I expect that most of the stops in the “Meet Martha Robertson Tour” around the New York 23rd Congressional District last week was similar to the stop in Penn Yan. She was introduced by her Campaign Chair, Nate Shinagawa, who explained that Martha’s campaign was going to start where his last one end five months ago. Everything that the Shinagawa campaign built–donor and emails lists, the relationships, the knowledge of the district, and the enthusiasm that gave Shinagawa 48% of the vote is going to continue with Martha Robertson at the helm.
She was in Penn Yan Friday afternoon, the second day of the 13-stop the tour. She still had three stops before she had her last event in Ithaca. I learn about Martha’s background–how she grew up living next door to her father’s nursery, experiencing the love of nature, learning the difficulties of running a small business, and the satisfaction of working hard. Her mother’s sense of giving of one’s self was inherited early by Martha.
We were told about how/why she got into government. In 2000 Tompkins County was looking into building a new road around the city to a mall. Martha realized that would hurt the local downtown businesses, and organized a group of concerned citizens to become involved. They researched the facts and cost, and questioned the legislature about the project. The bottom line is the county didn’t build the road. After that, the Martha was urged to run for the Legislature. She was hesitate, but ran in 2001, and handedly defeated the incumbent Republican opponent. She was re-elected in 2005, and 2009 she ran unopposed. She has been the Chair of the Tompkins County Legislature since January, 2010.
The discussion of Martha’s accomplishments begins with the success of the County Legislature. One of the most impressive fact that Martha is proud of is that Tompkins County has lowest unemployment rate in the state. The County has received $453 million in investments through the IDA (Industrial Development Agency) , which built 1.5 million square feet of new construction and created more than 700 new good paying jobs.
Through Martha’s leadership the County, through grants ($2.2 million) has provided Wireless Broadbrand to the rural areas. They also installed Solar Panels on 8 county buildings, documented their housing shortage, which brought $200 MIllion of PRIVATE-SECTOR funds which paid for new residential construction. They created a discount drug insurance program for uninsured residents, which saves them 25% on prescriptions. They have alternation to incarceration programs that has reduced recidivism and prevented the need for $20 million jail expansion.
Town of Pulteney (Steuben County) Supervisor Jane Russell was in the crowd, and explained why she supports Martha of Congress. Jane worked with Martha when she joined a group that Martha helped organize, Elected Officials To Protect New York. The goal of the group is to protect New York State from hydrofracking plus other dangers, and to make sure the government listens to the people, the science, and react appropriately.
Martha did explain how she stands on the big issues of today, and how she differs from our present congressman. There is plenty of time ( about 18 months) to discuss the nitty-gritty of the campaign later. Believe me, there will be many articles, many commercials, and maybe a debate or two. Matter-of-fact, the crowd was pleasantly introduced to a representative from Rep. Reed’s campaign who has been following Martha and Nate at each event, taking notes and video taping the events.
In responding to a question, both Martha and Nate discussed Emily’s List and the DCCC’s role in the campaign. Even though both groups have advertised they want to get involved in the race for the 23rd Congressional District, neither have officially declared their support for Martha. They both want to see how serious she is in dedicating her time and effort into the campaign and how much momentum there is for her campaign. (Translation: How much money she can raise early in her campaign?) It is never too early make a donation. You can get more information Martha on her website, http://MarthaForNY.com. You can sign up to follow her tweets at her website. You can also follow Martha on her facebook page.
- County Legislator announces candidacy for Congress (wbng.com)
- Tompkins County Legislature chair to challenge Rep. Tom Reed (timesunion.com)