Schumer ready for leadership debate

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY., speaks during the second day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Tuesday, July 26, 2016.
Associated Press / J. Scott Applewhite, File

With completion of both the presidential and vice presidential debates, voters might now be decided about which of the two presidential candidates might pose a clear and present danger to their future after the Nov. 8 election.

In addition to voting a national leader, on that date, New Yorkers will also have to select the best candidate to represent the state in the Senate.

Four candidates seek the job – Libertarian Party’s Alex Merced, Green Party candidate Robin Laverne Wilson, Republican Wendy Long and incumbent Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer.

As with the previous national debates, only the Republican and Democratic candidates will be allowed to present their platform during a public, live debate slated for Oct. 30.

Viewers will be able to see and hear the discourse on television station NY1 during a live, hour-long forum from Union College in Schenectady. The last of the political campaign face-off before a live audience will reportedly seat an audience of approximately 250 potential voters.

Although less publicized than the acid contests between businessman Republican Donald Trump and Democrat and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the stakes are high for New Yorkers desirous of having a reliable spokesperson when the national conversation begins in Washington D.C.

Long has been a consistent contender, she has campaigned and persistently fought for this seat. She is a fierce supporter of her party’s presidential choice. She has reportedly defended many of Trump’s proposals and is alleged to be as determined on issues related to immigration, taxes and gun control.

And while her election would shore up a Republican majority in the senate, a defeat would add glory to New York’s senior representative.

Sen. Schumer has never lost an election.

He was victorious in 1974 on his first outing running for the New York State Assembly. At that time, at age 23 he emerged the youngest member of that body since Theodore Roosevelt.

In 1980, at age 29, he ran for and won a seat in the House of Representatives, representing Brooklyn and Queens in N.Y.’s 9th Congressional District.

He spent 18 years in the House before winning election to the Senate in 1998 and then two subsequent elections in 2004 and 2010.

Sen. Schumer is pro choice and sponsored legislation to make the blockading of family planning clinics a federal crime.

If re-elected, Sen. Schumer would be the first senator from New York to hold the top spot of either majority or minority leader.

Regardless of which political party wins, Sen. Schumer will rise to the top.

His hope is that Clinton returns to the White House as the first spouse of a president to ever win leadership, and that he will definitely lead the charge for his party’s agenda on Capitol Hill.

As majority leader, Sen. Schumer would have nearly total control of what legislation moves to the Senate floor.

There are 34 Senate seats up for grabs, 24 of them held by Republicans.

Democrats need to gain four Senate seats in order to get to 50-50 (a Democratic vice president would be the tie breaker tie) or a better scenario would be a winning five seats for outright control.

Right now, Republicans in the Senate command a 54-44 majority. With two independents caucusing with the Democrats, the actual majority is 54-46.

When asked recently about why he is not actively campaigning to keep his seat, the incumbent and likely shoo-in responded:

“I always find the best thing, the best way to get re-elected is just do your job,” Sen. Schumer said. “That’s what I’m doing now. I’m not overtly campaigning.”

He added that: “My colleagues have already committed to making me the Democratic leader. I’m very flattered and honored by that,” Sen. Schumer said. “Whether I’ll be majority leader or minority leader depends on what happens in the elections, how many seats the Democrats pick up.

Supporters are rallying to return Sen. Schumer to the senate because he has been vocal about gun control. He steered through passage of both the Assault Weapons Ban, which expired in September 2004 and the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. He was one of 16 senators to vote against the Vitter Amendment prohibiting confiscation of legally owned firearms during a disaster.

The 65-year-old, Brooklyn born politician has a few more things going for him, he is the author of the book, “Positively American: Winning Back The Middle-Class Majority One family at a Time.”

He was re-elected eight times from the Brooklyn and Queens-based district, which changed numbers twice in his tenure (it was numbered the 16th from 1981 to 1983, the 10th from 1983 to 1993 and the 9th from 1993).

He still uses a flip phone.

And he rarely uses email.

That he is the cousin of comedian and actress Amy Schumer might not hurt his chances.

Whether in the majority or the minority, Sen. Schumer will be the first senator from New York to hold a top party leadership position since senators started designating them in the early 1920s. The pre-Halloween, Sunday debate begins at 8 pm.

JetBlue Airline to Start Daily Round Trips Between JFK and Cuba

JetBlue Airlines is flying ahead with promises to take passengers to Cuba.

The airline will be the first US carrier to bring scheduled service to Cuba after more than 50 years.

Beginning Nov. 28, the premium airline will take passengers from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Jose Marti International Airport in Havana.

“The airline’s historic first flight to Cuba kicks off a new era in travel,” Robin Hayes, president and chief executive officer, JetBlue said.

“It’s remarkable that a startup airline less than 17 years old will mark Havana as its 100th destination,” Hayes added.

At only $99 each leg, the affordable flight is already in demand with Cubans and visitors anxious to see the Communist, Caribbean destination once reviled by the United States government.

“JetBlue continues to make Cuba more affordable for those who meet government travel requirements,” a JetBlue spokesperson said in a release.

And while New Yorkers will get first dibs on the bargain flight, one day after the flights begin from New York to Cuba, JetBlue will start non-stop service to Havana from Orlando and then on Nov. 30, to Havana from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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