Sunday, New Year’s Eve, I turned off the TV and headed to bed soon after watching the ball drop in Times Square. But this unusually low-key start to 2018 was necessary, for by lunchtime the next day, I’d covered the Inaugurations of three Democrats – LAURA CURRAN, LAURA GILLEN, and SYLVIA CABANA – replacing three GOP office holders here in Nassau County.
Though it was New Year’s Day morning, close to a packed house at Hofstra University’s Adams Playhouse watched New York Lt. Governor KATHY HOCHUL and Congresswoman KATHLEEN RICE swear-in Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen and Hon. MICHAELLE SOLAGES swear-in Hempstead Town Clerk Sylvia Cabana.
Hempstead, New York, USA. Jan. 1, 2018. NYS Lt. Governor KATHY HOCHUL (in green dress) and Congresswoman KATHLEEN RICE (seen partly behind podium) swear-in LAURA GILLEN (center) as Hempstead Town Supervisor, at Hofstra University. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)
U.S. Senator CHUCK SCHUMER was a speaker at both the Town of Hempstead and County County Inaugural ceremonies.
About an hour after that, and even though it was a bone-chilling 14 ℉ / -10 ℃, a thick arc of bundled-up onlookers stood thisclose together in front of the Theodore Roosevelt Legislative & Executive Building to witness Gov. ANDREW CUOMO administer the Oath of Office to Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.
It was a doubly historic day for Long Island. Before Laura Gillen took office, Town of Hempstead hadn’t had a Democratic Supervisor in over a century; plus, Laura Curran is the very first female Nassau County Executive.
Town of Hempstead/Nassau County Inaugurations: VIDEO
Last Sunday, when I entered Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Church in Wyandanch and saw the stage had a huge banner above it with the message “to believe – to belong – to be compassionate,” it struck me as a fitting place for the Together We Will Long Island (TWWLI) group to hold their Politics 101 Activists Training workshop.
Click “i” under SLIDESHOW for info about each image:
And more to the point, this location that Suffolk County Legislator DeWayne Gregory helped secure for the event checked three crucial boxes: it safely accommodated at least 70 people (in fact, it could fit hundreds); it was reasonable for members coming from Nassau and Suffolk Counties; and it was free.
TWW, which began in late 2016 and is run by volunteers, has four Core Values: to have Strategic Impact, Respect, Solidarity, and to Cultivate Action.
TWWLI, which began in January 2017, has been focusing mainly on making its concerns clear about Trump’s Cabinet appointees, Executive Orders, and ACA repeal & replace to Long Island’s federal elected officials: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Chuck Schumer, Rep. Lee Zeldin, Rep. Pete King, Rep Tom Suozzi, and Rep. Kathleen Rice. (Their official online contact info is at end of this post.)
The group’s approaches include organizing protests; sending messages; participating in Town Halls of reps who hold them; and visiting the Long Island offices, if access permitted.
After the five presentations, audience members asked questions to the speakers and TWWLI admins. Based partly on the questions, it seemed some audience members had already been involved for months with TWWLI events and facebook discussions, and others were newcomers.
During Q & A, the speakers stressed the importance of focusing not only on national politics, but also having a strong presence in local politics – from school boards and library boards, to town councils, legislators on up.
What’s the Message
When one of the speakers said how important it was to make the network’s message heard, an audience member asked, “What’s our message?”
Here are excerpts from Jay Jacobs’ answer:
Local message: It’s going to be about cleaning up our government, and putting back into place people who will run government for the purpose of delivering efficient services the best way they can, instead of taking care of the chosen few, their family and their friends….
Nation-wide basis: [We have] always fought for average citizens, fought for those who couldn’t fight for themselves…. [introducing] social security, unemployment compensation, disability insurance… Medicaid, Medicare… Obamacare.
We have to be about making government more responsive to the needs of people, less responsive to special interests and a lot of money from corporate interests…. It’s going to be about going back to our roots….
Contact Info – L.I.’s National Reps
Contact Info for U.S. Senators and Congress members who serve Long Island, NY, constituents: