2018 Awards
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Announcing the 2018 Recipient

Senator John Bonacic 
being honored at the NYSDRA Annual Conference
with the Lawrence Cooke Peace Innovator Award

We are very pleased to announce that New York State Senator John Bonacic is the 2018 recipient of the Lawrence Cooke Peace Innovator Award, which honors an individual or organization that has provided innovative leadership in the field, based upon a local or NYS state-based initiative, innovative in terms of a new practice in ADR or application of ADR practices in a new area, setting or population.  

Senator Bonacic will be honored at the 2018 NYSDRA Annual Conference, rapidly approaching on October 23-24, 2018. 

About Our Recipient
John Bonacic represents Sullivan County, ten towns and two cities in Orange County, six towns in Ulster County, and six towns in Delaware County. He was born in New York City and grew up in the Hell's Kitchen area of Manhattan. He went to Iona College on an academic and basketball scholarship. He was the recipient of Iona's Economics Medal for his undergraduate work and graduated Magna Cum Laude. After college, he worked for Orange and Rockland Utilities, while attending Fordham Law School at night.

Upon graduation from Fordham, John and his family moved to Orange County where he served as an Assistant District Attorney and on the Town of Mount Hope Planning Board. He later served in the Orange County Legislature (1973 - 1989), where he was Majority Leader and Chairman. He served in the NYS Assembly from 1990 - 1998, and was elected to the State Senate in 1998.

In the Senate, Senator Bonacic has championed causes relating to healthcare, property tax relief, and housing. He has negotiated agreements which kept two rural hospitals in his Senate District open - Ellenville and Margaretville; and also negotiated the re-opening of the hospital in Sidney, now known as Tri-Town Regional Hospital. He also led the effort to affiliate Catskill Regional Medical Center with the Orange Regional Medical Center, and created a public-private partnership to make substantial improvements to Catskill Regional Medical Center’s emergency room services. He was the original Senate sponsor of the Women's Health and Wellness Act, leading a four year effort within the Senate to pass this comprehensive healthcare legislation. The legislation was reported on by the NY Times, Times Union, Times Herald Recordand The Daily Star, and featured nationally on NBC Nightly News.

As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Housing, Construction, and Community Development, Senator Bonacic sponsored legislation which allowed for the creation of thousands of new housing opportunities for New Yorkers across the State. He has also taken a strong interest in changing the way schools are funded because he sees the property tax as an obstacle to home ownership. He has helped develop legislation which passed the Senate to eliminate the property tax that homeowners pay to operate their local schools. He also sponsored the Access to Homes law. That law provides financial assistance to disabled individuals, including disabled war veterans, who need upgrades to their home to make them adaptable to their physical challenges.

In 2011, Senator Bonacic was named Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. In that capacity, he is responsible for oversight of the Governor’s Judicial Nominations, as well as all proposed Constitutional Amendments, as well as matters relating to the practice of law in New York State. He is also Chairman of the Senate Committee on Racing, Wagering and Gaming. That Committee has oversight of the State’s horse racing industry, as well as casino gaming in New York State.

Senator Bonacic resides with his wife, Pat, in Mount Hope, Orange County. They have two adult children, Scott and Melissa, and three grandchildren - Cameron, Dylan and Tyler.

Standing Committees Assignments 2017: Judiciary (Chairman); Racing, Gaming and Wagering (Chairman); Rules; Finance; Housing; Banks; Children and Families; Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. 

Past Recipients:

2017 Susan Herman
2016 Jody Miller
2015 Lisa Hicks-Yackel
2014 Sherry Walker-Cowart
2013 Roz Magidson
2012 John McCullough
2011 Mark Kleiman
2010 Mark Collins
2009 Judy Saul
2008 Maria Volpe
2007 Duke Fisher
2006 Michele Kirschbaum and Lourdes Rivera-Putz
2005 Judge Sharon S. Townsend, District Administrative Judge
2005 Judge Janice Rosa, Supreme Court Justice
2004 Justice Doris Ling-Cohan and Justice Fern Fisher
2003 Sandy Mindell and Herbert Israel
2002 Judge Joseph Lauria




Contact the NYSDRA Office with any questions:  info@nysdra.org