January 30th. What a day!
Zipping through the Taconic Parkway’s twists and turns, on a crisp, sunny, winter morning, was just the exhilarating start! The best was yet to come!
I was headed to Albany for double duty- to meet Assembly Member, Rebecca Seawright‘s new Legislative Director, Cheryl Couser, in order to launch the fight for a Romance Scam Law in New York State, and to stand up for women’s rights in the Planned Parenthood efforts that drew 1,600+ women to the statehouse to lobby our legislators! The entire conference center was a sea of pink including the brightest pink sweater I own!
In a rousing speech, Senator Daniel Squadron reminded us that his district includes Liberty Island, as he quoted the words of Hillary Clinton: “Women’s Rights are Human Rights, are Civil Rights!”
The Governor’s Reception
After the speakers, Assembly Member Seawright asked If I’d like to trade my box-lunch tuna fish sandwich for lunch at the Governor’s mansion where something I could not have imagined in my most hopeful dreams took place…… I actually got to put Combating Romance Scams into the Governor’s hands and ask that he read it to understand the crime epidemic of romance scams that harms countless victims each day. He shook my hand, thanked me, and pledged that he would! I explained that with the help of Assembly Member Seawright, introducing a law to protect society could be right around the corner, and I hoped he’d support her bill. Time will tell!
Back at the Assembly……….
Cheryl Couser and I were stymied to find a quiet place where we could talk, and it began to feel like the conversation I thought we’d be having seemed impossible. We traveled from one side of the cavernous Assembly floor to the other, searching in sections which were normally used for quiet conversation. But today, everywhere we looked, the lobbyists were working hard to strengthen each legislators’ grasp of the importance of Planned Parenthood and its services to the community.
Even the corridors leading to the Assembly room provided no space. Assembly Member Seawright came up with a suggestion and we followed her through the crowd to the conference space for the Speaker of the Assembly, Carl Heastie. But another Assembly Member was already hard at work in a meeting she convened there.
Our last ditch effort was the library. We ducked in and found that most of the seats were taken. But undaunted, we climbed up two steep, narrow flights of ancient, steel-treaded spiral stairs that lead to a tiny room, lined on all sides with volumes of law books. And in the quiet privacy of this space, we caucused over a plan to figure out where NY’s laws currently stand and find ways to cover the defilement that harms millions of people each year. I left confident that the fate of NY’s law, to prevent this wide-spread crime, and enlighten society about what “consent” actually means, is in great hands!