AARP NY Buffalo Region Virtual State Legislative Forum

August 06, 2020  
10:00AM - 11:00AM
Presented By AARP NY
Event Description

AARP NY is proud to present the next installment of our Buffalo Region State Legislative Forum. The purpose is to hear state lawmakers from across the Buffalo Region outline their legislative and policy priorities for the remainder of the year, working through and around the pandemic, political uncertainty, and more. Specific topics include: Nursing Homes, Long Term Care, and family caregiving; Prescription Drug Affordability; Food Access; Financial Security; and Social Isolation. Registration is free. Join us on August 6th to discuss these important topics with our state legislators from the region.

Crystal Peoples-Stokes
Majority Leader, NY State Assembly
In December 2018 Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes was elevated to the position of Majority Leader of the New York State Assembly. Peoples-Stokes has served Buffalo’s141st Assembly District since 2003. Peoples-Stokes was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. The daughter of a school teacher and a sanitation worker, Peoples-Stokes attended Buffalo Public Schools before earning her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Master’s Degrees in Student Personnel Administration from Buffalo State College. Stokes also holds an Honorary Doctorate from Medaille College. She worked briefly as a school teacher before the Buffalo Urban League and Citizen Action of NY. Peoples-Stokes went on to serve on the Erie County Legislature from 1993 until 2002, being appointed as Majority Leader in 1998. Peoples-Stokes has a reputation for being a strong advocate who puts people and principle before politics. She is a fearless fighter for diversity in our state and has been an integral part of ensuring that Minority and Women Owned Businesses have a fair chance in obtaining state contracts. In recognition of these efforts, an Assembly Subcommittee on MWBE was created and she was selected to serve as Chair in 2012. In 2015 she was appointed as Chair of the Assembly’s Committee on Governmental Operations. This committee maintains oversight on ethics reform and FOIL requests, state police, homeland security, disaster and emergency preparedness, MWBE, crime victims, human rights, and military and naval affairs. In June 2017, she was voted by her colleagues to be Chair of the New York State Legislative Women’s Caucus which is a bi-partisan and bi-cameral group. Peoples-Stokes has championed a Diversity in Medicine initiative that has promoted entry into the medical field with academic and financial supports for promising students of color. Peoples-Stokes secured resources to start Buffalo’s Teacher Diversity Pipeline which will help teachers’ aides and assistants obtain the proper training and certification to teach in NYS. Peoples-Stokes also successfully passed a law to decriminalize possession and the expungement of minor marijuana convictions from New Yorkers’ criminal records, a critical accomplishment along the path towards the state legalization of marijuana and the reinvestment of disenfranchised communities of color, a bill she has sponsored for the last six years. Majority Leader Peoples-Stokes attributes her accomplishments to her deep and abiding faith and family. She is a member of True Bethel Baptist Church and St. Luke’s AME Zion Church and currently resides in Buffalo, New York with her family.
Monica Wallace
New York State Assembly
Assemblymember Monica Wallace was first elected to the New York State Assembly in 2016 and reelected in 2018. Her decision to run for the 143rd Assembly District stemmed from frustration and embarrassment she felt with the lack for ethical representation that had plagued the seat for years. Wallace’s two immediate predecessors in the 143rd District had ethics complaints filed against them by members of their staff and subsequently left office in disgrace. Monica learned early on the importance of hard work and education. Raised by a single mother who instilled these values in her, Monica became the first person in her family to earn a college degree. She worked her way through college and law school, earning her undergraduate degree with honors from SUNY Binghamton, and her J.D., cum laude, from SUNY Buffalo Law School. In her first term in office, Wallace proved to be an effective member of the Assembly. Her accomplishments include: • Passing a constitutional amendment to strip public officials found guilty of corruption of their taxpayer-funded pensions • Sponsoring legislation to assist veterans through awarding SUNY academic credits for training received while serving in the military • Passed legislation to prohibit large severance packages for political appointees working at public authorities • Supporting volunteer firefighters in Depew by securing state funding to replace the department’s breathing equipment, saving village taxpayers $250,000 • Overhauling New York’s sexual harassment policies as a member of the Assembly Anti-Sexual Harassment Workgroup • Sponsoring legislation to protect consumer internet data from being harvested and sold by internet service providers Monica understands that public service is a privilege and is honored to have earned the support of her constituents. Before her election to the Assembly, Monica spent much of her legal career as a law clerk in federal court, where she helped ensure that justice was served and that laws were applied equally to all parties appearing before the court. Monica also served on the faculty at her alma mater, SUNY Buffalo Law School, teaching students how the law can be used as a vehicle for positive social change. Monica’s legislative priorities include strengthening public education, standing up for working families, creating jobs by supporting smart economic development, investing in local infrastructure, and restoring integrity to government. Monica resides in Lancaster with her husband, John, and their two children. The 143rd Assembly District is comprised of the towns of Cheektowaga and Lancaster, and the villages of Depew, Lancaster, and Sloan.
Timothy M. Kennedy
New York State Senator
Timothy M. Kennedy is the Chairman of Committee on Transportation and is a DEMOCRAT, from the INDEPENDENCE PARTY, WORKING FAMILIES. Since being sworn into office in January 2011, Senator Tim Kennedy has fought to ensure Western New York sees its fair share of funding and state resources. In March 2019, three months after being named Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, Tim delivered an unprecedented $100 million for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) to fund a five year capital plan for maintenance and improvements of the Metro Rail. In his role as Chair, Tim has set an aggressive agenda. He sponsored legislation to allow municipalities to install cameras on school buses, in order to more effectively catch drivers who break the law and jeopardize student safety by passing stopped buses. He also spearheaded a package comprehensive limo safety reforms, in order to strengthen the industry standards and better protect New Yorkers who use alternative transportation. Tim drafted these reforms alongside the families of victims involved in limo crashes in Schoharie and Cutchogue. Both houses have passed these transportation priorities, and the Governor quickly signed them into law. Throughout his time in office, Tim has kept a strong focus on protecting the most vulnerable in our community. He spearheaded the passage of Jay-J’s law, legislation that stiffens penalties for repeat child abusers. The legislation was inspired by Jay-J Bolvin, a young boy who was brutally abused by his father. Sadly, Jay-J’s father received a light sentence due to antiquated sentencing laws, but through Tim’s advocacy, these penalties were strengthened. Tim also penned Jackie’s Law, which protects victims of domestic violence from GPS stalking, and was signed into law in 2014. Tim knows the importance of growing and protecting Western New York’s workforce, which is why he was a supporter of the creation of the Northland Workforce Center on Buffalo’s East Side. He actively works to connect Western New Yorkers with job opportunities, whether through his jobs website, Kennedy Jobs File, or through his annual Queen City Job Fair, which draws hundreds of employers and job seekers every year. While he regularly works one-on-one with companies to establish roots in Buffalo, he strongly believes in preserving the city’s past. He led the call for $5 million of the Buffalo Billion funding to be dedicated towards the reuse and restructuring of Buffalo’s iconic Central Terminal, and helped to bring the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra to the Terminal for a full day East Side Festival, offering a free concert to thousands of Western New Yorkers. Tim is a lifelong Western New York resident. He grew up in a blue-collar family in Buffalo, where his parents, Marty and Mary Kennedy, raised Tim and his four siblings to work hard, focus on their education, help their neighbors, and get involved in their community. Tim attended St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute before going on to earn his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in occupational therapy at D’Youville College. For 11 years, Tim worked with geriatric and pediatric populations to help them recover from injuries and fully participate in all life situations. As a licensed occupational therapist, Tim has spent his entire career working to help people. Tim and his wife, Katie, live in the City of Buffalo where they are raising their three children, Connor, Eireann, and Padraic.
Michael H. Ranzenhofer
New York State Senate
Michael H. Ranzenhofer, Republican-Conservative-Independence, was elected to a fifth term in the New York State Senate on November 8, 2016. Prior to being elected to the State Senate, he served as an Erie County Legislator, from 1989 to 2008. Shortly after being elected, Senator Ranzenhofer established himself as one of the most outspoken State Legislators in opposition to record increases in taxes and spending in both the 2009 and 2010 State Budgets. His budget priorities have been to fix New York’s fiscal challenges by cutting spending and lowering taxes, creating a more favorable business environment so that the private sector can create jobs. As Chairman of the Senate Corporations Committee, he has worked with many non-profit organizations and the New York State Bar Association to pass legislation to overhaul the State’s not-for-profit laws for the first time in over forty years. Additionally, he has authored numerous laws to eliminate dormant, unnecessary public authorities. For his legislative efforts, Senator Ranzenhofer has been recognized with numerous awards, including: Legislator of the Year Award by the New York State Magistrates Association (2013); 2012 State Legislator Recognition Award on behalf of the New York State Ophthalmological Society; 2010 Business Advocate of the Year Award by the Amherst Chamber of Commerce; Guardian of Small Business by the National Federation of Independent Business; and a member of the Farm Bureau’s Circle of Friends. He has also been recognized for his unwavering support of the Second Amendment in New York State by the Genesee County Chapter of S.C.O.P.E. Senator Ranzenhofer serves as a citizen legislator, a dedicated public servant who still works and volunteers in the community. He represents businesses and individuals in Erie, Genesee and Monroe County as a partner at Friedman & Ranzenhofer, P.C. As an attorney, Senator Ranzenhofer has an increased awareness of the impact that legislation from the State Capitol has on residents and businesses in the Western New York community. In addition to Senator Ranzenhofer’s efforts at the State Capitol and in the private sector, he is constantly working to better his community. He organizes and sponsors Erie County’s largest Family Health Fair, providing dozens of free screenings and services to over 1,000 residents annually. He also sponsors electronics recycling and drug take back events for constituents throughout the 61st District. A longtime resident of the Town of Amherst, he and his wife, Sue, have two children. He graduated from SUNY at Albany in 1976, then continued on to receive a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from SUNY at Buffalo Law School in 1979.
Sean Ryan
New York State Assembly
Sean Ryan resides in the City of Buffalo with his wife Catherine Creighton and their two daughters. Sean is a graduate of SUNY College at Fredonia and Brooklyn Law School, and is admitted to practice law in New York State. Sean’s broad legal experience includes work for Neighborhood Legal Services, private law practice collaboration with the Learning Disabilities Association of WNY, concentrating on the rights of disabled students, and the Legal Aide Bureau of Buffalo. His legal career highlights include a record award for a victim of housing discrimination, a successful challenge to a school district’s denial of special education services to children enrolled in parochial schools, and an action to compel enforcement of Buffalo’s Living Wage Ordinance. In 2008, Sean began working with People United for Sustainable Housing, Inc. to create a non-profit development entity called the Buffalo Neighborhood Stabilization Company, Inc. (BNSC). Sean served as the Executive Director and General Counsel of BNSC and worked to create a redevelopment plan for a section of the West Side of Buffalo. BNSC secured in excess of $3 million in funding for construction projects to turn vacant houses into affordable housing. Sean also created a land bank program to purchase and reuse vacant lots. The evidence of this work is visible throughout the Massachusetts Avenue Corridor. Sean secured a grant, “Gateway to Grant Street”, which provides $500,000 in funding to business owners along Grant Street. Sean has served on the Board of Directors and has provided legal representation and guidance to numerous non-profit organizations including Buffalo Niagara River Keeper, Housing Opportunities Made Equal, Autistic Services Inc, Coalition for Economic Justice, and the City of Buffalo’s Living Wage Commission.
David McNally
Director of Government Affairs and Advocacy, AARP NY
David McNally is the Director of Government Affairs and Advocacy in New York State for AARP, the nation’s leading nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people 50 years of age and older have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. Mr. McNally works with AARP colleagues statewide, in Washington, DC and around the country to design and implement strategies to create positive social change among the Association’s priority issues, including health, financial security and consumer protections. He has led every state and federal legislative campaign for AARP in New York State, including successful efforts related to assisted living, complete streets, hearing aids, hunger, kincare, long-term care, Medicaid, Medicare, prescription drugs, predatory lending, Social Security and telemarketing fraud. Mr. McNally served on Governor-Elect Andrew Cuomo’s Health Transition Team as well as the Medicaid Redesign Team Workgroup on Managed Long-Term Care. He has served as a member of the NY Connects Upstate Long-Term Care Advisory Council and is currently a member of the Adirondack Health Institute Leadership Council. He has been a guest lecturer and presenter on advocacy, organizing and issue campaigns at various universities as well as at the International Federation of Ageing Conference in St. Gallen, Switzerland. He is a frequent television, radio and print spokesperson for AARP on national and state issues. Mr. McNally is a recipient of the Lynn Bodiford Award, the Association’s highest recognition for excellence in advocacy. Prior to his appointment as Manager of Government Affairs and Advocacy in 2005, Mr. McNally served for 11 years as the lead grassroots organizer for AARP in New York State and its over 2.5 million members statewide. From 1986 to 1994, Mr. McNally served in a variety of communications positions with the New York State Assembly, including Public Affairs Director for Majority Leader James Tallon. Also from 1986 to 1994, Mr. McNally worked with the New York State Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee and as a political consultant, managing state and local election campaigns. Mr. McNally is a graduate of the State University of New York at Oswego with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and communications with a concentration in broadcasting.
Randall Hoak
Associate State Director for Engagement in Western NY, AARP

Opening Remarks and Introduction by Jon Lentz, Editor-in-Chief, City & State NY


Welcome Remarks by David McNally, Director of Government Affairs and Advocacy, AARP NY



Remarks by Randall Hoak, Associate State Director for Engagement, Western NY, AARP NY



Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes

Assemblywoman Monica Wallace

Senator Tim Kennedy

Senator Michael Ranzenhofer

Assemblyman Sean Ryan



Closing Remarks by David McNallyDirector of Government Affairs and Advocacy, AARP NY

Platinum Sponsors