Empowering Communities, Advocating Solutions


Source: Long Island Business News: Young Island

Diverse Long Island coalition lobbies in Albany


Posted: February 23, 2012
Originally Published: February 16, 2012

What do you get when you send an environmentalist, a union rep and a small business owner into a bar? I don’t know, but when they go to Albany, you get a whole lot of progress. An unlikely and extremely diverse coalition united under the name “Long Island Lobby Coalition” traveled to Albany on Wednesday for the fourth annual Long Island Lobby Day. Since its inception in 2009, the 55-member coalition has aimed to improve the environment, economy and quality of life for all Long Islanders through a carefully crafted platform.

The five-point platform advocates for:

  • Transportation
  • Energy & Environment
  • Human Services
  • Small Business, Jobs & Economic Development
  • Sewers & Infrastructure

Coalition members boarded a coach bus headed to Albany at 5 a.m. Wednesday morning to cram in a years’ worth of meetings with elected officials. Forty members of the coalition kicked off the day by meeting with all nine Long Island senators with help from Senate Majority Leader Skelos. From there, the group convened in Assemblyman Bob Sweeney’s office with several other Long Island Assembly members including Joseph Saladino, Fred Theile, Michelle Schimel, Michael Fitzpatrick, Al Graf, and Andrew Raia. We also met with Senator Minority Leader John Sampson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. After a long and action packed day, the group ended the 2012 Lobby Day meeting with several key members of the Governors Staff.

Under the leadership of Citizens Campaign for the Environment’s Executive Director Adrienne Esposito and Vision Long Island’s Executive Director Eric Alexander, the coalition has perfected our platform and become a well-oiled machine. This year, several hot issues on the platform included sewage infrastructure funding and the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act, a push for renewable energy, and continued commuter transit benefits. New research out of the American Communities Institute at Dowling College provided a solid list of action items suggested by small businesses.

Throughout the day, many commented that more appealing than our platform, is our atypical diversity and admirable unity. The importance of a sometimes-fragmented Long Island coming together and agreeing on such critical issues did not go unrecognized by elected leaders.
Long Island Lobby Coalition with the Long Island Senate Delegation

The group has grown from its humble beginnings to now having dozens of other member organizations. Some participants include the AARP, American Communities Institute at Dowling College, Empire State Future, Long Island Business Council, Long Island Federation of Labor, Long Island Software and Technology Network, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Renaissance Downtowns, several civic organizations and several chambers of commerce.

The group has one formal annual meeting in Albany, but member organizations continue throughout the year to advocate for specific agenda items. The coalition looks forward to working with Long Island’s elected leaders to move these issues to the forefront over the next few months. Advancing these keystone issues will allow us to protect the Long Island that we love while ensuring that we continue to move forward with smart planning and renewable energy.

The author is Long Island Program Coordinator for Citizens Campaign for the Environment.