Attorney Michael Razenhofer Has Been Feeding Off the Taxpayers for 50 Years

May 14, 2018

Joan Seamans announcement Speech May 5, 2018 VFW Post, 18 East Spring St Williamsville 10:00 a.m.

I want to thank everybody for coming today. I want to thank my fabulous husband Gary and my children. I want to thank my father. I want to introduce my amazing dad Bill Seamans. Everyone, my father is a 91-year-old World War II Navy veteran. Let’s give it up for my dad.

Thank you Jonathan Wess for heading our millennial outreach. I also want to thank Amherst Democratic Committee Chairman Jerry Schad for the kind introduction. And thank Senator Tim Kennedy for sending his chief of staff, Adam Fogel. But I look in the room I see so many people that I have such an affection for, and I thank you for being here whether you’re my friends, my customers, or a combination of both, Union brothers and sisters, activists or patriotic Americans, I want to thank you all for being here today.

I want to talk about the district a little bit, because not everybody knows what makes up District 61. In Erie County we have Amherst, Clarence and Newstead… we have a lot of suburbs. At the center, we have Genesee County which has a rural population and to the east, in Monroe country, we have a very small portion of the city of Rochester, which has an urban population. You know, we have folks from many different walks of life in our community. We have families that are living in multi-million dollar homes ( and the tis ok) and we have families that are really struggling in poverty right now.

I look at my life and my background and I feel fortunate that I have been given the ability to listen, relate and truly respect everyone who lives here. I was raised in a family with 8 kids, and we had very, very little growing up, yes, we were poor. My dad worked very hard, and always worked hard, but having 10 mouths to feed was always a challenge. I remember as a young woman, my family could not afford to send me to college. My dad dropped me off at the shopping mall and said,“Don’t call me until you get a job”. I entered the workforce immediately. I went on to build a business for over 30 years that has supported my family provided jobs for people in WNY. And beyond that, I’ve developed amazing relationships with so many people.

At my age, I have an extensive resume. Of course I do, but I don’t want to bore you with details right now…but some important things you should know;
I have spent time in government, I was a trustee in the village of Williamsville. There I was an advocate for responsible spending and ethics. I was also the president of the Williamsville Business and Professional Association and currently serve on the Chamber of Commerce Public Policy and Economic Policy committee.

Probably what I’m a bit more proud of is the quiet work I’ve done in the community. I spent 4 years working with families who’s children suffered from drug addiction and behavioral issues, I also spent 6 years working with some of our poorest senior citizens throughout the area. The transition to public service, while it is challenging, it feels natural for me. I want to work more and do more for my community.

When I think about our diverse district, we have Democrats and many Republicans, and I always tell folks “If your are Republican, I don’t want you to be afraid to vote for me.” I don’t like labels. People have asked me “Are you progressive? Are you liberal? Are you this? Are you that?” and I say “You know what, I don’t want to be labeled, I want to talk about a philosophy.”

When I was raised, my dad was a lifelong Republican, still is! My mother was a lifelong Democrat. Their values have shaped me. I was raised to understand the importance of self sufficiency and as a business women, I know the importance of balancing budgets and being fiscally responsible. My mother taught us early on the importance of helping those who had even less than we did and I have lived my life with those values. I believe in the importance of providing opportunities for people so they can grow and thrive and succeed. So, I think that I offer the balance that our district and Albany needs.

West of Albany, we only have one voting Democrat in the state Senate…Yes, only one, and that is Senator Kennedy. It is important for you to understand why we need to elect me to our Senate. There’s so much legislation that we can’t get through the state Senate that benefits so many people. I would like to help Senator Kennedy and be another voice for Western New York and I want to be that voice for you.

Today, I want to give you some examples of what has and has not been happening in Albany. People have told me to limit my speeches to soundbites. You know though, that’s not me. I respect you and I want you to understand what you’re voting for and why you’re voting for me. When you leave here today, you will be able to speak about these issues when you are out in the district and share the message of why we have to change Albany.

Because we don’t have a majority in the Senate, there is such positive legislation that we can’t even get out onto the floor for a vote. You need to know how this affects your life and everyone in this room’s life, and everyone’s lives in this district.

There’s something that is called the LLC loophole. You need to know how this impacts all of us. In New York State, election law says that a corporation can donate $5,000 to a candidate in a state election. But, the LLC loophole is states that if you’re an LLC, you can donate up to $60,000. What we find, is that corporations are breaking up into multiple LLCs, donating $60,000, $60,000, $60,000, hundreds of thousands of dollars, to political candidates. What happens, is found in voting records.

My opponent has received over $100,000 from one corporation, that’s right, just one corporation. That one corporation has received hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks because of the voting record of my opponent. My opponent, also happens to head of the Corporations Committee.

So why does that affect you? I was talking to our town supervisor and he mentioned the need to have resource officers in our high schools. In the wake of mass shootings, our kids need to feel safe, but we can’t afford it right now. Another example, when I was in Rochester recently, talking to people running for school board, they said there is one social worker for 400 children. That is unacceptable. We we’re giving hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks to luxury developers and elite corporations down state but can’t provide social workers or resource officers in our schools. Now you see why we have to get rid of the LLC loophole, and why we need to change Albany.

Another important thing that I want you to learn about today is The Child Victims Act. Statistics show that 1 – 4 girls and 1 – 6 boys will be sexually abused by the time they are 18. Current law closes the window for legal action to 23 years old. Sometimes it can take years for victims to have the courage to come forward. Democrats are trying to put through legislation giving victims greater ability to initiate legal action. This compassionate law cannot get passed the republicans in the Senate.

Early voting.: Who here would like to see early voting? Imagine a working woman. She gets up in the morning, makes breakfast and maybe lunches, gets her children off to school, heads to work, comes home, takes care of dinner, may a tubby for the little ones and bedtime. The best intentions skill keep many from voting. Think about our working men and women who work a 12 hour shift? Early voting is pro-woman, It is pro-family, it is pro-worker, it is pro-American. Republicans in the senate will not let this patriotic legislation make it’s way to the Senate floor. This is another reason why we need to change Albany.

I think probably everybody in this room knows someone who has died from an overdose. In the United States, 115 people die every day from opioid overdoses. Think about this for a moment…if every day you turned on news and their was a plane crash and 115 people died, and the following day you turned on the news and there was another plane crash and 115 dies. Day after day, do you think we would do something about that? Yes. I think it’s important NYS become the leader solving this crisis. We should invest in research to combat the opioid crisis. Medical marijuana should be a part of that research. It is proving to be an option for those with chronic pain and helping those who are addicted. We need more long treatment centers. When a person is ready to get help, beds are not available. This needs to change. Also, we need to continue our support for drug and opioid courts. They are doing remarkable work. As your Senator, finding solutions to the Opioid crisis will be a priority.

Families all over our district are crying out for affordable healthcare. No one should ever be faced with having to choose between paying a heating bill or a prescription co-pay. Moving in the direction of single payer, medicare for all is something I support. As your Senator my hope is for all New Yorkers will see their cost of living go down because their healthcare costs are drastically reduced. This legislation has been stalled year after to year and it’s time we change Albany and put families first.

I have mentioned many things I hope we can accomplish if we change Albany but there is positive legislation that has made it through the Senate. Recently, we had bipartisan support for sensible gun reform.This new law will save lives. Simply put, if someone is convicted of domestic assault, they can no longer get a gun. This is what sensible gun reform is about! Yet, my opponent voted against this. I think his “no” vote is obscene and demonstrates a voting record that not only out of touch but anti woman.

So when I ask for your vote, and talk to you about changing Albany, I’m giving you information so you understand why it’s so important that we get another Democrat in that Senate. It is time we get legislation passed to help our district.

We have high taxes and yes people have been leaving the state. I think this is a Republican created problem and a problem that must be solved by fiscally responsible Democrats. We have to stop giving huge tax breaks to corporations and down state elites that don’t need them. I support the hunt for new business and jobs and incentivizing them to become established in our state. But, giving away millions to corporations that don’t need tax breaks is corporate welfare that we cannot afford. We need to start investing in people so we can provide opportunities for people to grow and thrive. Imagine investing in stellar education. Education is the foundation of all success. Imagine investing in infrastructure and jobs and putting people back to work. Imagine jobs training and trade schools. In our district, about 65 of our population has not gone to college. Imagine workforce ready high school graduates and training for displaced workers. Imagine investing in people because people will grow our economy. I believe in “trickle up” economics.Yes, I believe in investing in you. I believe in people over politics.

The last thing I want to leave you with is this. America is a country of principles. We’re taught at an early age, the difference between right and wrong. These principles were instilled from our parents, from our schools from our teachers, from our faith leaders.

We have to demand decency and integrity in elected officials! It starts at the local level. There are those in office who have not shown courage and have been silent with the daily assault on our values coming from Washington. Being silent and hiding under one’s desk is enabling.

I want to encourage everyone here to become engaged and encourage your friends and family to become engaged. Do not let outrage turn into apathy.

Pay attention to your local races. Do not give political footing to anyone who does not represent your values. Even your local town council and board seats. Stop them before they start. Think about this for a moment. Think about someone who was an Erie County executive who is now in the national scene supporting and enabling chaos every single day.

So I want everyone here, to be inspired, to pay close attention to your local races, and to make sure that we’re voting in like-minded people.

I’m asking you for your support. I’m asking for your vote and I’m asking you to help me be a part of the change that we need in Albany.

I’m looking forward to working with all of you, and I hope you can join the team. I believe that we can do this together.

Now, Who is ready to change Albany?

Thank you so much.

2 Responses to “Attorney Michael Razenhofer Has Been Feeding Off the Taxpayers for 50 Years”

  1. Sandra says:

    Well I dont know about 50 years but Ratzenhofer has been an elected official in the county and state for 30 years. The most troubling thing about him is his woeful lack of accomplishment on behalf of his constituents over the course of his tenure. Ms. Seamans is a fresh face non career politician and a good choice for Amherst. And its well past time for a change in this position. Ratzenhofer should be arrested for mopery.

  2. jjtric says:

    Thank you. Sandra for catching the error about the length of time Mr.Ratzenhofer been in elected positions. It’s been since 1989.