We Will Never Forget

9/11 anniversary, migrant mitigation, election analysis, and more

FDNY adds 43 new names of those lost to 9/11 related illnesses to the World Trade Center memorial wall.

Good morning from New York City where we remember those who tragically lost their lives 22 years ago on 9/11. You can find information on commemorative events and tributes happening today throughout New York here.

Addressing the influx of migrants continues to be the biggest issue for both state and local leaders. Governor Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams pushed back on the notion that they are at odds by appearing at a joint press conference last week. Speaking to the Governor, Adams said, “You remind me of Sandra, my favorite sister. Even when we have a philosophical disagreement, I have her back. And I have your back.” Governor Hochul was equally laudatory of Adams offering, “Partnerships are important, but also individual leadership, and I want to commend you for what you’ve done for our beloved city. So thank you mayor.” The two leaders stayed away from the “right-to-shelter” question or other specifics, but agreed that something needs to be done.

Governor Hochul indicated she has not ruled out calling lawmakers back to Albany for a Special Session to come up with a legislative fix saying, “Certainly, I'm entertaining all our options right now.” In lieu of some answers that have broad support in the Legislature, that remains very unlikely. Hochul and Adams both agree that any substantive solution to the influx of migrants, roughly 10,000 a month in New York City, needs to come from the federal government. Hochul had another call with White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients last week and said she is in touch with Biden Administration officials “daily.” Hochul has also called on House Republicans to use their majority to provide relief to New York saying, “They're the ones shutting it down, so they don't come in this with clean hands. They should get back to session and do their jobs as well.”

“They're [House Republicans] the ones shutting it down, so they don't come in this with clean hands. They should get back to session and do their jobs as well.”

Governor Kathy Hochul

Assembly Member Jenifer Rajkumar, a close ally of Mayor Adams, has proposed legislation to force the Governor’s hand. The first measure would prevent counties from barring migrants and would override any local emergency orders that restrict where asylum-seekers can be placed. The other proposal would create a statewide migrant coordinator to oversee all migrant arrivals and resettlement, with the coordinator being jointly appointed by Hochul and Adams. Two Upstate lawmakers, Senator James Tedisco, a Republican from Schenectady, and Assembly Member Marianne Buttenschon, a Democrat from Utica, announced a bipartisan bill to address the migrant issue. “[The] Migrant Home Rule Transfer Transparency Act” would prevent migrants from being sent to Upstate communities unless given explicit sign-off by the municipality.

[The] Migrant Home Rule Transfer Transparency Act” would prevent migrants from being sent to Upstate communities unless given explicit sign-off by the municipality.

Those bills would need to be advanced in a Special Session however, there are hundreds of bills from the recent legislative session are waiting on action from Hochul. As of Friday, there were 421 bills that have passed both Houses which have yet to be advanced to the Governor. Once a bill is formally delivered to the Governor, usually after some negotiating between the Legislature and the Executive Chamber, she has 10 days (excluding Sundays) to sign or veto the legislation. On Thursday, the Legislature sent over 100 bills to the Governor which must be signed or vetoed by 5 p.m. on Tuesday 9/19. The majority of those bills deal with local legislation, but some proposals of note include increasing fines for telemarketers, establishing the Lunar New Year as a school holiday, and corrections to the state’s cannabis laws.

Candidates in New York are in the thick of the post-Labor Day campaign season for municipal and local elected offices. Democrats and Republicans will be eagerly watching the results of a number of those races as predictors for 2024. One of those bellwether races is the contest for Suffolk County Executive where Democrat and former prosecutor Dave Calone and Republican and Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine are running for the seat being vacated by current Democratic County Executive Steve Bellone. A Republican win there would be bad news for Democrats heading in 2024 and their hopes of flipping back the 5 House seats that were lost in 2022.

NY-03: Lean Democrat 

The Queens and Nassau County-based district currently represented by Rep. George Santos is widely seen as Democrats’ easiest seat to flip. GOP leadership in the House has indicated they will not support Santos’ reelection campaign though they have yet to coalesce around an alternate candidate. On the Democratic side, former State Senator Anna Kaplan (Listen here as she joins our Alec Lewis ‘From the Lobby with Jack O’Donnell.’) has previously represented large swaths of the Congressional District during her time in Albany and is currently the front-runner to face the eventual GOP candidate in 2024. Former Congressman Tom Suozzi is also eyeing a come back here.

NY-04: Toss Up Republican 

Also on Long Island, the seat is currently held by freshman Rep. Anthony D’Esposito who, unlike Santos, has the support of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee which is tasked with defending incumbents. Sarah Hughes, a Long Island resident who won a gold medal in figure skating at the 2002 Olympics, has filed to run in the Democratic primary. Laura Gillen, who lost in the general election in 2022, is also running in the primary for a chance at a rematch with D’Esposito.

NY-17: Toss Up Republican 

In Rockland and Putnam counties, Democrats are hoping former Rep. Mondaire Jones can mount a political comeback to defeat incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Lawler. Jones is also facing Liz Gereghty, the sister of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, in the Democratic primary. Jones previously represented NY-17 but the redistricting shuffle in 2022 led to Sean Patrick Maloney running for the seat and Jones running in NY-10. He would end up losing that primary against Rep. Dan Goldman and Maloney lost in the general election to Rep. Lawler.

NY-19: Toss Up Republican 

Similar to NY-04, the Hudson Valley seat could be headed for a rematch of the 2022 election as Democrat Josh Riley is again challenging Rep. Marc Molinaro. The race in 2022 was one of the closest in the Country, with under 5,000 votes separating the two candidates, and Democrats are hoping the lessons from that race will help them get over the finish line with the same candidate in 2024.

NY-22: Toss Up Republican  

In Syracuse, local Democrats successfully recruited state Senator John Mannion to run against Rep. Brandon Williams. Mannion has crafted a more moderate record during his time in Albany which could be beneficial in a district that extends east from Syracuse to Utica. Sarah Klee Hood, the DeWitt Councilor and Air Force Veteran, is also running again in the Democratic primary after finishing 2nd in 2022.

Where the candidates run may end up being more important than the candidates themselves. The New York State Court of Appeals, the State’s highest court, is set to hear arguments on the Congressional redistricting case on November 15th. Democrats are hoping the Court will uphold an Appellate Court decision that ordered New York’s Congressional maps to be redrawn by the State’s Independent Redistricting Commission. Republicans are seeking to keep the current map, drawn by a Court-appointed special master in 2022, in place for 2024. If the Court upholds the decision, the maps drawn by the IRC would almost certainly be more favorable to Democrats than the current districts.

The impact of where candidates run has become an issue across the Country, including in Alabama where a panel of three federal judges struck down the State’s proposed congressional map for failing to enact changes ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court. Earlier this year, Alabama’s original map was thrown out for diluting the voting power of traditionally Black neighborhoods and according to the three-judge panel, the new map did not address the discrepancy. Now, the court has ordered a special master to develop three alternate maps for the court to choose from following a period of public comment.

In Washington, D.C., the House of Representatives is back in session this week. Lawmakers have just under 20 calendar days and 11 days with both Houses in session to reach a deal to fund the government before the September 30th deadline.

Senate Democrats are trying to kickstart the process with leadership expected to package the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs (MilCon-VA), Agriculture, and State and Foreign Operations spending measures and bring the package to the floor for a vote. The Senate has been able to pass less controversial FY 2024 spending bills on a bipartisan basis and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer indicated he was confident this package would pass as well. A MilCon-VA bill has already passed in the House but that version contains anti-abortion and other amendments from the far-right that will not advance in the Senate. The amount of daylight between the House and Senate on a relatively noncontroversial bill like MilCon-VA does not bode well for negotiations on an overall government spending bill. House Republicans have reportedly been working on a stopgap funding bill to buy more time in negotiations though some GOP hardliners in the House have threatened to block that measure and fully shut down the government if their spending cuts are not enacted.

Senator Mitch McConnell released a letter from the Capitol’s attending physician seeking to assuage concerns about the Senator’s health after a series of public episodes where McConnell froze and was unable to speak. Dr. Brian Monahan wrote, “There is no evidence that you have a seizure disorder or that you experienced a stroke, TIA or movement disorder such as Parkinson’s disease.” Senator McConnell is not up for reelection until 2026 and the Minority Leader reiterated to reporters this week that he intends to serve the remainder of his term.

The Biden campaign unveiled a major TV ad that ran during Thursday’s NFL season opener. The 30-second ad titled “Got to Work” ran in swing states such as Michigan, Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Nevada. Focusing on the President’s economic record since taking office, the ad states, “They said, 'millions would lose their jobs,' and the economy would collapse, but this president refused to let that happen.” The challenge for the Biden campaign, and what this ad is seeking to address, is the disconnect between how voters view the economy versus the actual reality on the ground. As the ad highlights, inflation is down to 3% and unemployment is “the lowest in decades” yet a new poll shows that a majority of all voters disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy.

Finally, for those of us who care about the Upstate/Downstate divide, good to know we are not alone.

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As campaign season shifts into high gear, listen as notable elected officials and political candidates across New York share their tales from the campaign trail.

What lessons did they learn and what does it take to win?

Do you think the federal government should do more to help New York City/State with its migrant crisis?

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Results of Last Week’s Poll

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Client News

University at Buffalo

SUNY Chancellor at UB to Highlight Benefits of AI

SUNY Chancellor John King visited OD&A client, University at Buffalo, to experience and spotlight the groundbreaking AI research taking place at the SUNY flagship school and celebrate UB's progress toward becoming a top public research university. [Read more.]

On the Horizon: After Longtime CEO’s Retirement, What’s Next for One of WNY’s Largest Behavioral Health Providers?

For the first time in nearly four decades, Anne Constantino is no longer at Horizon Corporations, retiring in June after 37 years with the organization.

Now, in steps two longtime executives to succeed her: Erin DiGirolamo as CEO and Brandy Vandermark-Murray as president. Both have been with OD&A client, Horizon since 2006 and bring, the nonprofit’s board believes, complementary skill sets to guide the organization with more than 800 employees and $70 million in annual revenue into the future. Yet, the duo takes the helm at a challenging time in a difficult industry. [Read more.]

New to the NYS Legislature

State Senator Jessica Scarcella-Spanton was elected in November of 2022 to represent the Senate’s 23rd District which encompasses most of the North Shore of Staten Island, alongside parts of some southern Brooklyn neighborhoods.

State Senator Scarcella-Spanton began her government career as an intern with the NYS Assembly, and by 2017, was working for Senator Diane Savino as her Director of Operations. Some of her major accomplishments took place during the COVID epidemic when she helped more than one thousand families across Staten Island and Brooklyn receive their vaccines. She also fought successfully to get an Executive Order enacted requiring hospitals to allow women in labor a support person when hospitals prevented this during the COVID outbreak.

State Senator Scarcella -Spanton’s husband served in the United States Army, and they now reside in West Brighton, Staten Island with their two children.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the College of Staten Island.

OD&A in the Community

Buffalo Zoo President/CEO Lisa Smith and OD&A’s Camille Brandon

OD&A proud to join our client, The Buffalo Zoo at “RendeZoo”, an event that celebrates the finale of the Zoomagination Festival of Lanterns and Lights. It’s a beautiful affair to raise money for the zoo and its programs.


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