Bedford Record-Review: Two Candidates Qualify for Primary Ballot

Nominating petitions filed in Albany last week guaranteed there will be a September primary between Democratic candidates for state senator in the 40th District. The winner will go against incumbent Republican Terrence Murphy in November. The campaigns of Peter Harckham and Robert Kesten – both Lewisboro residents – each filed more than the number of signatures required to qualify for the ballot.

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Patch Letter To The Editor: Support Harckham For State Senate

Click here to read the full article.

During his four terms on the Westchester County Legislature, Peter Harckham achieved a progressive legislative record of accomplishment through impactful bills on the environment, housing, labor, first responders, taxes and human rights. .

Contrary to the misleading intimations of some of his Democratic opponent’s supporters, Harckham has never been associated with the IDC (Independent Democratic Conference), which had nothing whatsoever to do with the Westchester County Legislature, where Pete served as the Democratic majority leader. He has repeatedly and publicly said that if elected to the NY State Senate he will support fellow Westchester Democrat Andrea Stewart-Cousins as majority leader and work diligently to help implement the legislative agenda of the mainstream Democratic Conference.

Harckham’s NY State government experience, where he obtained funding for Westchester municipalities for housing, energy efficiency and transportation, and helped fight for the State’s paid family leave and $15 minimum wage policies, also make him well-qualified to advocate throughout the state capital for Senate District 40’s constituents.

During the course of his career as a public servant, Harckham has consistently put people over politics. He has worked effectively with fellow legislators, county and municipal officials, members of the state legislature and New York’s congressional delegation to get things done. He’s worked with Governor Cuomo on successful initiatives such as the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project, and has also differed with him on such issues as legalized cannabis, charter schools and the AIM pipeline. Harckham, unlike the Governor, has been endorsed by the labor-backed Working Families Party.

Next year the State Senate needs to pass vital bills on reproductive health, common sense gun safety legislation, the Child Victim Act and more. It will be a complicated and challenging process that requires someone with deep legislative experience and a record of government accomplishment who can immediately hit the ground running.

I’ve supported progressive Democrats for many years and I wholeheartedly support Pete now. His track record, values, integrity and expertise make him uniquely qualified to be our next state senator. Peter is the best choice to unseat Terrence Murphy and help enable a true Democratic State Senate majority. He is worthy of all Democratic voters’ support on Primary Day, Thursday September 13th.

Michael Weinberg
Political Director, Harckham campaign

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Harckham Calls on NYS Senate to Reconvene & Pass Important Bills

Harckham Calls on NYS Senate to Reconvene & Pass Important Bills; Blocked Legislation Includes Reproductive Health, Red Flag & Child Victims Acts, Among Others

With legislators returning to their districts for summer campaigning ahead of the fall elections, Pete Harckham, Democratic candidate for the 40th New York State Senate District, is calling for the New York State Senate to reconvene in Albany to pass important legislation.

“The Republican led State Senate left a considerable amount of unfinished business when they ended their session early last month,” said Harckham. “Senators are elected to do the people’s business and they shouldn’t ignore the needs of their constituents in order to wrap up for the year”.

“Instead of throwing up their hands and blocking key bills from even coming up to the floor, Senate Republicans owe New Yorkers an up-or-down vote,” Harckham said. “No one can force them to hold a vote, but if the Governor calls a special session, Republicans should at least have the courage to vote ‘no’ on the bills they’re blocking. Senate Republicans continue to oppose progressive legislation at their own peril, as voters disappointed by the State Senate’s lack of accomplishments will remember which senators failed to deliver when they head to the polls in November”.

With Donald Trump’s nomination of an extreme conservative to the Supreme Court who could roll back advancements in reproductive health care, Harckham says the State Senate must reconvene to vote on the Reproductive Health Act, which would codify the protections of Roe. v. Wade into State law by protecting the right of women to make personal health care decisions and ensure that health care professionals can provide these crucial services without fear of criminal penalty. “The Senate needs to join the Assembly, who has passed legislation to codify the protections of Roe v. Wade for the last six years,” he added.

Harckham also called for Senate action on the Red Flag Protection Bill, also known as the Extreme Risk Protection Order Bill, which would prevent individuals determined by a court to have the potential to cause themselves or others serious harm by temporarily removing firearms from the home. “This common sense gun legislation would make New York the first in the United States to empower its teachers and school administrators with the right to report and possibly prevent school shootings,” he noted.

In addition, Harckham called on the State Senate to vote on the Child Victims Act, which would expand and extend the statute of limitations for child molestation. It would also create a one-year “look back” period to allow victims over the age of 23 to file lawsuits against alleged offenders or the institutions where they worked for incidents of sexual abuse dating back potentially decades. “This bill allows victims to pursue justice and hold perpetrators and those who enabled them accountable,” he added.

Harckham noted a number of additional bills that the State Senate has not voted on, but could if it were to reconvene, covering such issues as decoupling teacher evaluations from student test performance, automatic voter registration, local government tax extenders, immigrant assistance, enhanced ethics and campaign finance loopholes, among others.

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Pete’s Renewable Energy Op-ed in The Examiner: Time for Wholesale Switch to Renewable Energy

This op-ed by Pete on renewable energy appeared in The Examiner’s July 3, 2018 edition.  

Many local residents are concerned about the safety of living in proximity to the influx of gas pipeline infrastructure. I first became aware of this issue several years ago while Chair of the Board of Legislators Committee on Parks, Labor and Housing and the Spectra pipeline was expanding through Blue Mountain reservation. We held several hearings where experts detailed the health and safety impacts of living near gas infrastructure. Whether expanding a gas pipeline near a school or running a high-pressure gas line near a sensitive site like Indian Point made no sense then and makes no sense now.

Residents are also concerned about the proliferation of gas pipeline compressor stations, like the one in Southeast in Putnam County, and new micro power plants fueled by natural gas. Not only do they both emit methane, with 80% more heat trapping potential than carbon, they also emit volatile organic compounds like benzene, a known carcinogen. These facilities emit over 5.7M pounds of toxins annually.

Currently, the DEC does not require state of the art emissions controls for all gas facilities. The DEC is currently reviewing new standards for such facilities. To protect the health of New Yorkers, DEC should require gas facilities to utilize Lowest Achievable Emissions Rate technology. This is readily available technology and will reduce adverse health impacts to New Yorkers living in proximity to such infrastructure. With 80,000 people per decade more expected to die due to the Trump cuts to clean air & water regulations, according to a recently released Harvard study, New Yorkers deserve nothing less.

Fortunately there is good news. Natural gas was once considered a transition fuel to a cleaner energy system because it contributes fewer green house gases than coal or oil. However, not only have we learned more about the health impacts of gas infrastructure in the intervening years, renewable energy technology is now abundant and financially more attractive.

Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that in 2016, global investment in wind and solar power more than doubled that of nuclear, coal, oil and gas generated power by $297B to $143B. Private markets are now realizing that renewable energy is less expensive to produce than carbon based energy, and the technology is abundant and competitive. While New York is a national leader in solar proliferation, we need to double down and expand opportunities, not just for personal renewables, but large-scale commercial renewable energy as well.

My mother lives in a retirement community where every outdoor parking space is shielded from the elements by solar panels above. Further, the facility uses vacant land to host a ‘solar farm’, further reducing their dependence on the grid. As a County Legislator I passed a Solar Inventory Act. Require Westchester to analyze every county owned roof, parking lot and spare land for the suitability of large-scale solar installation. We should do the same at the state level, including SUNY and our state highway right of ways. By employing net metering, the excess energy created flows back into the grid and the owner’s utility bill is reduced.

When the private sector invests twice in renewables what it has in carbon-based energy, we are no longer living with renewables as a “down the road” vision unique to environmentalists. Renewables are now the more cost effective and safer form of energy generation. Wall Street has embraced this. Will we?

Pete Harckham

Peter Harckham served on the Westchester County Board of Legislators representing northeast Westchester from 2008-2015, and in the Governor’s Administration from 2015-2018. He is currently a candidate for New York State Senate in the 40th District.

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Examiner Letter: Why I support Pete Harckham

I was glad to read in The Examiner that Pete Harckham has entered the race for New York State Senator. As a resident of Mount Kisco for more than 40 years, I know the great job Pete did as our County Legislator. He worked to protect the environment, or air and water. He worked with Democrats and Republicans to get bills passed to fund vital programs for families.

If he is elected, his seat could put the New York Senate under Democratic control. The Republicans currently in power have been working against children, labor, small business, taxpayers and others for years. Pete’s experience in state government, including his work on community development grants, would help get things accomplished in Albany.

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Pete Endorsed by 32BJ SEIU!

Democratic State Senate candidate Pete Harckham issued the following statement today after he was endorsed by 32BJ SEIU, one of the largest and most politically active progressive unions in New York State:

“I am honored to be endorsed by 32BJ. They have been successfully fighting for the rights of working people for decades. Now it is more important than ever to stand united with our partners in the labor to fight rollbacks by Trump and extremist Republicans in congress and their allies in Albany.”

Hector Figueroa, President of  32BJ SEIU:

“Right now, more than ever, New York State needs champions of that will fight for workers’ rights. Union members are focused on electing progressive candidates to represent working New Yorkers in Albany. In the face of unprecedented attacks on working families, we are endorsing candidates who will fight for good jobs and help more New Yorkers join and form unions.  Together we will champion legislation to protect immigrant communities, defend voting rights and access, achieve bail reform, and stand up for policies to protect the environment. ”

Thousands of 32BJ SEIU members will get involved in political action this year to remind voters, candidates and elected officials that New York needs unions to build the middle class.

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Justice Kennedy’s retirement should alarm voters in New York

Democratic Senate candidate Pete Harckham made the following statement today about the implications of Justice Kennedy’s retirement on New York:

Today’s news of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement should alarm every voter who cares about women’s rights, LGBT rights, civil rights, or any number of any issues of deep importance to New Yorkers. This will be a body blow to women’s essential reproductive freedom in New York unless we vote out Republican State Senators like Terrence Murphy. Murphy’s extreme position against choice is not something we can afford any longer. If we don’t elect a pro-choice Senator, our laws on reproductive health could revert to the state they were in before Roe v. Wade was the law of the land.

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Reaction to Janus Ruling

In response to the Supreme Court’s decision in the Janus case, which is expected to significantly hurt the ability of public sector unions to organize and represent employees, Democratic State Senate candidate Pete Harckham made the following statement:

This Supreme Court has been unhinged. Today’s ruling eviscerating public sector unions – the culmination of a thinly veiled assault years in the making – is the icing on the cake of weeks worth of decisions that go against both history and our core values. But I have news for anyone who would try to silence working men and women: that’s not gonna happen. One court decision, no matter how wrong, isn’t going to stop workers from standing up for their rights, with me and allies like me with them every step of the way.

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