ALBANY – State Senate Democratic Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins is the latest state leader opposing a push for a convention to make changes to the state constitution.
“While the intent of one may be good, the reality is much different,” Stewart-Cousins told the Daily News Monday. “In this dangerous era of Trump there is a concern that powerful corporate interests will try, and possibly succeed, in making fundamental changes to our State Constitution that are antithetical to our New York values.”
The Yonkers Democrat is the latest legislative leader to oppose the measure. Only Assembly GOP Minority Leader Brian Kolb backs a constitutional convention.
“There has been a lot of talk about what can be accomplished through a Constitutional Convention, but the State Legislature can and should be passing voting reforms, ethics reforms, real redistricting reforms and a whole host of other critical priorities, and not relying on others to do their jobs,” Stewart-Cousins said. “While I do not support a Constitutional Convention at this time, I will continue to fight for Democrats in the State Senate to unite so we can pass all of these priorities.”
Every 20 years, including this year, New Yorkers are asked to vote in a public referendum whether to hold a constitutional convention.
The head of the state AFL-CIO, fearing potential anti-worker changes could be adopted, has said he is “adamantly” against a constitutional convention while a number of government reform groups support the idea as the best way to get needed ethics and other changes enacted.
Gov. Cuomo recently told the Daily News Editorial Board that he supports the idea in concept but fears it would be controlled by special interests groups.
Democratic activist and Effective New York founder Bill Samuels, who is funding an effort in support of a convention, recently called on Cuomo to take a position on the issue “without any equivocation.”