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Student Leadership Academy
Developing Leaders for a Changing World

New York State Model Senate Session Project Participants 2011

New York State Model Senate Session Project 2011
Participants from Hostos Community College 2011
Issue for Debate: Redistricting

The Stellar Six participate in a debate on the important issue of redistricting New York State.

Enoch Sowah Enoch Sowah (D, WF) represented District 21 and sat in the seat of New York State Senator Kevin S. Parker. Enoch debated diligently on the floor for a plan to redistrict the state “right now” and not “ten years from now.” He made a strong case that the Senate had an obligation to immediately serve their constituents, by being forthright and honest and taking action to implement a plan that would redistrict the state fairly and not based on the notion that certain redistricting could offer better election results. Enoch’s debate was so compelling that he was featured in the Albany Times Union Newspaper. Enoch is from Ghana, West Africa and has a desire to eliminate corruption from politics all over the world. He is an active member in the Hostos Student Leadership Academy as an Ambassador and he was a member of a team of students who participated in the National Model United Nations in spring 2011, representing Burkina Faso in New York. Enoch is a 2011-2012 Kaplan Leadership Program Fellow and has plans to study at Harvard when he graduates.

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Michele Quintero Williams Michele Quintero Williams (R, C, IP) was selected to serve as the representative from District 51 and sat in the seat of New York State Senator James L. Seward. Michele was also given the privilege of serving as Majority Whip and was put in the position of working closely with all of her fellow members on the Republican side to make redistricting a reality by voting for bill MS-15. She debated vigorously for the rights of individuals who live in communities and the need for those individuals to be allowed to make the choices for the communities that they live in. Michele made the case that the politics of the issue was being used to create a log jam in the movement of the plan to redistrict New York State. She asked that an Independent Commission be formed to evaluate the district lines of the state and that a Constitutional amendment be put in place to maintain certain lines in order for the people of New York State to have fair and equitable representation. Michele is a singer, actress and a student of politics. She is currently working in the office of Assembly member Nelson Castro (as part of the Somos Puerto Rican Hispanic Task Force Summer Internship Program) and has worked for City Council member Ydanis Rodriguez. Michele won a five hundred dollar scholarship for an essay that he wrote regarding his position in the Model Senate. Michele’s full bio can be seen here: http://www.hostos.cuny.edu/profiles/stu_mquintero.html.

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Ruben Suazo Ruben Suazo (R, C, IP) represented District 42 and sat in the seat of New York State Senator John J. Bonacic. Ruben made a case against gerrymandering in New York State politics and debated that time needed to be taken to consider all of the issues facing the state when redistricting. He argued that it is better politics to consider all of the angles and to work against hasty decision making, in order to amend the constitution, so that a more concrete set of decisions could be made and that the sensationalistic nature of the issue could be avoided. Ruben also made a clear cut case that the plan by the Democratic side was unconstitutional, because it violated the tenets of the outline for how districts were drawn. He made a case that it was necessary to have a Constitutional Amendment put in place in order for there to be equality in New York State. Ruben was a participant in the National Model United Nations team in spring 2011 as a member of a team that represented Burkina Faso. Ruben has a desire to study International Relations and Politics.

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Aboudoubaki Boukari Aboudoubaki Boukari (D, WF) represented New York Senate District 14 and sat in the seat of New York State Senator Malcolm A. Smith. Aboudoubaki voted against Bill MS-15 because he felt that waiting 10 years to initiate a Constitutional Amendment, would not help the people of New York State. He argued vigilantly for the people of New York State and appealed to the members of the opposition party to look within to come to a consensus and vote in accordance with the “dictates of their principles.” Aboudoubaki used simple language and a distinguished demeanor to establish a justification for his position and worked to sway the opinions of every other member in the chamber. Aboudoubaki is from Togo, West Africa and served the National Model United Nations in Washington, D.C., representing Ghana, West Africa in the fall of 2010 and in the National Model United Nations in New York in spring 2011, representing Burkina Faso. He is the winner of the 2011 Non-Traditional Leader award.

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Daisy Fuentes Daisy Fuentes (R, C) represented District 53 and sat in the seat of New York State Senator Thomas F. O'Mara. Daisy voted yes for Bill MS-15, because she believed that in order to be honest and equitable the entire body of the Senate must vote in favor of redistricting for the long term, because it would be shortsighted to try to resolve the issue in the short term, without giving due diligence to all of the issues involved in moving the district lines of the state. She indicated, strongly, within her speech that it is not effective to apply a “desperate times call for desperate measures” attitude because it is not an accepted tenet in the body of the senate. Daisy also indicated that she was willing to do anything for the people of her district; to insure that they get fair representation. Daisy is studying Liberal Arts at Hostos and is originally from Mexico. She is a mother and is working towards becoming a Registered Nurse. She is a Hostos Student Ambassador and an executive in the Mexican Club.

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David Mendez David Mendez (R) represented District 44, sitting in the seat of New York State Senator Hugh T. Farley and argued that it is in the best interest of the politicians and all of the citizens of  New York to permanently amend the Constitution. He expressed a desire to reach out to the vast minority groups within the state and keep their interests in mind when they vote, because so many people would be displaced from their natural communities, due to the redistricting process. He heeded those who favored a “rush job” and made it clear that “haste makes waste” in state politics. David is a veteran, who served in the U.S. Army during the Persian Gulf Era. He currently serves as an executive of the Veterans Club and he has aspirations of moving into the political arena in his future. David is also serving in a summer internship (as part of the Somos Puerto Rican Hispanic Task Force Summer Internship Program) at the office of Assemblyman Jose Rivera. David won a five hundred dollar scholarship for an essay that he wrote regarding his position in the Model Senate.

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Nicole Campudoni and Nadia Garcia were selected, but were unable to participate.
   

Model Senate logoThe Model New York State Senate Session Project is an annual leadership development program, run by the ETR Internship Program in collaboration with the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force of the New York State Legislature and the State University of New York. Each year, more then 60 CUNY and SUNY students are brought together for a series of intensive training seminars on stare policy formulation, legislative processes, representation and leadership. CUNY students are selected for participation from their home campuses through the offices of their respective college presidents, provosts and student affairs officers. The ETR Internship Program coordinates the selection process for CUNY. The seminars include visits from prominent NYS legislators and guest lecturers. The program culminates with students debating bills on the floor of the New York State Senate chamber in Albany. Participating students are also given the opportunity to compete for scholarship awards. Through participation in the process of legislative decision-making, students further their organizational, research and public speaking skills by means of a model legislative seminar. By working on a legislative agenda that they develop, the students play an integral role in their pursuit of a public service education. Moreover, they are introduced to a “hands-on” approach to involvement in the political and policy processes that affect them, their families and their communities.

For More Information on the New York State Model Senate Session Project, or to fill out an application, please visit: http://www.etrinternship.org/html/modelsen.htm

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