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Adirondack Explorer

Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

April, 2019

Gouverneur’s Rhoda Fox Graves, NYS Political Trailblazer (Conclusion)


The Ogdensburg Journal-Republican, forced to eat crow after rejecting Rhoda Graves’ claims of Warren Thayer’s corruption, applied twisted logic to justify their stance and the senator’s behavior. They opened with: “Senator Thayer has retired…. It was found that he was on the payroll of a utility corporation and, we feel, working against the interests of the average resident of this district who has been forced to pay unjust rates.” The words “we feel” simply did not apply. There was no question he had been putting the financial screws to his voters while protecting a power company and lining his own >>More


April, 2019

Rhoda Fox Graves, NYS Political Trailblazer (Part 4)


During Rhoda Fox’s efforts on behalf of the Republican Party from 1918 through 1923, there was plenty of praise for her in the media and no criticism, but she was a non-office holder. When she decided in 1924 to run for an Assembly seat, anti-woman resistance was evident, gently discouraging the idea by praising her activism but insisting the job was best done by a man. When she surprised most people and won, the anti-woman factions maintained their stance but were forced to grudgingly accepted her. Now, with the announcement of a run for the Senate, the kid gloves were >>More


March, 2019

Gouverneur’s Rhoda Fox Graves, NYS Political Trailblazer (Part 3)


After a year in office, Rhoda Graves won reelection to the New York State Assembly, while five other female GOP candidates elsewhere in the state lost. In January 1926, she sought the chairmanship of the social welfare committee, a position already held by a senior member (from Niagara) who was unwilling to surrender it. She was instead given charge of public institutions — not her preference, for sure — but chairing any committee was another historic first for New York women. Rhoda’s second year in office was an active one. She pushed a bill restricting the slaughter of tubercular cows >>More


March, 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, >>More


March, 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. Extreme unlikelihood? Well, consider that for the first two-thirds of her life, the groundbreaking events of the final third >>More


January, 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 >>More


January, 2019

Bill McKibbon to Discuss Climate Change in Plattsburgh


Last July I was fortunate enough to hear Bill McKibben speak about his latest book Radio Free Vermont at the Paul Smith’s College VIC. Though that particular talk was regarding a book of fiction, the conversation quickly turned to climate change. As the author of numerous books on the subject (notably The End of Nature), as well as founder of the international climate change organization 350.org, McKibben’s passion as an environmentalist and educator has seemed to come through with each word. I left the event wondering how I could help my children understand. My daughter recently came home after a >>More


November, 2018

2018 Elections: An Adirondack Council Perspective


The 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 >>More


December, 2017

Katie Wilson: Senate Tax Plan Reaction


Last Saturday I woke up to an overwhelming sense of dread and sadness over the state of our government that I hadn’t felt since about this time last year. In the dark of night the Senate voted to take away health care from 13 million people and increase the national debt by $1 trillion. They voted to further undermine the middle class and wage war on the poor. They also voted to give establishment donors a big Christmas present. We knew this bill was really just a donor reimbursement plan. In fact, Senator Graham told us so, himself. But it’s >>More


December, 2017

Remembering Maurice Hinchey, 1992 Adirondack Park Centennial


On November 22, we lost one of the finest legislators in my lifetime, U.S. Congressman and former chair of the NYS Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, Maurice Hinchey of Saugerties. He was, no doubt, flawed like any human being. But he had remarkable qualities and political skills that allowed him to reach many of his public goals benefiting the Adirondacks, the Catskills and beyond. My Adirondack career started in 1987. By that time, Assemblyman Hinchey had been a champion for the environment for well over a dozen years. All environmental legislation, including New York’s first-in-the-nation acid rain law of 1984 as >>More