A question on this year’s ballot will allow NY voters to determine whether a Constitutional Convention will be held according to the procedure provided by the State Constitution.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Three south Queens elected officials have voiced their disapproval of organizing a Constitutional Convention in New York.
City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) was the latest to oppose the proposal, indicating in a statement released on Tuesday that, though he initially supported a convention in the Empire State, after hearing from many residents of Council District 32, he “cannot, in good conscience, go against the views of my constituents on such an important matter. I have always supported collective bargaining rights and have fought very hard to protect public pensions under two administrations (Bloomberg and de Blasio). I won’t allow the ConCon question to tarnish that record.”
According to the State Board of Elections, the State Constitution requires that every 20 years the people decide if a Constitutional Convention should be held to consider amendments to the document. The purpose of the ballot question – “Shall there be a convention to revise the Constitution and amend the same?” – is to allow state voters to determine whether a Constitutional Convention will be held according to the procedure provided by the State Constitution.
State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) has said that he will vote No in response to the ConCon ballot question. And last week, Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Howard Beach) also gave it the thumbs-down.
“The working men and women of New York State, represented by labor unions and activists, have been crystal-clear: a Constitutional Convention would leave crucial worker protections vulnerable. The NYS Constitution, while not a perfect document by any means, gives collective bargaining and other labor rights a permanent seat at the table, which is not something any of us can afford to lose,” she said. “There are major reforms that can – and should – be achieved in New York State legislatively. I’m proud to champion ethics and transparency in Albany as part of the Assembly Majority. But I am, and will remain, opposed to a Constitutional Convention in New York State.”
Ulrich said that he will vote No on Nov. 7, but remains convinced that New York “desperately needs campaign finance and ethics reform along with many other badly needed changes to the way government should function.
“I will still fight the good fight with my friends and foes in Albany to enact the reforms that I truly believe in and I only hope that those who agree with me will help me fight this uphill battle,” he addedd. “Take it from me, the system is broken. There has to be a better way to fix it.”