Senator Padavan is the legislature's leading opponent of casino gambling and the state lottery. He led the opposition to the recent expansion of state sanctioned gambling, and is the author of several reports on the negative consequences of state sanctioned gambling, including his most recent, "Quick Draw: It's Time to Pull the Plug". The Senator is also an advocate for tough laws to fight crime; a pioneer in welfare and Medicaid system cost containment and a principal architect of New York City legislation.
As former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Cities, Senator Padavan has played a key role in the most significant New York City education advances in decades including: the major capital improvement plan, reforms of school governance that enacted laws to give the Mayor increased control and accountability; earlier legislation to establish standards for principal tenure, and an overhaul of the previously scandal-ridden custodial services. An architect of New York City's "Safe Streets/ Safe City" program, Senator Padavan helped keep total New York City police strength at record levels, contributing to the dramatic decline in reported crime.
His leadership in urban job creation and retention produced the New York City Industrial-Commercial Job Incentive Board as well as the law creating Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) throughout New York State.
Landmark laws authored by Senator Padavan include New York's Criminal Asset Forfeiture Law, the first in the nation that enables prosecutors to seize the ill-gotten gains of drug dealers and use these assets to treat drug abusers and other crime victims; and New York's Community Residence Site Selection ("Padavan") Law. Other Padavan anti-crime laws enable New York City and other localities to impose harsher penalties when weapons are used in the commission of crimes; more effectively fight graffiti vandalism and more successfully combat car theft by cracking down on operators of "chop shops".
In 2006, Padavan was tapped as the Chairman of the newly created Senate Majority Task Force on Port Security. Through the task force, Padavan and his colleagues crafted legislation to strengthen the investigative powers of the Waterfront Commission and to expand the Commission’s ability to revoke or deny the licenses of port employees with organized-crime or terrorist ties. The bills were passed with unanimous support in both houses of the legislature and signed into law by the governor. The task force also led to Senator Padavan’s most recent report, "At the Water’s Edge - Port Security in the Age of Terrorism" a comprehensive report on the security of port’s in today’s world. Senator Padavan's 1992 report, "Working for Welfare -- Is Anybody Doing It?" first brought to light the systematic neglect of New York State's "Workfare" law by the New York City Human Resources Administration.
Senator Padavan is also author of the report, "Our Teeming Shore," a legislative report in which the annual cost of federal immigration policy to New York City and State was calculated at $5.6 billion. He was subsequently appointed Chairman of the Senate Majority Task Force on Immigration established to seek federal reimbursement for State and local government expenditures on services for immigrants. Noting his work focusing attention on federal obligations, The New York Post described Senator Padavan as "an enlightened voice on the issue of immigration."
Prior to his appointment as Vice President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and his previous appointment as Cities Committee Chairman, Senator Padavan served for 10 years as Chairman of the Mental Hygiene and Addiction Control Committee (1977-1987).
Examples of Senator Padavan's achievements in this field include: sponsoring the Community Residence Site Selection ("Padavan") Law that, for the first time, required sponsors to notify the public when a group home has been proposed in the neighborhood and permit localities to offer alternate locations; creating the State Commission on Quality of Care for the Mentally Disabled; opening basic group health insurance coverage for alcoholics and their families; making mental health coverage possible for New Yorkers in group health plans; and, making 21 the State's minimum legal drinking age.
Senator Padavan's commitment to Mental Health advocacy remains strong. During the 2001-2002 legislative session, he led the fight in Albany to prevent the consolidation of adult and children psychiatric centers in his district and throughout New York State. As a result of his efforts, the Legislature did not adopt this policy as part of the last two state budgets, and this dangerous proposal was defeated. The Senator will continue to oppose misguided efforts to consolidate facilities.
Senator Padavan recently worked to transfer state owned land in Glen Oaks, Queens, to the New York City School Construction Authority. As a result, construction on three new schools with classroom capacity for nearly three thousand students was completed in the Fall of 2003.
A New York Times profile describing Senator Padavan as Albany's most independent legislator said "it is difficult to classify his politics. This same independence led to his appointment as Co-Chair of the Senate Majority Task Force for Government Reform. A champion of tough criminal penalties, he also endorses a ban on assault weapons. A self-proclaimed fiscal conservative, he has supported increased spending on mental health and preschool programs."
Additional accomplishments for the Queens community include securing financing through the State's Secured Hospital Revenue Bond Program so that Flushing Hospital Medical Center and Jamaica Hospital and Medical Center could modernize and expand; providing the Lifeline Center for Child Development with a permanent home; securing the financial support that has enabled the Bayside Historical Society to undertake its restoration of the Fort Totten Officers Club; creating the Colonial Farmhouse Restoration Society to operate the former Adriance Farm Site as the Queens Farm Museum and transferring 52 acres of surrounding land to New York City for permanent use as horticultural-agricultural parklands; and providing land for the Cross Island YMCA to expand, for the Hollis-Bellaire-Queens Village-Bellerose Little League to own their ball fields and for Catholic Charities of the Brooklyn-Queens Diocese to develop senior citizen housing in Bellerose.
Senator Padavan has also been a leader in Queens environmental action. Recognizing the need for a citizens panel to serve as environmental watchdog, he established the Northeast Queens Nature and Historic Preserve Commission to protect the Northeast Queens shoreline. His efforts helped create and maintain the Alley Pond Environmental Center and are helping to preserve the endangered Udall's Cove fresh and saltwater wetlands.
Twice honored by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Senator Padavan sponsored the laws that stopped medical experimentation with animals requisitioned from shelters and brought a halt to shelter deaths by decompression.
In Queens, Senator Padavan's 1976 law prohibits the hunting of migrating shorebirds in Little Neck Bay and its inlets.
Senator Padavan issued the 1988 report, "Muddling Through," sounding a warning to declining water quality standards in the Delaware-Catskill watershed as a result of encroaching development.
When the New York State Department of Transportation threatened to bring the last 1.1 miles of an expanded Long Island Expressway through Alley Pond Park and the front yards of Little Neck homes, Senator Padavan led the fight and ultimately convinced Governor George Pataki to order a change in plans. In the words of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, "Senator Padavan brought public leadership as well as critical political and legal resources to the issue, and was untiring in pointing out that agencies should improve public transit instead of encouraging more car and truck traffic" (May 15, 1998).
New York City and statewide organizations that have honored Senator Padavan include: the New York City Advisory Council on Alcoholism, the New York City Chapter of the Association of Help for Retarded Children, the Alliance for the Mentally Ill of New York State, the Federation of Parents' Organizations for State Mental Institutions and Transitional Services of New York, Inc.. Local organizations that have honored the Senator for community activity include the Pride of Judea Mental Health Center, the Queens Children's Psychiatric Hospital Board of Visitors, the Friends of St. Mary's Hospital for Children, Samuel Field YM-YWHA, Americans of Italian Heritage (Queens Chapter), Sons of Italy Alitalia Lodge 2416, the Queens Historical Society, the 77th Infantry Division Reserve officers Association, the Bayside Historical Society and veterans groups including the American Legion and Jewish War Veterans.
A graduate of Newtown High School and a member of the Queens school's Alumni Hall of Fame, Senator Padavan earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Brooklyn Polytechnic University (1955) and master's degree in business administration from New York University (1963). A recipient of NYU's Distinguished Graduate Award, Senator Padavan became a member of Brooklyn Polytechnic's Board of Fellows in June, 1988 and was awarded the President’s Medal in 2006. Prior to his 1972 election to the Senate, he was employed for 14 years with the Westinghouse Electric Corporation and served four years as Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Department of Buildings.
Attaining the rank of Colonel, Senator Padavan's 30-year career in the Army Corps of Engineers included serving as commanding officer of the 411th Engineer Brigade and chief of staff, 77th ARCOM, headquarters for New York State's Army Reserve. He is a graduate of the US Army Command General and Staff College and completed the Defense Strategy Course. He is a life member of the Alley Pond Environmental Center and a member of the American Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers, Army Reserve Officers Association, American Legion and various civic, fraternal, and community service organizations.