Presidential candidates were not the only individuals on the ballot for Local 802 members on April 19. Though Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich deservedly received the bulk of the attention, many members on Long Island, on Staten Island, in Brooklyn and in Lower Manhattan were also voting for candidates in special elections for seats that were unexpectedly made vacant over the last year (*cough* Dean Skelos *cough* Sheldon Silver*)…
Among these races, the Local 802 Political Subcommittee and I identified the New York State Senate election in Long Beach (Senate District 9) as being of particular interest, with serious implications for our efforts in Albany to support the music industry and musicians throughout the state and city. As part of these efforts, we have been – alongside industry stakeholders – working hard with our elected partners to further a music tax credit that would better support musicians and recording studio operators by making current legislation more relevant for the unique needs of our industry. Though we made great progress on the tax credit legislation in 2015, much remains to be done. We must capitalize on the progress we made by capitalizing on our momentum in Albany and get tax credit legislation introduced in the state senate.
Because of the importance of efforts like these in Albany, and following conversations between Mr. Kaminsky and President Tino Gagliardi, Recording Vice President Andy Schwartz, Executive Board Member Clint Sharman, Assistant to the President Lynne Bond and myself, the Executive Board voted to formally support Democrat Todd Kaminsky for state senate.
Decisions to endorse a candidate must be made strategically in order to preserve the strength and efficiency of our political resources and capital. Determining which races Local 802 should become involved in is certainly more an art than a science, but with the help of my colleagues at the Central Labor Council and the New York State AFL-CIO, as well as advice and support from our sister-union colleagues and input from our union members, we can determine what matters most, which elections we should pay attention to, and how we can best strengthen the support for the arts in our communities and the halls of government.
After stressing the importance of ensuring that legislation in Albany accurately reflect the unique needs of musicians and the arts community in our conversations with Mr. Kaminsky, and given his stated commitment to supporting the arts and his track record representing the 20th Assembly District, we became convinced that Mr. Kaminsky was not only the best candidate for the job – understanding the needs of the labor community and workers in every industry – but that he will be an active, energetic and effective supporter of the arts in Albany.
The decision to endorse a candidate is never taken lightly. However, we are thrilled to have supported Mr. Kaminsky and look forward to working closely in the future.
As Allegro went to press, Mr. Kaminsky had won 50 percent of the vote, but a winner had yet to be formally declared. His Republican opponent Christopher McGrath had won 48.9 percent of the vote, and Green party candidate Laurence Hirsch had won 1.1 percent of the vote. These were preliminary results, pending absentee ballot count, and are subject to change. Full results for all races will be posted at www.elections.ny.gov.
The Local 802 Political Subcommittee was created in February 2016 by President Gagliardi and the Local 802 Executive Board. Composed of board members Martha Hyde, Bob Suttman, Patricia Dougherty, Bob Cranshaw and Christopher Carroll, the subcommittee is charged with discussing and identifying political issues, policies, campaigns and topics that impact our members and musicians across New York State and New York City.