Meet Greg

Gregory R. Ball was born in Pawling, New York, on September 16, 1977, and grew up on the family estate of Stephen and Jean Kennedy-Smith, sister of President John F. Kennedy, where his parents were both caretakers. A fifth generation New Yorker and the hardworking son of a postal worker, Greg graduated from public school and was the first in his family to graduate from college. He currently resides in Patterson, New York.

First elected to the New York State Senate in the fall of 2010 and re-elected in the fall of 2012, Greg represents the 40th Senate District comprised of portions of Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties. Senator Ball has twice been awarded New York’s State’s “Most Conservative Senator” by the New York State Conservative Party and twice rated New York State’s “Most Independent Senator” by the New York State Public Interest Group (NYPIRG). He is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security, and Military Affairs, and is one of only two State Senators appointed to Governor Cuomo’s Savings and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Committee.

Greg is a leader in Albany, fighting for comprehensive tax reform, innovative public private partnership legislation to build infrastructure and create jobs, the elimination of unfunded mandates, the reversal of New York’s openly hostile business climate, a reform of the legislature from top to bottom including term limits, and has been called a “hook and bullet” environmentalist for maintaining a stellar environmental record as well as being one of the legislature’s leading Second Amendment advocates, and serving as the Chairman of the New York Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus.

After graduating from Pawling High School, Greg first attended Valley Forge Military Academy and was both a 1996 Falcon Scholar and a member of the Army’s Reserve Officer Training Corps. As a Cadet at Valley Forge, Greg was granted a Congressional Nomination from Representative Sue Kelly, and was accepted to and attended the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA). There, he majored in Political Science with an emphasis on American Politics and Latin American Affairs. While attending USAFA, Greg worked in the White House Drug Policy Office, where he served as an intern during the Presidency of William Jefferson Clinton.

Greg graduated in 2001, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Air Force Academy. As a graduate student at Georgetown University, Greg was a Fellow in the Center for the Study of the Presidency from 2002 to 2003. Greg served as an Air Force Protocol Officer in the 11th Wing, working protocol for many four-star generals, including the Secretary of the Air Force and the Air Force Chief of Staff.  Over the course of his military career, Greg has received numerous awards including an Achievement Medal for outstanding service by General John P. Jumper, the Air Force Chief of Staff.  He is currently completing his Thesis for his Master’s of Arts in Liberal Studies with a concentration in International Affairs from Georgetown University.

After receiving an Honorable Discharge from Active Duty in January of 2005, Ball was recruited by the Antioch, Illinois based Exceed International, a commercial development corporation with a presence in the United States, India, Turkey and Tunisia. The Illinois based developer employed nearly 400 people in various fields such as project management, development, architecture, engineering, construction, government relations, finance, and technology. Eventually, Ball was elevated to Vice President, and led Exceed’s Northeastern United States division, opening an office in his hometown of Pawling, New York.

Upon returning home to New York, Greg soon announced his intention to seek public office. In 2005, Ball announced his candidacy for State Assembly and stated he would attempt to unseat the incumbent Assemblyman Will Stephens in a primary. Stephens’ family had held the seat nearly continuously for eighty years: his grandfather, D. Mallory Stephens, represented the district from 1926 to 1952; his father, Willis Stephens Sr., held the seat from 1952 to 1982; and Stephens himself served from 1994 to 2006.

On September 12, 2006, in the Republican Primary for New York’s 99th District, Ball defeated Stephens, a six-term incumbent, in a landslide with 70.4% (5,165 votes) to 29.6% (2,176 votes). From 2007 through 2010, Greg represented the 99th Assembly District as a Member of the New York State Assembly.  While serving in Public Office, Ball maintained a commission as an Officer in the Air Force Individual Ready Reserve (IRR).

Greg made illegal immigration a focal point of his bid for office actually fighting back local proposals to provide illegal aliens with free healthcare, education and training. In October of 2007, he strongly criticized Governor Spitzer’s statewide plan to give driver’s licenses to illegal aliens as a “homeland security nightmare”. Greg was at the forefront of the opposition to the plan, and his Manhattan based hearing as well as his statewide petition led to the Assembly Minority Conference’s decision to sue the Governor to stop the plan. Spitzer reversed his course and Greg continued his efforts to maintain New York State driver’s licenses as the most stringent in the nation.

As an Assemblyman in the super-minority, Greg passed major legislation into law, closing a loophole and strengthening penalties for human trafficking, outlawing cyber piracy, establishing stronger penalties for violations of the open meetings law, and reforming the budget process. As the Ranking Member of the Assembly Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Greg successfully fought for a historic $2 million fund to provide free undergraduate and graduate tuition to combat veterans at SUNY/CUNY schools.

Ball also leveraged his bully-pulpit to build large coalitions statewide for property tax reform, and proposed an inflation-indexed cap on spending and school and property tax increases known as the “New York State Property Taxpayers Protection Act” similar to the measure adopted by Massachusetts and fourteen other states. With only a few co-sponsors, Ball was on the cutting edge of what would eventually become known as the “Property Tax Cap” supported and passed by large margins in both houses and with Governor Cuomo’s support in 2011.

Locally, Greg led an effort in Putnam County to pass Child Safety Zones into law, and his Term Limit Pledge influenced the Westchester and Putnam County Legislatures to pass term-limit legislation. Greg has term limited himself in both houses of the legislature and been consistent in meeting that pledge.

As the first legislator to speak out against the MTA Payroll Tax, Greg brought Putnam and Westchester Counties together with Orange, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties in a class-action lawsuit and also organized a 1,500-person tax revolt rally against the MTA Payroll Tax on the steps of the Historic Putnam County Courthouse in Carmel, NY. Through Greg’s leadership and organization, he succeeded in pushing State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to agree to audit the MTA.

In 2010, without party endorsement or support, Greg announced his candidacy for State Senate. As he had done twice in the past, Greg easily defeated his opponent in a Republican Primary. Additionally, Ball ran an aggressive and historic Opportunity To Ballot campaign that won the Conservative nomination as a write-in candidate with 66% of the vote, which has been said to be the greatest write-in victory in New York State history, at the time. In the 2010 General Election, Ball defeated Michael Kaplowitz and become the next State Senator representing the 40th District.

In his first term as State Senator, Greg continued to pursue a repeal of the MTA Payroll Tax. In June of 2011 Greg worked with his colleagues to pass S5596A, which would fully repeal the “job killing” tax but the bill failed in the Assembly. In December of 2011, and working with his colleagues, the tax was successfully repealed for 80 percent of taxpayers. This was later followed by an exemption of libraries and schools, another effort Greg championed. In June of 2013 Greg again passed S2648, legislation that would repeal the tax for self-employed individuals who earn less than $250,000. Greg is still continuing his fight to fully repeal this job-killing tax.

Greg has also worked hard, reaching across the aisle, to help pass three straight early budgets, for the first time in over a generation. Greg worked to fight for tax cuts for families, leading to the lowest middle class taxes in over 60 years.

Greg has consistently received top ratings by New York State Environmental Advocates for his pro-environment voting record. Most recently in 2012, he was rated among the top of his class, receiving a 73% rating. After touring Pennsylvania’s gaslands, Senator Ball pioneered legislation, including a one-year moratorium on hydrofracking in New York State so that the health and environmental effects of hydrofracking could be researched more thoroughly. Senator Ball has maintained that hyrofracking while a good job generator, must be done safely. Even while maintaining a solid environmental record, Greg has twice been named “Legislator of the Year” by the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association as well as “Legislator of the Year” by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

In 2012, Greg received the support of the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties and won re-election for his seat in November of 2012 defeating Manhattan Lawyer, Justin Wagner.

In early 2013 an anti-Second Amendment push swept the New York State Legislature. Leading the attack on this constitutional right was a regional paper, The Journal News, which published the names and addresses of pistol permit holders on an interactive map. Greg introduced several pieces of legislation to protect those harmed by this action, including law enforcement, business owners and victims of domestic violence. Simultaneously Governor Cuomo was working to pass his anti-Second Amendment legislation, the “NY SAFE Act.” Ball organized a statewide coalition of advocates and concerned citizens to oppose the legislation.

While the “SAFE Act” did eventually pass, Governor Cuomo was forced to include Senator Ball’s legislation to protect the safety and privacy of law-abiding gun owners. The Journal News finally conceded, begrudgingly citing Senator Ball’s legislative efforts, and removed the interactive maps, that Greg called a “shopping list for criminals”.

Greg has created and hosted an annual Women of Distinction Hall of Fame and Veterans’ Hall of Fame Ceremony. The ceremonies are designed to honor local women and veterans throughout the Hudson Valley for their service to our community and country. The ceremonies also include moving ‘Walls of Fame’ that highlight the honorees and travel throughout the 40th Senate District. These initiatives are in addition to his Thanksgiving Dinner that provides a free Thanksgiving Meal for over 800 local veterans each November and an inaugural trip to the National WWII Memorial in Washington D.C. for surviving WWII veterans.

Greg has also organized an annual Animal Advocacy Day for animal supporters to network, share information, and lobby to protect animal and strengthen animal cruelty laws. Greg organized a puppy mill rally and successfully passed ‘Charlemagne’s Law’, in addition to other animal protection bills, legislation to improve the health and quality of life for animals.

Senator Greg Ball created a “Women and Children’s Advisory Council” and used the input to direct successful legislative efforts; including passing a law to protect women of domestic violence by extending the maximum amount of days they can stay at a residential facility. Greg has secured a total of $100,000 for My Sister’s Place and also $100,000 for the Northern Westchester and Putnam Women’s Resource Center – both provide shelter and support services for domestic violence victims. He has also passed Hannah’s Law, S2287A, through both the New York State Senate and Assembly; legislation named after Yorktown resident, Hannah Devane. Hannah is an eight year old girl who suffers from eosinophilic esophagitis, a potentially fatal condition that makes it impossible for her to eat most foods. Senator Ball also successfully advocated to fully restore cuts in funding to the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). Ball strongly opposed the proposal in the Governor’s budget for $240 million in across-the-board funding cuts to OPWDD.

Senator Greg Ball created a “Faith Based Advisory Council” and used their help to fight to secure key religious protections during the same sex marriage vote. His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York thanked Greg for his work in securing religious protections and protecting the sanctity of marriage. Greg also successfully fought to stop a recommendation by the Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents that could have led to the demise of private and parochial schools. The recommendation would have reduced the busing mileage limits for these schools from 15 miles to 5 miles.

Greg has fought tirelessly to deliver millions of dollars of grants for projects all across his district. Greg was able to deliver $75 million in funding to support local highway, road, and bridge repair projects in his district, including the phased expansion of Route 22 in Putnam County. Most recently he has delivered $4 million in economic development grants for key projects including $475,000 for three Peekskill downtown and waterfront revitalization projects, $1 Million for the Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco towards the construction of six new, state-of the-art regulatory complaint operating rooms, surgical support space and a new 13 universal bed Post Anesthesia Care unit, $500,000 for wastewater infrastructure improvements for the Town of Pawling and Village of Pawling, and much more.

During the 2013 legislative session, Greg successfully passed his Veterans’ Cemetery Bill, which will create a program to establish the first ever New York State Veterans’ Cemetery. Senator Ball successfully advocated for a Hire-a-Vet credit that was included in the 2013- 2014 State Budget to provide a tax credit to any business that hires a veteran returning home from military service full-time for one year. Finally, working with his colleagues, Greg successfully secured funding for the continuation and expansion of the PFC Joseph Dwyer PTSD Peer-to-Peer Veterans Counseling Program to Westchester and Putnam Counties.

Greg has received numerous awards and recognitions from local and national groups for his achievements and dedications, including being named the Devereux School as “Person of the Year” for his leadership in introducing a landmark Autism Spectrum insurance reform bill, which ultimately led to similarly historic legislation passing both houses of the Legislature in 2010. Greg was also named the John C. Hand Person of the Year Award, the National Shooting Sports Foundation Legislator of the Year Award, and the New York State Farm Bureau Circle of Friends Award. Greg has been appointed to the Minority Task Force on Autism, the Minority Sex Offender Watch Task Force, and the American-Swiss Foundation Young Leaders Conference. The Associated Licensed Detectives of New York State (ALDONYS) also honored Greg as their “Person of the Year” in 2013.

Greg’s standing committee assignments included Chairing the Veterans, Homeland Security, and Military Affairs Committee, serving on Cities, Elections, Health, Labor, Local Government, Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, and the Social Services Committees.