Friday, January 29, 2010

PR Party Hosts "Serious Reform or Just More Shadows? A 'Civil Conversation' on Constitutional Convention," Feb. 2, 7pm, New Paltz Community Center


Contact: Pete Healey - 845-399-3288 -
Brittany Turner - 916-384-6735 -

Proportional Representation Party Convenes "Civil Conversation"

NEW PALTZ - On Tuesday, February 2, the Proportional Representation Party is sponsoring Serious Reform or Just More Shadows?: A "Civil Conversation" About Constitutional Convention. According to PR Party Founder and former Village of New Paltz Trustee Pete Healey, "Our Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State Comptroller and one of our US Senators were not elected to those positions by voters in NYS. There are serious constitutional issues surrounding these appointed, rather than elected, officials. The legislature elected this November will decide on the districts for all state legislators and our congressional delegation for the next 10 years. This legislature ought not be entrusted with that responsibility without a serious reconsideration of our dysfunctional constitution."

NYS Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R-129th) will be joining Healey to discuss his recently introduced legislation that would, if approved, allow for a statewide referendum on a Constitutional Convention this November, instead of 2017 as currently permitted. The legislation would also prohibit sitting members of the state legislature from serving as delegates to the convention. "There is a growing feeling among New Yorkers that their state government has stopped working for them - that it's grown too costly, unresponsive and disconnected from the lives of those it was supposed to serve. It is time New Yorkers took their state government back - it begins by convening a People's Convention, which is the first step toward restoring accountability," said Kolb. Healey concurred, noting "People rightly fear that the Constitutional Convention could become an insider's game, as is the state legislature. A convention comprised of real people, not legislative groundhogs, is the only way to discuss meaningful reforms."

Also expected to attend are Assemblymember Richard Brodsky (D-92nd) and a representative of Gerald Benjamin, Director of the Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach (CRREO). Both have been at the forefront of discussions surrounding the potential Constitutional Convention. "Civil conversation" was coined by Brodsky, who has been one of the few Democrats to discuss the possibility of a Constitutional Convention, advocating a slow and tempered approach. Benjamin has voiced pro-Convention sentiments in the Wall Street Journal and Albany Times Union through a series of editorials co-authored with former NYS Governor Mario Cuomo. They will be joined by elected officials, community leaders, activists and residents from across the Mid-Hudson Valley.

The Press Conference will be held from 7:00pm until 7:30pm at the New Paltz Community Center, 1 Veterans Drive, New Paltz. The moderated discussion about the rationale for and impact of a Constitutional Convention will follow, from 7:30pm until 9:00pm.

The PR Party was founded in 2007 to deal with a number of concerns surrounding the structure and functions of NY's local and state government. Initiating the process for a Constitutional Convention is one of its chief priorities in 2010. Additional information is available at the PR Party website,