Letter From Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz, Chairman of the NYS Aging Committee

 

Senator Ruben Diaz -  32nd Senate District
Chairman,  Senate Aging Committee

January 13, 2008

Dear Senate Colleagues:
I am honored and humbled to have been selected by our Majority Leader, Senator Malcolm Smith to Chair the New York State Senate Committee on Aging.  A society is a reflection of how it treats its seniors. I know that you are committed to ending their relegation to a twilight of quiet despair .  I am asking that you consider joining our committee.

MISSION STATEMENT:
We seek to improve the lives of each and every senior in this state.  To accomplish this, our Committee will undertake hearings, investigations and oversight regarding any subject which substantially affects the lives and well being of seniors.  If it is needed we will draft and submit legislation.  We will consider the needs of seniors in regards to transportation, housing, recreation, nutrition and even their ability to procure prescription medications.

SPECIFICS:  What is needed NOW
Newly issued regulations concerning assisted living need to be reviewed. Immediately (Oversight) The Committee will hold hearings forth with concerning the effectiveness of Community Based Organizations in reducing costs as well as the budget cuts proposed by the New York State Office for the Aging. I intend to submit legislation shortly which will do for this State what the City of Schenectady has done in purchasing bulk prescription drugs from Canada. No senior in our State should have to decide if they eat or get their medication, nor should they be forced to move to Schenectady in order to do so.

HOW THE COMMITTEE WILL OPERATE
I plan to schedule Committee Meetings at least twice a month or more if needed.  As soon as the transition period ends, the leader assigns us committee offices and a stenographer is available, we plan to meet the first and third Monday of every month at 10:00 am., promptly.  Roll call will be taken at the start, and I hope that all members can stay for the entire proceeding.  WHY?  Simple.  The meetings will be collecting data and hearing testimony.  From this we shall propose legislation.  Unless we have the full participation of all Senators, we will be subject to legal challenges as to what our legislative intent was. 

We will follow the new mandates of our leader, and provide for all recorded votes with the maximum feasible participation of all members-including co sponsors of bills.  I intend to have regional hearings and I welcome any members request to bring public hearings to their district.  I cannot do this alone.

We all have a great challenge ahead of us.  Together we can do what is truly needed.  I hope that you make the decision to join the Committee on Aging.   Thank you.

Respectfully,

Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz     
cc:     Mr. Angelo Aponte, Secretary of the Senate
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