The Senate passed its one-house budget resolution this week, with my support. This resolution delivers for hardworking middle class families in Central New York and throughout the State while holding the line on spending. It provides additional funding for school districts, invests in upstate transit to prevent Centro service cuts, and provides property tax relief for homeowners. I look forward to working with my colleagues to continue the process with the goal of enacting an on-time, responsible budget.
OCC Students Recognized for Academic Excellence and Service
The Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) has unveiled a comprehensive policy agenda that would include $10 million allocated specifically to Upstate New York for supportive housing development. Supportive housing models include inclusive design for those who may have physical impairments and often offer a variety of services including activities, transportation, an on-site service coordinator, amenities, meals, and support for residents’ health-related services. More information is available on my website.
New York State has launched a couple of new tools that will make finding information about tourism and tourism history easier than ever.
Thousands of NYS attractions and events, including Path through History and Taste NY locations, are now available at the touch of a button thanks to the new, free I LOVE NEW YORK mobile app launched in January to promote New York State tourism.
It was an honor last week to speak during the Senate Legislative Session about resolution J.276, remembering former Governor Mario M. Cuomo. Here’s the link to my comments.
Last Friday, I attended the launch of 2-1-1 CNY, which provides access to community information and referral services in Onondaga County by dialing 211 on a cell phone or by calling toll-free 1-844-445-1922. The 211 system helps residents locate basic resources such as food, shelter, employment, or health services by dialing a simple three-digit number. Visit the 2-1-1 website for more information.
My thanks to everyone who brought items to my electronics recycling event on Saturday. We had a very successful event, with an amazing turnout. The Food Bank of CNY will benefit from a generous donation from Sunnking Recycling based on the total weight of items collected. If you weren’t able to make it to this event, please keep an eye out. We will be doing more in the future.
The Legislative Session is now in full swing, and as Vice Chair of the Senate Health Committee I am participating in budget hearings this week on funding for health-related issues.
The Executive Budget proposal was released last week and, overall, it addresses issues we face every day, including property taxes, jobs, and infrastructure, while keeping spending in check. I am especially encouraged by Governor Cuomo’s continuing commitment to invest in Upstate New York. There is much to consider in this budget proposal, and I look forward to studying the details and discussing it with my constituents and colleagues in the coming weeks, with the goal of enacting an on-time, fiscally responsible budget.
Details about the budget, the Governor’s presentation, and proposed legislation are available online here.
The 2015 Legislative Session has begun, and I am looking forward to returning to Albany and working with my colleagues in the Legislature to enact a responsible, forward-looking agenda that improves our state, our region, and our economy. The Independent Democratic Conference’s bipartisan coalition continues, with a few rule changes. Syracuse.com ran a story about the coalition, and I also appeared on Capital Tonight on January 8 to talk about the IDC’s role in the Senate.
I want to extend my sincere thanks and gratitude to everyone who generously donated items during my recent coat and blanket drive to benefit the Center for New Americans. Through your kindness, we collected more than 50 large bags and boxes of items that will be distributed to local refugee families. Many refugees arrive in the United States with few possessions from climates that do not experience the kind of winters that we are accustomed to. Thanks to the generosity of the community, hundreds of families will be able to face our harsh weather with a basic necessity in Central New York—a winter coat.
The calendar may say winter doesn’t arrive for another month, but the cold and snow are already here. For the past couple of weeks, I have been collecting gently used blankets and washable coats, hats, and gloves at my Syracuse office for refugee toddlers, youth, women, and men. The response to this coat and blanket drive, held in partnership with InterFaith Works/Center for New Americans, has been overwhelmingly generous, and I sincerely thank everyone who has made donations. If you would like to contribute, please drop off your items in the lobby of the State Office Building, 333 E. Washington St., Syracuse, through December 5.
Tuesday is Veterans Day, and I want to extend my sincere appreciation to everyone who has served our country. Advocating for our veterans has always been, and will continue to be, one of my highest priorities. To that end, in the 2014-2015 Enacted Budget I supported $3.1 million for veterans assistance programs, expanded eligibility for the Gold Star Parent Annuity, and a new measure that includes veteran businesses within the Department of Economic Development’s Entrepreneurial Assistance Program.
Tuesday is Election Day, and I encourage everyone to go out and vote. Polls are open from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. In addition to the candidates on the ballot, there are three propositions, which I support, for New Yorkers to vote on:
Proposal One - Revising State's Redistricting Procedure: This proposal would reform the process of establishing new state legislative and congressional district lines that the Constitution requires every 10 years. If the proposal is approved, a redistricting commission will be established to determine lines for legislative and congressional districts.
Please come to my second annual Senior Information Fair next Thursday, Oct. 16, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Kallet Civic Center in Oneida. More than 40 representatives from all levels of government, nonprofit organizations, health care providers, and local businesses will be available to speak with attendees about their concerns, questions, and interests related to aging. Tim Horton’s will also be on hand with refreshments.
My office was able to assist Clark's Ale House in securing its liquor license. I look forward to this Syracuse institution re-opening soon.
Please drop off your old, unused electronics at my e-recycling event tomorrow, Sept. 13, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the DMV parking lot, 5801 E. Taft Rd., North Syracuse. Area residents can drop off electronics at no charge, and there is no limit to the number of items that may be dropped off.
Sunnking Electronics Recycling will be accepting computers (desktops and laptops), printers, scanners, copiers, fax machines, televisions (CRT, LCD, LED, plasma), cell phones, IT and networking equipment, monitors (CRT, LCD, LED), MP3 players, PDAs, tablets, and ink and toner cartridges. Visit Sunnking.com for a full list of acceptable items.
The New York State Fair opens today, with plenty of new attractions, concerts, and events. I attended a preview of the Fair on Wednesday, where I met this year’s Fair mascots, Candy and Pop. They each represent an important New York agricultural product. They’ll be appearing around the Fairgrounds and will pose for pictures. Some of the attractions include:
Senator Valesky is hosting a Health and Civic Engagement Fair at the Southwest Community Center on Friday, August 22, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. This free event is open to all area residents. The nonprofit and government agencies listed below will have tables at the fair and provide important information on health care, free smoke detectors, healthy living, long-term elder care, job hunting, prescription payment assistance, and more, as well as offer giveaways. Flu shots will be available (bring insurance card, cash, or check), along with other health screenings. For more information, call the district office at 478-8745.
On Friday, I joined Mayor Miner and City Parks Commissioner Baye Mohammed to officially open the Baker Playlot. I was glad to help provide state funding for this project to give kids in the neighborhood a safe and fun place to play. After the opening, I headed over to Kirk Park where my staff and I, with enthusiastic help from the neighborhood kids, picked up litter and tidied up the field and play areas.
Save the Date – Health and Civic Engagement Fair on Aug. 22
My deepest condolences to the families of Kimberly Hilliard, Paris Newman, Virginia Warner, and Arnie Allen, who died in the tornado that hit Smithfield on July 8.
As the area recovers from the devastating storms and tornado, Disaster Action Teams from the American Red Cross of Central New York are offering assistance to those whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged.
The New York Insurance Association also has tips for filing insurance claims related to storm and tornado damage: