David J. Valesky's News items

Year In Review

With the Holidays upon us, another year is quickly drawing to a close. For me, it is a time when I like to reflect on the past year’s accomplishments and consider lessons to be learned. When it comes to the Legislature, it has been a difficult year to summarize, for it was a year full of both promising accomplishments and disappointing distractions. The year began with great hope, as the new Governor and the Legislature tackled challenges that had gone unresolved for years, if not decades.

December 14, 2007

Are Gift Cards On Your Holiday List?

With the holiday shopping season upon us, we will all be tempted to purchase gift cards for family and friends. These cards can be a practical way to get something for that special person. And, it seems that everywhere you look, from the checkout aisle to newspaper ads, the virtue of these cards is being promoted by top retailers. Because of their ease and promotion, gift cards have become increasingly popular, with the number issued up more then 34 percent over the last two shopping seasons.

November 30, 2007

Senator Valesky Pushes Legislation To Rein In Thruway Authority And Hold Off Toll Increase

State Sen. David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) expressed frustration with the New York State Thruway Authority’s plan to increase tolls and renewed his calls for legislation that would require Senate and Assembly approval of any future toll increases. "Decisions affecting so many travelers and commuters, and potentially impacting the Upstate economy, should not be made without legislative input and public oversight," said Sen. Valesky.

November 20, 2007

Education, Energy And Economic Development

The political season is finally behind us, and now it is time to focus on the coming holidays as we prepare for the end of this year and the beginning of the next. While most of us are happy to view the landscape without lawn signs, there is at least one important subject matter talked about a great deal this campaign season that I hope we can continue to focus on in the coming year. It is a subject that I and others have promoted for some time, and that I believe holds great promise for our region.

November 9, 2007

Upstate Products In Downstate Markets

Corn, two ears for one dollar or $5.50 a dozen. Peppers, beans, and cabbage, all with premium prices. To top it off, in the little park surrounded by skyscrapers there were hundreds of people mulling about buying bags of these farm fresh products. This was the scene on the first Monday in October at the Union Square Green Market in Manhattan, where four days a week twenty-five to seventy-five farmers from across the state set up shop to sell produce and farm products to the residents of New York City.

October 4, 2007

The "i Live New York" Movement

We all know someone who has moved away to find work, whether they are our friends, our children or our grandkids. Over the past decade, far too many young people have had to leave Central New York after college to find work and start their careers. This symptom of prolonged economic stagnation is also one of the greatest challenges we face as we work to reinvigorate the Upstate Economy. By now, we all know what this exodus is called: the Brain Drain. And we all agree it must be stopped. The question is how.

September 20, 2007

Expanding Health Coverage To Uninsured Children

There are more than 400,000 children in New York state that do not have health insurance. To put that number in perspective, that is equal to the entire population of Onondaga County, including the City of Syracuse and the well populated suburban towns of Cicero, Manlius and Clay. It is an astounding number. These uninsured children live in all regions of the state and come from diverse backgrounds. Many of these children are urban poor. Others are from rural communities, including farming families that have few places to turn for health coverage.

September 19, 2007

Linking What We Grow With What We Eat

When I talk to farmers in Central New York about the prospects of selling more of their products to consumers downstate, many tell me how hard it is to break into those markets. It is true, and there are many reasons for this, not the least of which being the lack of a distribution infrastructure. Yet, when I speak to my Senate colleagues from the New York City area, they tell me their constituents are eager to buy New York grown food and farm products. These consumers want New York products for health and environmental reasons, among others.

September 19, 2007

Campaign Finance Reform

It was said recently that few residents of New York go to bed thinking about the need to fix our campaign finance system. This may be true. I imagine that with property taxes as high as they are and with most families grappling with ever-escalating health costs, few people outside of government reform advocacy groups and editorial boards place campaign finance on their list of top priorities in Albany.

August 6, 2007

Senator Valesky Announces State Funding For Crime Prevention Efforts

New York State Sen. David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) today announced more than $1 million in funding for Onondaga County’s Operation IIMPACT program. The $1,183,189 in funding comes from a pool of funds included in the State Budget for Operation IMPACT programs across the state. The statewide Operation IMPACT program bolsters crime-prevention operations in the 17 counties outside New York City. Total funding for Operation IMPACT in all 17 counties will be $17 million in 2007, up from $14.9 million in 2006.

July 17, 2007

A Good Year For Agriculture In Albany

Despite all the talk of unfinished business in Albany, there is one thing that is certain about the 2007 legislative session: when it comes to issues related to Agriculture, it has been an especially productive year. The most notable accomplishment was the Dairy Assistance Program, which directed $30 million in cash direct to the dairy farmers who were hit hard by unstable milk prices last year. The state reimbursed eligible dairy farmers for milk produced in 2006, up to 4.8 million pounds.

July 17, 2007

Nyri Fight Continues

Update on Anti-NYRI Battle

By Sen. David J. Valesky

The battle against the New York Regional Interconnect power line proposal continues on several fronts.

June 18, 2007

End Of Session Brings Progress On Several Fronts

As the end of session nears, progress is being made daily on a host of issue important to Central New Yorkers.

Just last week I was involved in a leaders’ meeting, which included the Governor, the four legislative leaders and rank-and-file legislators, to discuss an extension of the power for jobs program.

The program, which helps deliver low cost power to manufacturers across our region, was scheduled to expire on June 30th of this year. I heard from many upstate manufacturers about the need to continue the program, and spoke about that at the leaders meeting.

June 13, 2007

Sen Valesky: Join Cancer Fight With Relay For Life

There are very few among us that have not felt the terrible effects of cancer. That is why I and others make sure each year we participate in the local Relay for Life event, which is being held again this year at Oneida High School on June 9th and 10th.

Now there is something more we can do to help fight back against this terrible disease. The American Cancer Society’s Department of Epidemiology & Surveillance Research is looking to recruit 500,000 adults across the US and Puerto Rico for a Cancer Prevention Study 3 (CPS-3).

June 5, 2007

Changes With Epic And Medicare Part D

The introduction of the Medicare Part D program left many seniors concerned about how this new benefit would affect their coverage under EPIC, New York's Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage Program. When the plan was unveiled, I informed seniors that they did not have to choose between EPIC and Medicare Part D, but that the two programs work together.

This year, as part of the healthcare reform enacted in the budget, all EPIC enrollees will be required to enroll in Medicare Part D. The change affects about 25,000 seniors in Central New York.

May 30, 2007

Mandate Relief Proposed

When I speak to local government leaders across Central New York, the one common complaint I consistently hear is with the burden of unfunded and unnecessary state mandates. These mandates passed down by the state impose added costs for counties, cities, towns, villages and school districts alike, and undermine the ability of local leaders to deal with more pressing local problems.

May 6, 2007

Senator Valesky Urges Breast Cancer Screening

In honor of Mother’s Day, Sen. David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) has joined with the Adelphi New York Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline and Support Program in their "Peace of Mind" Campaign. This campaign is urging all women to get mammograms, because the best weapon we have against this deadly disease is early detection.

For more information and to locate an accredited mammography facility nearby, call the Adelphi Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline at 800-877-8077 or visit their website at www.adelphi.edu/nysbreastcancer.

May 6, 2007

Dairy Aid Available

With milk prices below production costs, and other expenses, like energy, on the rise, the past year was an especially tough one for New York’s dairy farmers.

April 24, 2007

Statement On Reform Day From Sen. Valesky

Reform Day 2007 gives us a chance both to celebrate all that we have accomplished in recent months and to push forward ambitiously with the ongoing effort to make our state government more open, accessible and accountable. In the first four months of this year we adopted reforms in ethics and lobbying law, improved the school funding formula and passed solutions to a host of issues that had gone unresolved for too long, including workers' compensation and civil confinement.

Still, there is much more to be done when it comes to the reform agenda.

April 22, 2007
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