Democrat seeking Griffo's Senate seat blasts GOP constitutional convention proposal
Friday, June 25, 2010 - 5:05 pm

A Democrat seeking to unseat state Sen. Joe Griffo, R-Utica, says a Republican proposal for a constitutional convention is a bad idea.

State GOP leaders want a provision for fast-tracked constitutional convention placed on the ballot next fall, according to the Utica Observer Dispatch.

But Maria Pavelock, the endorsed Democratic candidate running for the 47th district state Senate seat says “This might seem like a simple solution, but the reality is that it would simply shift responsibility away from our elected representatives to somebody else.”

The 47th district includes the eastern portion of St. Lawrence County, including Potsdam and Massena.

A new bill introduced by state Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua, could fast-track the vote for a constitutional convention and put the convention question on the ballot this year, the Observer Dispatch reported.

Responded Pavelock in a prepared statement, “Given the historic crisis facing this state, it¹s not surprising that some elected representatives, frustrated with their inability to act effectively, seek drastic solutions such as a constitutional convention.”

She continued, “No matter what the enabling legislation says, once such a convention begins it is almost impossible to limit its scope. Who knows what direction its members will decide to take? Advocates for a constitutional convention must also consider its cost in time and money. This money would be better spent getting our fiscal house in order.

“Moreover, it would take at least a year or two before their work could be completed, and then it would have to be approved. If the ‘new’ constitution were rejected, we¹d be back to square one and we'd have squandered precious time. If constitutional conventions were straightforward and efficient ways to solve budgetary and fiscal problems they would be used more regularly. They are not.

“It’s particularly distressing when those elected specifically to deal with the state¹s problems look to others to do what they cannot or will not. What is an office holder saying when he or she runs for re-election on the platform of it’s somebody else’s job? All of the changes we need to make to fix state government can and should be made by those whom we elect.”