April 5, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Albany, NY – In New York State’s perennially byzantine politics, the prospects of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour are entangled with the April 19 special election to fill a state Senate seat in Nassau County.
Democrat Todd Kaminsky is in a close race with Republican Christopher McGrath to replace convicted felon Dean Skelos—and if Senate Republicans block the increase, they’ll hand Kaminsky a popular issue. So might the GOP go along with raising the minimum? “There’s no question the political reality on Long Island is forcing the Republicans to pay attention to the needs of working families across the state,” said Sen. Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo). Conversely, some speculate that if the Senate agrees to the $15 minimum, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Local 1199SEIU might not campaign that hard for Kaminsky. “There would be much, much less of a reason for them to drop a significant amount of money,” a person involved in the minimum-wage campaign told the Buffalo News. A Kaminsky win would narrow the Republicans’ Senate majority to one seat, that of Democratic turncoat Simcha Felder of Brooklyn. Read more