopher Smith (Rockland)
Central Region Vice President: Jenni Royer (Broome)
Chair of Council of Presidents: Amanda Pizzuti (Brooklyn)
Disability Issues Caucus: Seamus Campbell (Brooklyn)
Caucus of Color: Rachel Walton (Queens)
LGBT Caucus: Katherine Brezler (Westchester)
Women’s Caucus: Angelica Katz (Queens)
Labor Caucus: Eric Katz (Westchester)
Jewish Caucus: Sam Hudis (Manhattan)
Rural Caucus: Jamie Duchessi (Montgomery)

“It’s my great honor to serve as president of the New York State Young Democrats,” said Glenn Oldhoff. “Together, we’ve taken the first steps toward a revitalized Democratic youth movement in New York state. Now, we’ll continue that progress and work to build new chapters from the North Country to the South Shore. We stand united to elect Democratic leaders statewide and support the Democratic vision for our state and our nation.”

“We look forward to working with the new caucus leadership that provides voices for marginalized communities,” said Joseph Coe. “We are committed to working with our partners in government to help secure social justice and equality for all New Yorkers.”

State Legislators from New York and New Jersey to Join Young Democrats to Raise Money for 9/11 Widows


(HOBOKEN, NJ)– One week after the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, the New York State and New Jersey Young Democrats will jointly sponsor a softball game to raise money for the 9/11 Widows Foundation. Between 50 and 75 Young Democrats will be joined by New York Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski of Rockland County and Assemblyman Ruben Ramos of Hoboken at Mama Johnson’s Field on Sunday. Zebrowski and Ramos will throw out the ceremonial first pitches just before game time at 3PM. Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, one of New York’s youngest State Legislators stated, “On the 10th anniversary of 9/11 it is extremely important that we remember the victims and their families. It is also important that we renew the American spirit that encouraged so many citizens to give their time, energy and money to help the victims and our nation recover from that horrible day. I am proud to participate in this event which is just one small way people can get together and donate much needed resources to those that continue to suffer from the attack on our nation.” The Assemblyman is also slated to start at shortstop for the New York State Young Dems.

“As one of the closest communities to New York, the residents of Hoboken will always remember those that were lost on September 11, 2001,” stated Assemblyman Ruben Ramos. “Every year we get together to celebrate the strength that America displayed in the face of adversity and will always honor those that made the ultimate sacrifice that day. This softball game between the Young Democrats is a fun way to pay tribute to such a tragic day and I’m flattered to be a part of it.”

“10 years after September 11th, we all still have heavy hearts with the memories of those who were lost that day,” said Christopher Smith, one of the event’s organizers. “Everyone in New York or New Jersey knows someone that lost a loved one on 9/11. It’s important for us to pay tribute to their memories and stand side by side with them every year. The lives of so many children and young adults were forever changed that day and no one understands how important that is more than our friends here today,” Smith concluded.

Fahim Abedrabbo, another event organizer said, “We are thrilled to host this event in Hoboken this year and be a part of a special way to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11. In the wake of that horrific day, Americans stood together as a Country and not citizens of an individual state. Playing this softball game every year around this time is a great reminder that we must always continue to be united as Americans.”

All participants and spectators will make a $10 donation to the 9/11 Widows Foundation. Mama Johnson’s Field is located at the corner of 4th Street and Jackson Street in Hoboken. First pitch is scheduled for 3PM.