The 2020 Joseph R. Sugar Day in Albany!

NMEA is proud to be an active part of the annual Joe Sugar day in Albany. Every year, on the first Monday in March we take the trip to visit our legislators from around the county to advocate for music education on behalf of the music students in our county and around the state. The NMEA effort in Albany is spearheaded by Ken Pollitt, (retired, Jericho).

The purpose of the NMEA Government Relations Coalition is to develop positive relationships with elected officials. We forge these relationships regardless of party. Music is, after all, the language of all people. The purpose of these relationships is to ensure that decisionmakers will remember to consider the music education needs of our students.

Here were some of the ideas that we spoke about this year in Albany:

  • We represent almost 2 million students from New York State enrolled in music. Approximately 20,000 students in Nassau County participate in the NYSSMA solo festival.
  • Senate Bill 5770 and “same-as” Assembly Bill 9660  “adds arts and music education as a common school branch that should be incorporated into the public school curriculum to provide a more well-rounded education for children.” NMEA and NYSSMA are excited these bills have received such broad support. We are even more excited that legislators from Nassau County have shown support for this bill as well – including a few legislators who signed on as sponsors as a result of our day in Albany.
  • We believe that our message is
    • Simple All Children deserve a quality Music Education.
    • Strong: Strong Music programs are demanded by parents and community members in Nassau County
    • Supportive: We believe that reciprocal support gets the job done! We look forward to inviting decisionmakers to our events!

Here’s how you can get involved:

  1. Know who your “people” are!
    1. Here’s mapping tool put out by the NYS Board of Elections
    2. Here’s the NYS Assembly Search
    3. Here’s the NYS Senate Search
    4. Here’s a GREAT pdf that lists Long Island Senators and Assembly Members by School District.
  2. It takes less than 5 minutes to make a call to an elected official! Just call their number, and tell the person who picks up that you are constituent and that you support the bill S5770 and A9660, and that you hope the Assembly Member or Senator does, too. Check HERE and HERE first to make sure you’re not asking them to support something they already support! If they do support it, a phone call to say thank you would go a long way.
  3. Check out the NYSSMA GRC Page That’s a great place to learn your stuff!
  4. Sign up to come to next year’s Joe Sugar Day in Albany. You can choose the Free Bus which picks up early on Monday morning and comes home that same night, or you can stay with NMEA at the Comfort Inn in Cohoes for a very good rate. Next Year’s Date: March 1st, 2021. Look for signup information in the Noteworthy, and in your email, starting in January of 2021. By attending you will truly get a new appreciation for the work that NMEA and NYSSMA do on behalf of our music students.