Monday, April 26, 2010

SD-46: Luke Martland Makes It Official

Albany Native to Challenge Assistant Majority Leader Breslin in Dem Primary

Yesterday, Luke Martland, a native of Albany, former Manhattan assistant DA and counsel to the Governor, made his official announcement that he will challenge State Sen. Neil D. Breslin in the 46th State Senate district, Albany County.

Martland has been hammering Breslin, whose two brothers hold the County Executive and Judgeship, in several press releases on as many issues for the past month. His announcement yesterday summarized these points and introduced even more. It also marks the first time a challenger to the entrenched incumbent has been given a full court press.

The full speech, announcement release, and links to extensive press coverage after years of giving Breslin a free pass are below the fold.

(Cross-posted on The Albany Project and DailyKos.)

Two years ago to the date, Sen. Breslin was facing his first-ever primary challenge to his seventh term. Yet no ink was spilled and no tape rolled until just a week before his election.

This time around, the Albany Times Union saw it fit to print and post to blogs. Choice excerpts:

Martland enters state Senate race
Ex-DA, Albany High grad says he'll fight to end government dysfunction

First published in print: Monday, April 26, 2010
ALBANY -- Luke Martland, a former Manhattan assistant district attorney who grew up in Albany, formally announced his candidacy Sunday for the Democratic nomination for state Senate in the 46th District.

Martland, who promised to fix what he called a broken state government system, will face seven-term-incumbent Neil Breslin in a September primary election.
Martland, a graduate of Albany High as well as Princeton University and Brooklyn Law School, quickly took aim at Breslin.
Breslin could not be reached for comment Sunday evening. However, he has been a critic of dysfunction in state government. He loudly denounced Pedro Espada Jr. during the Senate coup crisis, and he called for Hiram Monserrate to resign in October, immediately following his misdemeanor assault conviction.

With regard to that last snipped paragraph, the TU really should have referred to Martland’s prior statements regarding Sen. Breslin’s political flip-flop on his vote to make Sen. Espada the Majority Leader after he engineered the coup. They also still have yet to mention that Breslin was the buffoon with the gavel in his hands that fateful day.

That and the print story is still somewhat buried in the local section, but a teaser with color photo does appear on the front-page, so when all is said and done it is a vast improvement from last cycle’s virtual blackout. I believe it is also a harbinger of future coverage, and perhaps an indicator that this race will fast become the political story in Albany County this year.

In contrast to the dead trees version, the TU Local Politics blog has consistently augmented the press coverage well this year. Follow the link and you’ll find that this instance is no exception.

I was also struck by the amount of television cameras present. There was no broadcast coverage of Breslin’s first primary challenge. The fact that all major news channels were there this time around is another indication this primary is literally one to watch.

So far, only the local FOX affiliate, WXXA, has carried the story. I’m assuming that the other four stations I saw there are doing the right thing and are producing a segment for tonight’s broadcast. Stay tuned for updates to this blog for those links.

But enough about the press. Sometimes if you really want the whole story, you’ve got to go right to the source. That’s why I do what I do, and that’s why I close with a full transcript of Martland’s speech and his campaign announcement press release:

Luke Martland Announcement Speech
Sunday, April 25, 2010.

Thank you being here today and thank you for joining me as I kick off my campaign for New York State Senate. As many of you know, I have never run for office before. I grew up in Albany and am a proud product of the public school system … graduating from Albany High School.

After college, I worked my way through law school and then served as an Assistant District Attorney and Assistant Attorney General. I ran the State’s Sex Offender Registry at the Division of Criminal Justice Services. I have spent the last 20 years being an advocate - fighting to keep our streets and neighborhoods safe. I am now running for office to advocate and fight again. To advocate for the people of Albany County and to fight to fix our broken government.

New York State’s government is a national embarrassment. Every week brings a new scandal. This week’s shame? One of the leaders of the Senate stole $14 million in taxpayer money! $14 million! And yet the same Senators who made this man their leader, have refused to pass real ethics reform. Refused to police themselves. Refused to clean up the swamp of corruption in the State Capitol.

Nothing gets done because our legislature is the most dysfunctional in the country. The budget was due on April 1st. Yet almost one month later, there is no budget … the Republicans and Democrats can’t even agree when to meet, much less when to begin to negotiate. Parks are being closed, schools are facing massive layoffs, yet our Senators have taken almost 2 weeks of vacation during this same period. Layoffs, no budget … and yet the Senate, instead of getting to work, takes time off.

The state is drowning in debt yet Senators insist on spending billions on pork and favors for contributors and special interests.

The fact is …. nothing will change. Nothing will change and none of these problems will be fixed, until we change the people we elect to serve us.

Someone has to stand up and say “enough,” and fight to end the dysfunction, corruption and incompetence that is crippling New York. I am running because I decided to stand up and say “enough.”

What will I fight for, as your Senator?

I will fight to end the corruption and dysfunction. That means strong ethics reform, with independent oversight of the legislature. Right now the legislature polices itself and – we know that does not work.
I will fight to end these secret second jobs. Breslin is paid $100,000 a year in taxpayer funded salary, yet the Senate only meets 6 months a year. Even worse, like many of his cronies, Mr. Breslin, has a second job at a large law firm. Yet he keeps secret who his clients are, secret how much they pay him, and secret what he supposedly does for their mystery money.

I will be different. I will fight to end the custom of second jobs and require that all outside income is fully disclosed. And, I personally will go further. I promise not to have any outside job whatsoever … so that I am free of all conflicts of interest.
And, I will commit to being a full – time Senator. Working 12 months a year and fighting 24/7 to fix our State’s problems.

And, I will be a Senator who listens to, represents, and whose door is open to all communities and all the people of Albany County.

I will fight for term limits – the only way to clear out the entrenched professional politicians who are ruining this state. Regardless of whether my term limits law passes or not to term limit myself out of office. Senator Breslin ... he’s been in office 14 long years and just announced he’s running for re-election – that says it all.

I will fight to cut wasteful spending and to bring the massive state deficit under control.
Fight to end the unfunded mandates, regulations and irresponsible spending that not only drives up state taxes, but also drives local property taxes ever higher ... year after year.

Senator Breslin? In spite of a deep recession, Breslin increased state spending last year by more than $10 billion – a spending hike of 9% in just one year alone.

Most importantly, I will stand up and fight for the needs of the residents and taxpayers of Albany County. I will put them ahead of the special interests… or down state political leaders.

Senator Breslin? We all know that a few weeks ago he bravely stood up and said that he would never, never vote to cut school aid, and then only 2 weeks later voted to cut $1.4 billion in school aid. He flip flopped because the downstate political bosses told him to. He did not have the backbone to tell the political bosses where to go. I will.
I will not flip flop, I will not cave in, I will put the interests of Albany voters and residents first, and fight for our schools.

I am not a professional politician. I have served as an Assistant District Attorney, an Assistant Attorney General and head of the State’s Sex Offender Registry I fought to keep our streets and neighborhoods safe. I am now running so I can fight to fix our broken state government.

Our state is in crisis – a crisis brought on by the corruption, incompetence and dysfunction in our legislature. It is time for new leadership, energetic, ethical and hard working leadership. Time for someone who will fight for the people of Albany County and fight to get New York back on track. I am that person and that is why I am running. And that is why you are here today. With your help and your enthusiasm… together we will win.

Thank you very much.
The only thing I can add is for the benefit of those readers unable to view the YouTube recording of the speech above the fold: not only was the wording strong, but so was Martland’s delivery. He’s a natural, and the audience response was enthusiastic throughout.

Finally, the presser for those political junkies whose attention I still have:

Martland Announces Candidacy for New York State Senate
Promises to Fight to End the Corruption and Dysfunction in State Government

For immediate release: April 25, 2010
Contact: Larry Sombke 518-852-9274

(Albany) Luke Martland today formally announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for State Senate in the 46th District (Albany County). Martland will face seven-term-incumbent Neil Breslin in the September primary election.

“The New York State legislature is broken and dysfunctional. We need new leadership. That’s why I’m running for State Senate,” said Martland, a Democrat, who grew up in Albany, graduated from Albany High and worked his way through Princeton and Brooklyn Law School.

“Neil Breslin is assistant majority leader in the New York State Senate and he has done nothing to stop the politics as usual, pay to play ethical corruption and dysfunction that has come to plague state government,” said Martland who is a former Assistant District Attorney and Assistant Attorney General.

When Martland is State Senator he promises to:

Be a full-time senator and to work 24/7 to address the problems of Albany County and New York State;

Have no second job (unlike Senator Breslin);

Put the needs of the voters first, not the needs of political bosses, lobbyists and special interests;

Fight for real ethics reform and to end the Albany culture of corruption;

Fight for fair redistricting and put and end to gerrymandering;

Fight for term limits to end the “Albany life-time employment club,” including term limits on himself;

Be an independent senator and work in a bi-partisan manner to put an end to the bitter partisanship that plagues Albany;

Fight to eliminate wasteful pork barrel spending and handouts to special interests;

Work to cut wasteful spending beginning with the Legislature itself.

“New York’s government has become a national embarrassment. And yet the very politicians who caused these problems arrogantly expect us to keep re-electing them. The fact is nothing will change until we change the people who we elect to serve us. Neil Breslin has done nothing to tackle the problems New York faces or clean up the corruption and dysfunction in our government. It is time for new leadership – hardworking and ethical leadership. ” added Martland.

Luke Martland’s stand on issues can be found at

Luke Martland for Senate in on Facebook and Twitter.


Emphasis mine – SP

Now that’s what I call a return to leadership, both in the New York State Senate and in the Albany press corps. 2010 already looks like a monumental improvement over 2008.

You know, when I pulled into the parking lot at the Holiday Inn where the announcement took place, the parking lot attendants thought I was there for the comic book convention. While this isn’t surprising, I’m very glad to see that the media got rid of their own fantasyland and got back to work. And I’m glad to see a primary challenger taking off Breslin’s mask and showing the voters of Albany County that he really is no man of steel.

Stay tuned…another candidate, one Tim Carney, will also be making his own challenge official in the coming weeks (or even days!) and the media coverage might just be getting started.

Me? I’ve been on the beat from before the beginning, and I hope you will join me to the very end.

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