Posts Tagged ‘Political History’

Thursday, March 21, 2019

1921: Rhoda Fox Graves Runs For Assembly

Rhoda Graves was active in Republican politics in 1917 when New York passed women’s suffrage. When it became the law of the land in 1920, it made the possibility of holding elective office an attractive option for some women.

In 1921, Rhoda’s close friend, ten-year assemblyman Frank Seaker, retired from public office, and William Laidlaw, nominated to replace him, served for the next three years. It’s not clear what the machinations were behind Laidlaw’s decision not to run for another term, but there’s no doubt the big announcement that followed was the work of Rhoda, Perle (her husband), Frank Seaker, and supporters among party leaders. Seeking the GOP nomination for an Assembly position was none other than Rhoda Graves of Gouverneur — a woman! » Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 14, 2019

Gouverneur’s Rhoda Fox Graves, NYS Political Trailblazer

Bucking the odds is a common theme of Walter-Mitty-type fantasies — overcoming daunting obstacles to become a winner, or a hero at some level. Few of us actually live the dream, but sometimes it happens, and during Women’s History Month, an incredible North Country example comes to mind: Rhoda F. Graves of Gouverneur in St. Lawrence County.

The extreme unlikelihood of her becoming a historic figure in state politics makes her story all the more compelling. And the details are amazing. » Continue Reading.


Monday, February 11, 2019

Commission on the Adirondacks in the 21st Century: A Status Report

Governor Mario Cuomo greets school children at Adirondack conference, Silver Bay Conference Center, in 1994. Photo by Ken Rimany, the Association for the Protection of the AdirondacksAdirondack Almanack readers may recall that in 2018 Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget office introduced legislation which would have changed the way the state pays taxes on the public’s Forest Preserve. It was proposed to change the ad valorem system, in place since 1886, to a payment in lieu of taxes.

Local school districts and supervisors were alarmed by the negative consequences of the proposed change, as were Forest Preserve advocates. In response, legislative staff sought background information about how the Real Property Tax Law applied to the Adirondack Park, historically speaking. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

John W. Taylor: New York’s (Almost Only) Speaker of the House

The title Speaker of the House of Representatives has received lots of attention during the past few years. It’s hard to believe that the nation’s fourth-most-populous state (New York—nearly always number one, and in the top five since 1790) has only one native who served in that position.

Well, technically, there are two, but one of them served 99.82 percent of the pair’s total time in office—to be explained later. If you’re from Northern New York and dislike the idea of people owning people, you’ll be pleased at his strong stance for freedom during one of our nation’s most turbulent times. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 30, 2018

US Presidents in Clinton County Talk in Plattsburgh

The Clinton County Historical Association has announced a program “Connections with History: U.S. Presidents in Clinton County,” set for Monday, January 14, at 4 pm, at the Lake Forest Senior Living Community, 8 Lake Forest Drive, Plattsburgh.

“Connections with History” is an illustrated talk on U.S. Presidents and other important historical figures who have visited Clinton County and their connections with each other. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Bauer: What Does The New State Senate Mean For The Adirondacks?

NYS CapitolOn Election Day in November 2018, voters across New York State voted for a new direction for the 63-member New York State Senate. With some races remaining close and needing to be finalized based on a count of absentee and provisional ballots, it appears that Democrats have elected 40 Senators and Republicans just 23. There is no way to overstate just what a sea change this is for New York State politics.

There is also no way to overstate the questions that this sea change raise for the Adirondack Park, which is cut up into four State Senate districts, each steadfastly represented by a Republican. These four Senators – Betty Little, Joe Griffo, Patti Ritchie and Jim Tedisco – led by Little whose 45th Senate District has the majority of the Adirondack Park, were members in excellent standing in the exclusive club of the Republican Senate Majority. With a membership of around three dozen they unrelentingly, efficiently and ruthlessly wielded power and thoroughly enjoyed their political spoils. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, November 11, 2018

2018 Elections: An Adirondack Council Perspective

Adirondack Council logoThe polls are now closed, most of the votes have been counted, and there were winners and losers. In Washington, power is once again split between the Republicans and Democrats, while in New York, Democrats will take over control of the Senate, putting the state under one-party rule. As the largest non-partisan organization dedicated to ensuring the ecological integrity and wild character of our Adirondack Park, the Adirondack Council keeps a full-time presence in Albany advocating for policies and resources that will benefit the Park’s waters, wildlife and communities. We are willing to work with any and all elected officials to make the Adirondacks a better place, regardless of party affiliation. What follows is a comprehensive review of federal and state election results from this year. Winning candidates begin their terms in January. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Internal Border at North Hudson

Border Patrol agents at a checkpoint in North HudsonU.S. Customs and Border Protection recently made numerous arrests and seized large amounts of marijuana during a five day checkpoint in Essex County. The agency occasionally sets up this temporary check point near Exit 28 of the Adirondack Northway (I-87). A June operation here resulted in similar arrests and seizure of marijuana, as well as what the agency described as the disruption “of two separate alien smuggling rings.”

The agency put out a statement saying, “Checkpoint operations are a proven enforcement tool to deny criminal organizations the ability to smuggle people, narcotics or other contraband further away from the border and these arrests exemplify that.” » Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 7, 2018

Christopher Shaw: Katie Wilson’s Folk Hero Candidacy

katie wilsonThe candidate most likely to win the Democratic primary race in the NY21st Congressional district has finally stepped forward. With her recently published essays, widespread press coverage and appearance on MSNBC, and with her tireless retail politicking around the vast district, Katie Wilson, of Keene, has become the native daughter most likely to purloin votes away from carpetbagger, willing Paul Ryan stooge and Trumpian apologist Elise Stefanik in the most important midterm election of my lifetime. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Resistance: Ron Stafford’s Gift to Local Governments

Senator Ron Stafford with a former Town of Bolton Supervisor, Frank Leonbruno, in Bolton Landing, July 2001Having spent more than a decade as an aide to an upstate New York senator, the late Ron Stafford, I retain some residual habits, one of which is flipping through the Governor’s budget proposals as soon as they’re released, alert, I would hope, to anything that might have an impact on our region, positive or negative.

That’s how I happened to become aware of a proposal in this year’s budget to remove Forest Preserve lands from the real property tax standard and authorize New York State to send Adirondack communities “payments in lieu of taxes.”

I gave it more than a cursory glance because in 1989, when I worked for Senator Stafford, the current governor’s father, Mario Cuomo, proposed something very similar. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Fact, Fiction On Chester’s Underground Railroad

Underground Railroad in the town of chester by donna lagoyThe publication of a new book about the Underground Railroad in the Adirondacks, focusing on its supporters and their good work in the Town of Chester in Warren County, rides a high wave of public interest in this dramatic chapter of our history. No bookstore lacks a full-frontal display of Colson Whitehead’s explosive novel The Underground Railroad, with Oprah’s golden imprimatur on the front jacket.

Regional scholarship is booming: in just the last decade, books and articles have documented Underground Railroad activity in Indiana, Buffalo, Detroit, Vermont, New York City, Pennsylvania, and the long flanks of Lake Champlain. Tom Calarco’s The Underground Railroad in the Adirondack Region (2004) is still the most inclusive, best synthesized, and detailed account of goings-on inside and all around the Blue Line. And cultural tourism in the region has gained immeasurably from the opening of the North Star Underground Railroad Museum at Ausable Chasm — the work, in great part, of two independent researchers, Don and Vivian Papson of Plattsburgh. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Some Local Media Was Reluctant to Support Women’s Rights

North Country newspapers, the only media during the 1800s, were slow to come around and at times downright resistant to women’s rights. Their job was to report the news, but in order to maintain readership, they also had to cater to their customers — like the old adage says, “give ’em what they want.”  That atmosphere made it difficult for new and progressive ideas, like women’s rights, to make headway.

The push for women’s rights exposed many inequities early on, but it was difficult to establish a foothold among other important stories of the day. The powerful anti-slavery movement of the 1800s presented an opportunity, for although women and slaves were at opposite ends of the spectrum in the popular imagination — women on a pedestal and slaves treated terribly — they sought many of te same goals: freedom to speak out on their own behalf, the right to vote, and equal pay for equal work. Women passionate about those subjects joined anti-slavery organizations to seek freedom and equal rights for all, regardless of race or sex. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

‘Bluestockings’ Once Battled for Women’s Rights

Women’s history month (March) is a reminder of the struggles they have endured for equality and fair treatment. Unity is important in any movement, but in the North Country, women were often on opposing sides in the battle for equal rights. The region’s rural nature had much to do with that division, as did the population’s roots: mountain folk, farmers, and miners were primarily immigrants (many via Quebec) from European countries that were overwhelmingly Catholic or Protestant.

Resistance to change was organized by branding the opposition as silly and simultaneously ungodly. For more than a century in the United States, those promoting women’s rights were labeled Bluestockings, a term that has been used both in a complimentary and a pejorative sense.

Its origins are nebulous, but it’s known that in the 1700s, Bluestockings in England were educated women unwilling to settle for being simply an adornment on a man’s arm. They learned languages, engaged in political discussions, and sought to better themselves by gaining certain rights previously enjoyed only by the privileged in society: men.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Dave Gibson on EPA: Rachel Carson, Richard Nixon, and Judith Enck

Congressional representative Elise Stefanik should invite the new head of the U.S. EPA, Scott Pruitt, to visit her district. She might introduce Mr. Pruitt to the homeowners in Ballston Spa whose homes have been turned upside down thanks to release of some very bad chemicals from a nearby, now closed dry cleaning facility.

In July 2016, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation requested that EPA perform an environmental assessment. In August 2016, the EPA collected air samples and detected high levels of chloroform; TCE (trichloroethylene); PCE; vinyl chloride; benzene; and naphthalene. These chemicals are likely in the ground water as well. This winter, EPA is evaluating homes downstream of the dry cleaners for vapor intrusion into those homes. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Saranac Lake Book Launch On Susan B. Anthony’s Birthday Wednesday

On February 15, 2017 at 7 pm, celebrate Susan B. Anthony’s 196th Birthday with a book launch at Lake Flower Landing (421 Lake Flower Avenue) in Saranac Lake.

Sandra Weber’s new book, The Woman Suffrage Statue: A History of the Portrait Monument to Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony in the U.S. Capitol (McFarland & Company, 2016), recounts the jubilation, condemnation, and hullabaloo surrounding the Portrait Monument to Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.

The neoclassical work of art seemed destined to provoke controversy; it was an unconventional form with a strange unfinished appearance, composed of portraits of real women and a mysterious fourth hump, and inscribed with a provocative message. » Continue Reading.