“The New Roosevelt Initiative”
Reforming Politics in New York
Richard J. Garfunkel
WVOX – AM Radio 1460- 12 Noon Wednesday
October 13, 2010
All archived shows at:
On Wednesday, October 13, 2010, at 12:00 Noon, I will be hosting my show he Advocates on WVOX- 1460 AM, and you can also listen to the program’s worldwide, live streaming at www.wvox.com. One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio. My guest is Bill Samuels, entrepreneur, political activist and the founder of the New Roosevelt Initiative.
<?xml:namespace prefix = v ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml” />Bill Samuels has a lifetime of experience as a successful businessman and CEO, high tech entrepreneur, innovative political thinker and activist. Born and raised in Canandaigua, and currently living in NYC with his wife Marie and his daughter Kitty, Bill’s family and political roots are deeply anchored in upstate New York. His great-grandparents were from Fulton, NY, where his great-grandfather ran for mayor, and his father Howard founded a plastics company, Kordite, in Victor, just outside of Rochester. With products like Baggies and Hefty Trash Bags, in its time Kordite (now Pactiv) was a major employer in upstate NY and today is one of the largest plastics companies in the United States.
As an undergraduate at MIT, Bill earned degrees in political science, economics and engineering, before attending Harvard Law School to get his JD. After graduation, while growing his small business into a major international corporation, Bill became active in the movement against the Vietnam War, raising money to finance the 1971 Vietnam Veterans Against the War March on Washington, one of the pivotal moments in the anti-war movement.
As a socially-responsible entrepreneur and business owner, Bill became one of the founders of the Council on Economic Priorities (CEP). For over 30 years, CEP was the premiere public interest organization focusing on companies’ policies on the environment, women & minority advancement, corporate disclosure of information, labor relations, family benefits, and worker rights.
He built ACTV, a cutting-edge interactive education and media company. Working with investors such as the Washington Post, the company developed some of the core intellectual property for interactive television and the web including two of the first fifty patents issued on the internet, before being sold to an affiliate of Liberty Media in 2002.
Bill is currently working with his brother, Howard Samuels, to found the Hills Treatment Center in Los Angeles, a facility dedicated to helping people overcome addiction, and he serves as chairman of Resonant Software, Inc., a provider of creative productivity software to financial services businesses.
While developing these businesses, Bill has remained involved in progressive politics, fundraising for Democratic candidates and speaking out on key issues. In the 2004 Presidential campaign, many Democrats were outraged by the “swiftboating” and lies of the Republican Party against John Kerry. Bill, who had known Kerry since his anti-war activities in the 1970’s, responded with action, producing the documentary Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry. After the 2004 elections, Bill turned his attention to state politics, working with Eliot Spitzer to raise money to help the Democratic Party regain the State Senate. He funded the launch of The Albany Project, one of the leading political blogs in the country, and founded the Blue Tiger Democrats, an innovative grassroots organization designed to reconnect the Party to its communities.
In the 2008 elections, Bill served as Finance Chairman for the New York Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, leading to Democrats gaining control of the State Senate for the first time in decades. In this role, Bill developed a deep understanding of the structural problems in the legislature that prevent good people from running for office, and ultimately corrupt so many of the people who do choose to run.
Recognizing the kind of fundamental structural change that is needed, Bill has launched the New Roosevelt Initiative, a multi-year campaign to achieve critical reforms in New York’s fiscal practices, ethics rules, redistricting policies and campaign finance, allowing our Legislature to regain the integrity, functionality and common sense the voters are demanding. His goal is simple – through direct electoral work, elect the “New Roosevelts” – individuals who will approach government and elective office with the integrity and dedication we need to give our state the best legislature in the nation.
Meanwhile, the mission of The Advocates is to bring to the public differing views on current “public policy “issues. “Public policy,” therefore, is what we as a nation legally and traditionally follow.
My essays on FDR and other subjects at can be accessed at http://www.richardjgarfunkel.com. One can also listen to all of the archived shows at: http://advocates-wvox.com.
Next week, my guest will be Michael Cohen speech writer, political commentator, and author of Live from the Campaign Trail: the Greatest Presidential Campaign Speeches of the 20th Century.