Richard D. Winsten, Co-Chair of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C.’s Government Relations practice, has been a Member of the firm since 1993, having joined as an associate in 1987. With his practice based in the New York State capital of Albany, Mr. Winsten has significant and longstanding relationships with members of the State Legislature, State agencies, and all levels of State government. He has been a registered and active New York State Lobbyist since 1978.
In addition to his lobbying practice, Mr. Winsten is a member of the firm’s working group focused on legislative developments and regulatory, business and legal issues regarding the implementation of New York State’s Medical Marijuana Law. He recently authored the article, “Cannabis Conundrum: Medical Marijuana Law and Employers” in the New York Law Journal and serves as a panelist at events and expos, discussing business issues surrounding medical marijuana. Meyer Suozzi serves as General Counsel to the New York State Medical Cannabis Industry Association.
In 2012, Mr. Winsten was honored by the New York Committee for the Occupational Safety and Health for 35 years of labor activism. He helped establish the country’s only network of state-funded occupational-health clinics and wrote the state law expanding OSHA coverage for public-sector workers. In 2010, Mr. Winsten was one of the recipients of the Advocate of the Decade Award from the Domestic Workers United. He was also a recipient of the Freelancers Union Benefit Practical Revolutionary Award in 2010, which is given to those whose vision, dedication, belief, and action have furthered the created of a new system of protections and benefits for the new workforce, and the 2009 Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center’s Public Service Attorney of the Year award.
Prior to joining Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C., Mr. Winsten was the Director of Legislation and Research for the New York State AFL-CIO. In that capacity, he was the chief lobbyist for the two million member labor federation, responsible for legislative program development, bill drafting, and negotiation. In 1984, he worked toward the successful enactment of the NYS toxic torts statute, and in 1985, he helped create a $4.8 million safety and health training program. Previously, Mr. Winsten was the Director and Counsel of the Albany Legislative Office of District Counsel 37, AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. There, he was a lobbyist on issues affecting New York City public employees. He was also responsible for drafting most legislation and was a vocal advocate and a frequent writer of newsletter articles. During this time, Mr. Winsten drafted New York State Public Employee OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) legislation which became law in June 1980. He also acted as chief negotiator of legislation for the New York State Public Employee Conference.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Winsten held many positions involving lobbying, legislative initiatives, union representation, legal counsel, budget analysis, and political action consulting. He was the Assistant Political Director of District Council 37, the largest public employee union in New York City; Washington Legislative Representative of District Council 37; and Legislative Fiscal Analyst, Legislative Analyst and Budget Analyst to New York State Assembly staff of the Majority Ways and Means Committee.