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Hempstead NY, Oct. 5, 2018. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) speaks at podium at start of Town Hall Meeting at Hofstra University, Long Island.

Gillibrand Town Hall at Hofstra: YES to Affordable Health Care, Good Education, Diversity, Protests & Hope

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry (ann-parry.com)
October 6, 2018

Hempstead NY, USA, Oct. 5, 2018. Sen. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND poses with, L-R, MARIA TERESA ROMERO, ELSA FORD, and MILLIE MOTA, members of Brentwood Bay Shore Breast Cancer Coalition, at end of Town Hall at Hofstra University. (Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Hempstead, NY, USA. Oct. 5, 2018. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), 2nd from right, poses with, L-R, Maria Teresa Romero, Elsa Ford, and Millie Mota, members of Brentwood Bay Shore Breast Cancer Coalition, at end of Town Hall at Hofstra. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Town Hall at Hofstra University last night, Oct. 5th, landed at the start of the Columbus Day holiday weekend. But midterm elections were only 31 days away, and the Student Center Theater was packed.

After Dean Meena Bose, the moderator, introduced Gillibrand, the senator spoke to the largely supportive audience.

Anyone who wanted to ask Senator Gillibrand a question had taken a red raffle ticket, and put half of it in a glass bowl before the Town Hall began. Tickets were drawn at random for the Q&A. 

Judge Kavanaugh

Not surprisingly, an early question was about the highly controversial Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh – which the Senate was voting on the next day.  

  • VIDEO – Judge Kavanaugh:

Gillibrand said she planned to vote against his confirmation because she thinks he’d put Roe VS Wade in danger, and “Judge Kavanaugh, he doesn’t value women, does not respect women, or listen to them.” 

Young Voters:

To a politically active but frustrated young voter, Gillibrand stressed the importance of being heard, voting, fighting for our country and values, and not giving up hope.

Excerpts from Gillibrand’s response:

“Don’t lose hope. Truth is, our Democracy never works unless regular people stand up and demand action….

“And, if we can really be heard and talk about our values and our priorities and how disappointing it is to have someone like Brett Kavanaugh serve on the Supreme Court, if we articulate that by voting, and organizing our communities, and even running if you think we must –

” – You’re gonna transform government, you’re gonna flip the house, and you’re gonna flip the senate, and that will create enormous oversight and accountability over the Trump administration, and give us a chance of unwinding some of the horrible things this president has already done, so do not lose hope.

“And most successful movements in this country have been student lead movements. So when young people care deeply, their parents care deeply, and so do their communities.

Opioid Crisis:

When a Hofstra alumnus asked what actual approaches were going to be taken to effectively deal with the opioid crisis, Senator Gillibrand said, “Children are dying all across this country,” and discussed how more, and more effective, Prevention, Intervention and Response were needed.

Trump 2020:
An audience member asked, “For those of use who are on the ground, and are working hard everyday, and are gonna keep on working, what can we do so we can make sure we don’t end up with another Trump or somebody worse in 2020, outside from asking people like you to run in 2020, in all sincerity?”

Excerpts from Gillibrand’s response:

“I believe we will win, in both ’18 and ’20 because I think America believes in a set of values that President Trump doesn’t believe in…. We believe in the Golden Rule…. Making sure everyone has a chance at the American Dream.

“So whether you believe that health care is a right, not a privilege – clean water is a right – every kid should have access to a good education – that people shouldn’t be with laden with debt after college – that people should have the training to get a good job to earn their way to middle class, those four values will be on the ballot 2020.

“Those are American values I believe New Yorkers and people across the county will vote for, and that will be very different leadership than today.”

Immigration:

The last question was a long, multi-part one about immigration, and the audience softly booed when the questioner said the parents of Dreamers should never get citizenship.

When Senator Gillibrand’s response started with “I disagree,” the audience cheered. She then added, “That was a heartfelt question, so let me tell you why I disagree,” and responded energetically. [Video starts during audience member’s question]

  • VIDEO – Immigration:

Gillibrand concluded with a rousing message about diversity:

“Fundamentally, do not be afraid of people who need our help. We are rich. We are powerful. We can create a growing economy.

“And the things that create a growing economy is diversity – is ingenuity – is entrepreneurism – is innovation, and that comes from the beautiful panoply of America.”

Q&A topics also included:

  • Support of Senate bills protecting wildlife whose numbers are dangerously low.
  • Support of Peace legislation: Senate Bill S.2047, Preventing Preemptive War with North Korea Act of 2017, which has 13 out of 100 senators currently backing it.
  • Fighting hunger, including through food stamps – whose main recipients are children, seniors, and veterans – and through non-profit programs such as Island Harvest – Long Island’s largest hunger relief organization – which, as Gillibrand explained, “marshals food and supplies from people who have offered it to those who need it most.”

The audience applauded enthusiastically at the end of the Q&A.

Gillibrand promised to stay as long as it took for everyone who wanted a selfie with her to get one. (Well, they were sort-of selfies, since an aide took them, using audience members’ cell phones.)

The line for photos stretched from the stage to halfway across the back of the theater. 


Gillibrand Town Hall, Hofstra: SLIDESHOW | GALLERY

VIDEO PLAYLIST: Kavanaugh, Opioids, Trump, Immigration

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[Photo Composite Illustration] Massapequa, New York, USA. August 5, 2018. L-R, LIUBA GRECHEN SHIRLEY, Democrat running for Congress for New York 2nd District, and Governor ANDREW CUOMO, at campaign event after Cuomo endorsed Grechen Shirley.

Gov. Cuomo Endorses Liuba Grechen Shirley for Congress

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry (ann-parry.com)
August 9, 2018

Massapequa, NY USA. August 5, 2018. L-R, Gov. Andrew Cuomo endorses candidates, as Laura Curran, Nassau County Executive; NY Sen. John Brooks; and Liuba Grechen Shirley, Congressional candidate for NY 2nd District; and supporters listen at joint campaign office opening. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Massapequa, NY USA. Aug. 5, 2018. L-R, Gov. Andrew Cuomo endorses Liuba Grechen Shirley for Congress, as Laura Curran, Nassau County Exec.; NY Sen. John Brooks; Grechen Shirley & supporters listen at campaign office opening. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Making a surprise appearance, Governor Cuomo endorsed Liuba Grechen Shirley, the Democratic candidate for Congress in the 2nd District, during her Joint Campaign Office Opening with NY Senator John Brooks on Sunday, August 5th. 

Grechen Shirley, a community organizer and activist, business and non-profit leader, and mother of two toddlers, is the first female candidate to get FEC permission to use campaign funds for childcare.

Massapequa, NY, USA. August 5, 2018. L-R, Democrats Laura Gillen, Hempstead Town Supervisor; Liuba Grechen Shirley, Congressional candidate for NY 2nd District; and Laura Curran, Nassau County Executive, chat at campaign event. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Massapequa, NY, USA. August 5, 2018. L-R, Democrats Laura Gillen, Hempstead Town Supervisor; Liuba Grechen Shirley, Congressional candidate for NY 2nd District; and Laura Curran, Nassau County Executive, chat at campaign event. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Despite it being a muggy, 91°f summer day, more supporters attended the campaign event than could fit in the office during speeches by the governor, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Liuba Grechen Shirley, and Sen. Brooks.

Massapequa, NY, USA. August 5, 2018. Supporter writes in Volunteer Sign-In sheet, during joint campaign office opening for Liuba Grechen Shirley, Congressional candidate for NY 2nd District, and NY Sen. John Brooks. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Massapequa, NY, USA. Aug. 5, 2018. Supporter writes in Volunteer Sign-In sheet, during campaign office opening for Liuba Grechen Shirley, Congressional candidate for 2nd District; & NY Sen. John Brooks. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

SPEECHES

  • VIDEO:  Speeches by Gov. Cuomo, Liuba Grechen Shirley, & Sen. John Brooks:

The series of four speeches started and ended with a joke about the sweltering weather.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran went to the podium in the packed office, and the crowd laughed when she smiled and said clothes wouldn’t be coming off despite the heat.

When the County Executive endorsed Liuba Grechen Shirley, the reasons Curran gave to vote for her, and other Democrats, included how Republicans are anti-New York State – by passing the tax reform provision removing state and local tax deductions – and are anti-gun control, pro NRA.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Curran introduced Governor Andrew Cuomo, an unannounced special guest.

The governor seconded the importance of getting reasonable gun controls, despite NRA’s influence.

Cuomo said how Republicans have a different fundamental view of America as a nation, including being anti-immigrant and abandoning Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. He added how New York sued the federal government for family separation.

“And Laura Curran’s point is very important. They [Republican Congress members] are anti New York State, what they did in their tax reform last year. They passed a provision that removed the deductibility of state & local taxes….

Why? Because they want to hurt New York. This federal provision raises property taxes by 30% like that, overnight. We have to get Washington to reverse it…. 

“I am tired of the Republican Congress people from New York saying — when I said, ‘Why would you pass a bill that hurts your own people?’ That’s what the SALT bill did. It hurt this state. It hurt their constituents ‘Why would you do it?’ — they say, ‘Well, we’re powerless. We’re powerless.’ 

You know what?  That’s baloney. They have been enablers for this president….

“And I’ll tell you how we stop Congress from doing bad acts to New York. We elect Democratic Congress people who will stand up and protect New York.

“We elect Liuba Grechen Shirley. We let Liuba tell them the truth, and stand up for women’s rights, and immigrant rights, and for gun safety, and for New Yorkers….

“We let Liuba stand up in Washington and explain how Progressive policies made this state the greatest state in the United States of America….

“We elect Liuba, and then we elect John Brooks, and Lou D’Amaro, and Monica Martinez, and Jim Gaughran, and we take over the State Senate.”

Massapequa, NY, USA. August 5, 2018. Liuba Grechen Shirley, Congressional candidate for NY 2nd District, gives speech at podium after Gov. Cuomo endorses her. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Liuba Grechen Shirley

Liuba Grechen Shirley, a first-time candidate, thanked Cuomo for endorsing her and for New York having the strongest Paid Family Leave policy in America, and said she was excited at the prospect of working with him, Lou D’Amaro, and Sen. John Brooks.

“…It’s critical we take back the [NY] Senate, and flip the House. What is so exciting about our campaign is that it’s completely grass roots, We out raised Peter King this quarter, and we did it without any corporate PAC money….” 

“This seat has been held for 25 years by a Republican, by Peter King, who refuses to even meet with his constituents. He actually told me that holding a Town Meeting would diminish democracy….

“He does not represent the values of our district, and we need a representative who will actually listen to everyone in this district. Who will fight in Washington to make sure that we actually have a government is taking care of working families in this district, not their corporate donors….

“We’ve got a lot of work to do. This is about values. Who is going to stand up for our values.”

Massapequa, NY, USA. Aug. 5, 2018. NY Senator JOHN BROOKS (D-Seaford) speaks during open joint campaign office for him and Liuba Grechen Shirley. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)

Massapequa, NY, USA. Aug. 5, 2018. NY Senator John Brooks (D-Seaford) gives speech at podium during open joint campaign office for him and Liuba Grechen Shirley. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann Parry, Ann-Parry.com)

Sen. John Brooks

Senator Brooks first thanked Governor Cuomo for the outstanding job he is doing in Albany.

“…Our governor was the one that  stood up first and recognized what the federal tax changes would do to New York State…. [SALT Bill]  an 18-billion-dollar tax increase for New Yorkers….

“We hear the president say he wants to make America great again… All we have to do is act like Americans…..

“Lou and I are going to go to the Senate to stand up for Long Island and deliver the products and services that we need in terms of good government….

“Thanks everybody for being here, and remember it’s supposed to snow later this afternoon.”

Loyal-Tees

Several Long Islanders well below voting age came with their parents, including three sisters and their brother wearing red, white and blue campaign shirts with “Joanne Curran Perrucci – for Court Judge / 4th District” on the front, and “Vote For My Mom!” on the back. 

Massapequa, NY, USA. August 5, 2018. L-R,  Joanne Curran Perrucci, candidate for Court Judge 4th District; and Laura Curran, Nassau County Executive; smile at Perrucci's four young children wearing campaign shirts, at opening of fellow Democrats' campaign office. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

Massapequa, NY, USA. August 5, 2018. L-R,  Joanne Curran Perrucci, candidate for Court Judge 4th District; and Laura Curran, Nassau County Executive; smile at Perrucci’s  four children wearing campaign shirts, at fellow Democrats’ campaign event. (© 2018 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)

At the end of the event, the four siblings helped send-off Governor Cuomo.

[DISCLOSUREPhotography I’ve done for Grechen Shirley has appeared elsewhere, but nowhere on this blog.]

Grechen Shirley & Sen. Brooks Campaign Office Opening:  SLIDESHOW | GALLERY 

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