David J. Valesky's Blog entries

Judy O'Rourke Inducted as Woman of Distinction

I had the honor this week of inducting Judy O’Rourke, director of undergraduate studies at Syracuse University, as the 53rd Senate District’s 2014 Woman of Distinction. Judy was recognized for her work in developing the Pan Am 103 Remembrance and Lockerbie Scholars programs at SU, which honor the memory of the 35 students lost in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. As part of those programs, she mentors students who return to Scotland to become leaders and advocates for preventing terrorism. More information about Judy’s accomplishments is available on my website.

May 22, 2014
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Elderly Abuse Report, Diplomas for Veterans, State Fair Competition Registration, Earth Day Poster Contest Winner

This week, I released a report that exposes the high level of elderly abuse and shows financial abuse amongst New York's seniors to be more prevalent than initially thought. The number of incidents involving elder abuse correlate with statistics that show a significant increase in New York's senior population. Unfortunately, these incidents often times go unreported due to the startling fact that the abuser is someone that the victim either trusts, is a caregiver, or more often than not, is a family relative.

May 22, 2014
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Senate Passes Legislation to Protect Children and Strengthen Meth Penalties

The Senate passed two important pieces of legislation this week, both of which I co-sponsored, aimed at protecting children from sexual abuse and at strengthening the penalties for manufacturing methamphetamine. “Erin Merryn’s Law” (S.2367) would require schools to add child sex abuse prevention to existing curriculum for child abduction. In addition to prevention, this change would give critically important information to victims–many of whom do not know there is a way out of their horrific situation.

May 2, 2014
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Newsmakers Interview, Road Construction, Fire Dept. Open House

If you didn't get a chance to watch my interview with Dan Cummings on Newsmakers this weekend, you can see it online. We talked about the Independent Democratic Conference, the state budget process, and more.

Avoid Road Construction

April 11, 2014
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Highlights from the Fourth Consecutive On-Time Budget

This week marked the passage of the state’s fourth consecutive on-time budget. This has not been accomplished with the same Governor and legislative leaders in more than 40 years. This budget holds spending growth below 2% and addresses your priorities—among them increased school aid, property tax relief, health care, and growing the economy.

Highlights of the budget include:

April 11, 2014
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Grow: Pride of NY, Fishing Licenses from Home, Calculate College Costs

Although much of the focus in Albany this week is on the state budget, legislation is also being considered and brought to the Senate floor. Today the Senate unanimously passed legislation I sponsored (S.5064) that will help consumers find garden centers, nurseries, Christmas tree farms and other horticulture dealers that sell New York state products. The Grow: Pride of New York program creates a designation for such businesses and allows them to use marketing materials that promote their locally sourced products.

In addition, I supported several bills that passed the Senate this week:

April 11, 2014
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Your Feedback Is Needed

As we proceed through budget negotiations and the Legislative Session, I am interested to know your opinion on a number of issues that are being discussed. I recently mailed a survey to my constituents asking about full-day pre-kindergarten, medical marijuana, the estate tax, campaign finance reform, and more. If you have already returned the survey, I appreciate your feedback. If not, please mail it back at your earliest convenience, or fill out the survey on my website. Thank you.

Women's History Month Exhibit

April 11, 2014
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Career and Technical Education Diploma Offers New Career Path

This week I was joined by my colleagues in promoting legislation I sponsor (S.5966) that creates a new Career and Technical Education (CTE) diploma, a specialized path that incorporates career-focus

March 7, 2014
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Senate Aging Committee Chairmanship, Pothole Hotline, Text Reminders from DMV

I am pleased to be resuming the Chairmanship of the Senate Aging Committee, a post I previously held from 2011-12. This position allows me to take the lead on policy issues that are important to seniors and their families, and as Baby Boomers enter retirement age, aging issues are among the state’s most important.

February 28, 2014
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FFA Visitors, CNY Boat Show, Free Outdoor Adventure License Plates, Tree and Shrub Sale

Several Future Farmers of America groups stopped by my Albany office this week to discuss the importance of this program and how it benefits the students who participate. I was pleased to spend time with young people from my district who are thinking about going into agriculture as a profession. 

February 14, 2014
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Free Home Energy Audits, Buy Madison, and New I81 Outreach Center Open

Another flu death was reported in Central New York this morning for a total of seven. If you have not yet gotten a flu shot, I urge you to do so soon, particularly if you have a chronic health condition. To find the nearest location where you can get a flu shot, visit HealthMap Vaccine Finder.

Assistance with Heating Bills

February 10, 2014
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Flood Damage Relief, Help with Heat Bills, and F.O.C.U.S. Survey

Last summer’s floods taught us what we did well and what needed improvement. This week, the Senate passed a package of four bills, which I was pleased to sponsor with Senators Griffo and Seward, that will provide assistance to those who were affected by last summer’s floods, ensure expeditious relief in case of another event, and study best practices to put together a plan to mitigate damage in the future. The bills are in response to multiple floods and storm events throughout last summer that caused an estimated $80 million in damage between June 26 and July 3 in the Mohawk Valley alone. All now await Assembly action. Details about the bills are available on my website.

January 31, 2014
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Executive Budget Proposal, Government Modernization

Governor Cuomo released his Executive Budget proposal this week, and as he made clear, the difficult choices that we have had to make in recent years have erased a sizeable structural deficit and we are in a much better fiscal position. I share the Governor’s broad priorities to address the property tax burden, increase education funding, and create a more business friendly environment. I am especially pleased with the Governor’s focus on breaking the cycle of economic decline in Upstate New York.

January 24, 2014
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Recycle Your Old Electronics; State of the State

Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address this week gives us a roadmap to continue the forward progress we have made together in the past three years. I was especially pleased with his focus on breaking the cycle of economic decline in Upstate New York, decreasing the property tax burden, and investing in our public education system. I look forward to seeing details of his proposals in the Executive Budget in the coming weeks, and working with my colleagues in the Legislature to enact a responsible, forward-looking agenda that improves our state, our region, and our economy.

January 10, 2014
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Affordable NY, STAR Registration, Next Electronics Recycling Event

Last week, I and the other members of the Independent Democratic Conference introduced the Affordable NY plan, a commitment to help working families address challenges in paying for child care, affording college, and living on a fixed income after retirement. These are critically important issues that I hear about from constituents every day.  The proposals include:

December 18, 2013
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Coat and Blanket Drive to Benefit Refugees

This week, I attended two events that spotlight community development efforts in the city of Syracuse. WCNY officially opened its new headquarters on Syracuse's Near Westside, and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was in town

November 1, 2013
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Farm Cideries Soon to be Open for Business

On October 16, I hosted a Senior Information Fair at the Kallet Civic Center in Oneida. More than 150 senior citizens attended this free event and spoke with experts from local businesses, nonprofits and government agencies. People were able to ask their questions and get answers about the STAR program, EPIC, New York’s new health insurance exchange, energy savings, housing, health care, fitness, medical supplies, and more.

October 18, 2013
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Updates on Senior Fair, Health Exchange, OPWDD Funding, Recent Interviews

I am hosting a Senior Information Fair on Wednesday, October 16, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Kallet Civic Center in Oneida. Experts from local businesses, nonprofits and government agencies will provide important information on health care, STAR registration, housing, avoiding scams, local services, and more. All senior citizens in my district are invited to attend this free event.

October 4, 2013
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CNY’s Role in Black History is a Source of Pride

Each February, we celebrate Black History Month and recognize the contributions that black men and women have made to the United States.

February 12, 2010
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Year in Review: Landmark Legislation Passed in 2009

The past year has been a tumultuous one for New York State. The national fiscal crisis yielded a very difficult budget and deficit reduction actions, and an ill-fated coup mired the Senate in gridlock that marked one of the lowest points in the chamber’s history. Despite these challenges, the 2009-2010 legislative session was extremely productive with the passage of several pieces of landmark legislation, several of which I was pleased to author, that will improve the lives of Upstate New Yorkers.

December 18, 2009
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