If you want to find out what your local Assemblymember is up to, chances are you won’t find it at their assembly web site.
As of Friday, February 29, when a person logs onto the 18 Queens assemblymember sites, they will see that at the “What’s New” section, only four of the 18 representatives’ most recent items are from 2008.
“The Web presents a tremendous opportunity - and in this case a missed one - for legislators to keep their constituents informed and keep folks up to date on news from their district or public policy information that is happening in Albany,” said Neal Rosenstein, an Election Specialist with the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG).
Assemblymember Anthony Seminerio, who represents portions of western Queens, is one of the biggest culprits in not updating his site, according to an examination of all of the Queens Assembly sites.
Seminerio’s most recent posting is his news and notes - updated June 9, 2006. In addition, his other two news items are news and notes from June 1, 2005 and a local report to the people from July 14, 2004.
Seminerio, 73, who has been in the Assembly for nearly 30 years, said that he was not familiar with his web site, and he never uses a computer. However, he said that using the Internet to keep constituents informed is not the end-all and be-all.
“I’m a low-level person in politics,” Seminerio said. “I don’t believe the sun sets or rises on me, but if you came off the street or came into my office, I’d say, ‘young man what is your problem and how can I help you?’”
Although Seminerio’s news site received the fewest updates, he certainly was not alone.
Assemblymember Jeffrion Aubry’s latest news was a report to the people in August of 2007. Assemblymembers Nettie Mayersohn and William Scarborough tout summer reading challenges from May of 2007 as their second news item. Assemblymember Ann Margaret Carrozza has two items about spreading holiday cheer in November and Halloween safety tips from October.
Meanwhile, only Assemblymember Rory Lancman, Michael Gianaris, Catherine Nolan and Ellen Young have updated their sites with news items from this year.
Lancman, who is in his first term in the Assembly, has one of the most updated sites, with three news items including his opposition to budget cuts for city schools and a meeting with Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd that have taken place within the past month.
“It’s our policy to keep the people I represent informed of what I’m up to,” Lancman said. “The Internet and technology is something that I and the people that work in my office are very comfortable with.”
To find out information on your State Assembly representative, go to http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/ and then click on the name of your representative.