Making College Affordable in NYS

The imminent change in our national government raises the stakes for state and local action, making it more important than ever for regional leaders to protect and advance progressive public policy.

That’s why I am delighted by Governor Cuomo’s proposal, just announced this morning, to eliminate tuition costs at all SUNY and CUNY institutions for families making up to $125,000 (about 80% of New Yorkers.)

New York would be the first state in the nation with such a program – a great investment in human capital that will boost future economic growth, expand access to high education, and help cut down on student loan debt.

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MBKNR to WH in DC with POTUS

MBK LogoThe leaders of New Rochelle’s My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative have been invited to attend an MBK National Summit at the White House with President Obama.  New Rochelle will be represented by City Council Member Jared Rice and NRHS Principal Reggie Richardson.

Since accepting the MBK challenge last April, a wide-ranging partnership of local not-for-profits, educators, government officials, and volunteers has worked to expand opportunities for children and young adults, particularly boys of color.  Just take a look at these accomplishments and activities.  I am proud of what MBK New Ro has achieved so far, and gratified by the well-deserved national recognition.

There’s more about the White House event in this press release and visit the MBK New Ro website to learn about the program itself.

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Test Your Election Knowledge With These Trivia Questions

Image Credit: NY Times

Image Credit: NY Times

Now that the 2016 election is pretty much in the history books, here are few trivia questions to lighten the mood of an otherwise (to my mind) grim outcome.  Don’t cheat by looking up historical maps or records!  If you give up, here are the answers.

Question 1:  Which state now has the longest active streak of voting for the winner of the national electoral vote?

Question 2:  Which state now has the longest active streak of voting for the winner of the national popular vote?

Question 3:  Which state now has the longest active streak of voting within 5 percentage points of the national winning margin? (Explanation: Hillary Clinton has won the national popular vote by 1%, so states with anything between a 4% margin for Trump to a 6% margin for Clinton would make the cut in 2016.)

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Thank You, Veterans

Bill Moye, age 101, a great New Rochellean and a great American.

Bill Moye, age 102, a great New Rochellean and a great American.

My remarks at New Rochelle’s Veterans Day observance this morning were similar to those I have delivered in prior years, with one notable addition in the third paragraph below:

“Ours is the strongest nation on the face of the Earth and the greatest force for freedom and justice in the history of humankind. That is the gift of America’s veterans to all of us and to the entire world.

So let us repay this debt by lifting up every veteran who has earned a place of honor and security here in our own City of New Rochelle. Let us repay it by building a nation whose strength of arms is matched by equal strength of moral purpose and courage.

And this year, especially, when our country has seemed so deeply divided, let us repay it by remembering that veterans did not serve under a blue flag or a red flag, they served under the flag of the United States of the America.”

Thank you to all veterans for your service to country.

 

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Democracy(?)

democracyHillary Clinton now leads Donald Trump in the popular vote by about 250,000.  When all the ballots are  eventually counted, mainly from California, her lead in the vote tally is likely to swell to more than a million.

So, to summarize . . .

Americans voted for Hillary Clinton.   They will get President Trump.  Furthermore, they will get a Trump-compliant GOP Congress, followed by a Trump-appointed Supreme Court.

The rules of the electoral college are what they are.  Nobody rigged them (unless you count the founders) to engineer a particular outcome, and they were fairly applied this year under the terms of the law and the Constitution.  Hillary Clinton was right to offer a gracious concession, and we should all take her lead.  But the fact remains that people expressed a clear preference for one thing and are going to receive precisely the opposite.

In a democracy, this kind of enormous and profoundly consequential disconnect between the will of the people and the exercise of power is not a small, technical problem.

Just saying.

 

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Advice to My Sons: Love America, Especially Now

Perhaps it is self-absorbed to focus on personal concerns in the  midst of the most cataclysmic political event of our lives, but, for me, the hardest task last night was providing comfort to my sons, Jeremy and Owen, who were badly shaken by the election and struggling to understand its meaning.

As we watched one state after another tilt to Trump, I tried to adopt a tone of soothing, fatherly confidence, but, in truth, I was just as shaken as they were.  Still am.  And maybe my words were meant as much for me as for them – a plea for inner strength in the days ahead.  Here, roughly, is what I said:

It is okay to be deeply upset about what has happened, because many lives will be made more difficult by this result and the future of many things is uncertain.  It is okay to feel sadness for the candidate you supported, who worked so hard to win and who represented so much.  Be proud that we care enough to cry.

But it is not okay to be frightened.  It is not okay to lose faith in your beliefs.  And it is not okay to give up on your country.  This is when the things we value become more important, because if our government and leaders are unable to act with decency and kindness, then we have a greater responsibility to be decent and kind ourselves.

This is when we must love America.  Now.  Even when – especially when – that love is hard to give.

And remember that things in politics are never as good or as bad as they seem; there is always a next chapter to be written.

Read this also on the Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/noam-bramson/advice-to-my-sons-love-am_b_12879816.html

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