May 20, 2020
In this special issue:
  • On The Ground: The Economic Outlook for Columbia County
  • #GetBackToWork (ToDo#1)
  • Change The Conversation - Deep Canvassing (ToDo#2)
  • A look back at the Gratitude Caravan at Columbia Memorial
 Join our next
ICNY Virtual Community Meeting
on Zoom*

On The Ground: The Economic Outlook


Wednesday May 20, 7:00pm

This session will feature a panel of speakers who serve on the newly organized Columbia Comeback council. Columbia Comeback is an advisory council formed as a resource for county businesses as they navigate this difficult time.  We'll also have a number of county small business owners and stakeholders to offer their perspective.

Panel of speakers

Michael Tucker, President & CEO of the Columbia Economic Development Council.  Mike has served as President & CEO of the CEDC since 2015, after 8 years as President & CEO of the Center for Economic Growth.  Prior to joining CEG, he served as president and CEO of the Harriman Research and Technology Development Corp., a subsidiary of Empire State Development.  Mike graduated from Villanova University and the Villanova School of Law.

Tistrya Houghtling, New Lebanon Town Supervisor.  Tistrya is a New Lebanon native, the former town clerk and part-time teacher.

Kamal Johnson, Mayor, City of Hudson.  Kamal is a Hudson native. Kamal began working as a peer counselor at Planned Parenthood, attended SUNY New Paltz, and later helped lead Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood, a non-profit assisting Hudson children.

There will be an ample Q & A period for this event, which is scheduled to last for 75 minutes.

Join our virtual Zoom* Community Meeting
On The Ground: Economic Outlook
When: Wednesday, May 20 at 7:00pm
Click here to join us:
or go to: and click "Join a Meeting"

If prompted, click to "allow and run a download from Zoom"
On the home page click to "Join" a Meeting

Enter the Meeting ID:
 846 2826 7627
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You will enter a "waiting room" for a few minutes.  Please be patient and we'll connect you to the meeting.

+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)

See additional Zoom tips below.

On Wednesday, May 20th, Please join INDIVISIBLE GROUPS all over the state in contacting our NYS Legislators to #GetBackToWork.
CALL (there is a very helpful phone script) and TWEET (hashtags listed).
BACKGROUND: It’s been over 40 days since the NYS Legislature was in session (they passed the budget April 2), and only 2 weeks (June 2) until they are scheduled to adjourn until January. Meanwhile, over 20,000 people have died in New York from COVID-19, more than 1.5 million New Yorkers have filed for unemployment, rent is due (again) in 2 weeks, and Governor Cuomo will be releasing major budget cuts in a matter of days.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been advocating for our legislators to #GetBackToWork, because in times of crisis above all Democracy Is Essential. We’ve organized with our allies, held a People’s Recovery Town Hall series to highlight the most pressing issues New Yorkers face, and pushed our legislators in meetings. But still they have not set a firm date to return to session..
With major social service holes left in the wake of the state budget and a desperate need for continued legislation to address the recovery needs of our communities, it’s unacceptable that the legislature, despite their professed “commitment,” has yet to return to...well, legislating. Now more than ever, we need our legislators to get back to work, and pass laws that will:
  • Alleviate the devastation to New Yorkers’ health and economic well being that COVID-19 continues to inflict
  • Make the ultra-wealthy shoulder their fair share of the necessary revenue through an ultra-millionaires tax 
  • Empower themselves to protect the budget going forward
  • Pass laws that protect our democracy and ensure sufficient measures are in place to enable voting in both primary and General Elections.

Graphic: Download Here
Call 1. Find Your Assembly Members In-District Office Number Here
Call 2. Find Your State Senator’s In-District Office Number Here

Script: Hi, my name is ________ and I am a constituent from zip code _________. 

If a staffer picks up: Thank you for working during this time; I hope you’re safe and healthy. I want to tell [my rep] that we need them and their colleagues back in session. The COVID19 crisis has created challenging circumstances, and too much is at stake to let even another week pass without working to enact essential legislation that will support our struggling communities. [You can pick one or more than one from below- whatever you feel most comfortable talking about!]:
  • Alleviate the pain of COVID-19: New Yorkers have been waiting weeks- if not months- for their unemployment insurance. Rent is due- again- on June 1st. I am so grateful for the hard work [my rep] is doing in the district, but he/she is the only one who can legislate. We need legislative action to address the COVID-19 crisis, now.
·         Ask: will [my rep] let Speaker Heastie/Leader Stewart-Cousins know they are ready to get back into session, to vote on bills that are ready to come to the floor and to negotiate consensus on those that are in committee?
  • Get the ultra-wealthy to pay their share: for too long New York’s budget has been balanced on the backs of the working class. Now, as our state faces a $13 billion shortfall, Governor Cuomo essentially promised significant cuts to education and healthcare. We cannot assume that federal assistance will be sufficient to bail us out; we need to raise revenue here in New York, and that starts with passing an ultra-millionaires tax. 
·         Ask: has [my rep] signed on to a version of the ultra-millionaires tax? Are they working to rally consensus around one bill and push for a same-as bill in the other chamber??
  • Empower themselves to protect New York’s budget: Cuomo’s austerity budgets serve the billionaires, not real New Yorkers. It’s time to rebalance the power of our budget process so we can invest in long term, systemic solutions for the working class.
·         Ask: will [my rep] fight for alternatives to punishing cuts to the current budget, and fight to ensure the passage of the Constitutional Amendment to re-balance budgetary powers?

If you leave a voicemail: Hi, my name is _____ and I am calling to urge [my rep] to fight for a fully active legislative body, working remotely, doing the people’s work. It’s been over a month since the state legislature last voted on bills, and we need them back NOW to pass laws that will:
·         alleviate the pain of COVID-19, 
·         get the ultra-wealthy to pay their share, and
·         empower legislators to protect New York’s budget with a constitutional amendment to re-balance the budgetary powers

Despite claims of commitment on twitter and media interviews, the legislature is not back in session and has set no firm date for its return. Meanwhile, our communities continue to struggle in ways that legislation could significantly alleviate. I recognize that the COVID19 crisis has created challenging circumstances but too much is at stake. Thank you.


Important Link

Click here to find a list of food pantries in Columbia County: 
Food in the Time of Coronavirus

Every donation helps.

Change The Conversation - Deep Canvassing

We’ve all been wondering what the heck to do about the presidential campaign now that door knocking is out and most of us dread phone banks. However! Thanks to my friend and fellow activists in New Lebanon, Julie Fraad and Ed Higgins, I was introduced more than a year ago to Change the Conversation Together, (, which is a non-profit that has developed and is promoting and training people to do “deep canvassing.” And let me say at the outset - if this project doesn't interest you, but you think it might interest someone you know - pass this email on; post the links on social media, etc. 

This is a form of canvassing based on building rapport through storytelling - connecting to voters through your own story and theirs. I attended a virtual information session last night. I liked the founder and director very much - and I was impressed with their track record and their focussed ambitions.   Their goal is to have conversations with 10,000 voters, primarily in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, which Obama won in 2012 by about 287,000 votes, and Hillary won by about 2000 votes - a true swing county in an extremely important state. 10,000 voters may require as many as 150,000 phone calls! But apparently people are both answering the phone more and staying on the phone longer (so I learned in the info session!) Here is a link to their website: You can find the calendar of info sessions and storytelling workshops on the website  or go straight to sign up for an info session here:  . 

Given the pandemic, they are pivoting to phone calls - a tall order, but a necessary one. I urge you to check it out - go to the website, and or attend an info session. you can attend with no commitment to any future work - but you’ll be impressed. 

Once you go to an info session, you can opt for a storytelling training session. And before you get on the phone, you will get more training. If you end up still not wanting to talk to voters, they have other work for you to do!

- - Adelia Moore
Enjoy a heartwarming show of support for our county medical workers.  Thanks to the Columbia County Democratic Committee and special thanks to Brenda Gevertz of ICNY for helping produce this event.
More on the Gratitude Caravan.
How to join a Zoom meeting

Please note that Zoom is improving their security with end-to-end encryption as of May 30th.  You may be asked to update your software to Version 5.0.  The new version will be required as of May 30th.

* Haven't done a Zoom meeting before?  Don't worry, many of us are new to this.  You can join the meeting on your phone with audio only, or you can join with a smartphone, tablet or computer and have a choice of video or audio, or both.

We do not need you to RSVP.  Just log in and join.  We ask that you join the meeting a few minutes before 7:00 to allow a prompt start time.

If you plan to use a smartphone or tablet, you can download the Zoom Cloud Meetings App.  Or you can just open Zoom ( in your browser and enter the ID and password (if needed) there.

To join by phone only (you won’t be able to see people or visuals) we will provide a phone number to call and a meeting ID in the Wednesday email.  This may be a good option if your internet is slow or unstable.  You can still participate, press *9 to raise your hand, or *6 to mute or unmute yourself.

If you have any questions before Wednesday, please email us at and we will try to help.


A few tips.  Once you are in the Zoom window, there will be a tool bar - usually at the bottom of your window.  Can't see it?  Try hovering your cursor near the bottom, or it may be on the side.  The toolbar will give you the opportunity to mute yourself, to allow your computer to show your face (if your phone or computer has a camera), or to hide it and just show your name.

And of course, this is Columbia County and we realize not everyone has great internet connectivity.  So if you choose a video feed, you may have more trouble staying connected.  The toolbar also offers the option to go audio only.

If you want to explore ahead of time, here are a couple of very short videos on How to Join a Zoom Meeting, and a primer on Getting Started with Windows and Mac.

Finally, Zoom has taken a number of steps of late to help make these calls more secure.  One important step is that, upon login in with the ID and password (if needed), you will first go into an online "waiting room".  Please be patient and you will shortly be admitted to the meeting by our administrative Host.


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