The Hall of Fame pays tribute to New Yorkers who have served their country in the US Armed Forces and made significant contributions to their communities.
“Throughout the past several years I have had the opportunity to recognize so many men and women who have made tremendous sacrifices in their lives by serving in our Armed Forces,” said Senator Ritchie.
State Senator Patty Ritchie met recently with Assemblyman Will Barclay and Assemblyman Bob Oaks at the Capitol. The three work closely on issues that impact Oswego County and at the meeting, discussed topics such as job creation, cutting taxes, and creating new opportunities in the region.
Plan Would Put Local Wineries and Vineyards on the Map, Boost Local Business, Create Jobs
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced the recently approved Senate budget proposal includes a measure to establish a St. Lawrence County Wine Trail; a plan that would help put local vineyards and winemakers on the map, attract more tourists to the area and boost local business, create jobs in the region.
“The North Country has a perfect opportunity to capitalize on the fast-growing wine and grape industries by creating a St. Lawrence Wine Trail that links our area’s vineyards and winemakers,” said Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Senator Patty Ritchie.
“The inclusion of the St. Lawrence Wine Trail in the Senate’s spending plan represents a major step for this legislation. I’m looking forward to working to make sure the proposal—which would create new business, employment and tourism opportunities—is included in the final enacted budget.”
Protects EPIC Program That Nearly 10,000 Central and Northern New Yorkers Depend On
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced that the Senate’s budget proposal includes an expansion to a program designed to provide relief to low-income seniors struggling with cost of life-saving prescription drugs.
Included in the spending plan is $2 million to increase the income limits for the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage program, commonly known as EPIC. Income limits for EPIC—which helps seniors supplement their out-of-pocket Medicare Part D drug plan costs—have not been changed since 2001.
“For seniors, skyrocketing prescription drug costs are a major concern, as many individuals find it hard to afford the medications they need to stay healthy” said Senator Ritchie.
For the third consecutive year, State Senator Patty Ritchie honored our troops and their contributions to our region with 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum Day, a special event held at the State Capitol.
“The troops who were able to attend today’s event remind my colleagues and I of the many hundreds of thousands of men and women who volunteer to serve and defend our nation as members of our Armed Forces,” said Senator Ritchie. “Not only that, but they also impress upon us the importance of Fort Drum, not just to our nation’s defense, but also to the Central and Northern New York regions I represent.”
“I’m extremely proud to once again host 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum Day. I would like to thank those made the trip to Albany including representatives of the many community organizations that support Fort Drum as well as our troops, not only for taking part in the event, but more importantly for the sacrifices they make every day.”
As part of the event, Fort Drum’s Color Guard opened up the day’s Senate Session which also featured an address by Brigadier General Michael Howard, who spoke on behalf of Major General Stephen Townsend, who is currently serving in Afghanistan. In his address, General Howard spoke about the unique relationship between Fort Drum and the North Country, citing the economic boost and employment opportunities the post provides as well as the community resources—namely hospitals and schools—that troops and their families utilize.
Senator Patty Ritchie is backing a plan to boost aid to local libraries. The State Senate’s budget plan, approved Friday, includes $8 million in increased aid for libraries. If enacted in the final budget, it will be the fourth year in a row that library aid was increased.
“Our Central and Northern New York public libraries serve an important role, not only as centers of learning and entertainment, but also as vital community centers,” said Senator Ritchie, who serves as a member of the Senate’s Select Committee on Libraries.
The Senate’s budget restores a proposed $4 million cut to libraries, and adds an additional $4 million. The Assembly plan would cut aid to libraries by $2 million.
Panel Will Develop Recommendations to Prevent and Treat Addiction and Its Related Crimes
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has been named to the Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, a group organized to examine the rise in use of heroin and other opioids in New York State and develop recommendations for treating and preventing addiction.
“Heroin is an extremely addictive drug that has the power to ruin lives and destroy families. In Central and Northern New York, we’ve seen an alarming increase in its usage and according to officials, in some areas, the price of the drug has been cut in half,” said Senator Ritchie, who is a member of the Senate’s Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee.
“I’m pleased to be a part of this task force and am looking forward to working with my colleagues in an effort to develop initiatives and measures that will help put a stop to the use of these deadly drugs.”
For the third consecutive year, State Senator Patty Ritchie will host 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum Day at the State Capitol on Tuesday.
The day-long event will celebrate the commanders and soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division for their ongoing role in our nation’s defense, as well as the post itself for the key role it plays in the region’s economy.
“Each and every day, the brave soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division make tremendous sacrifices to defend our freedom and I’m thrilled to once again have the opportunity to recognize the post and its troops,” said Senator Ritchie.
What started as a small-town school event in California held over the course of a week in 1978, Women’s History Month has grown tremendously. Today, throughout the entire month of March, the world’s focus turns to women and the significant contributions they have made to our history, culture and society. In recognition of Women’s History Month, the New York State Senate has developed its “Women of Distinction” program which celebrates females from the Empire State.
This year, three women have been added to the Senate’s Historic Women of Distinction exhibit, including an individual with ties to Central New York. Mother Marianne Cope, O.S.F. was a German-born American and a member of the Sisters of Saint Francis in Syracuse, New York. Known for her charitable works and compassion, she spent much of her life caring for lepers in the Hawaiian Islands. Despite her close contact with those who had the disease, Cope was never afflicted by it—considered by many to be a miracle in itself. In 2005, Cope was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI and in 2012, she was declared a saint. Mother Marianne Cope now joins the ranks of other remarkable women who are being celebrated through the Women of Distinction program, including Ella Fitzgerald, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, Estee Lauder, Harriett Tubman and many others.
Plan Also Boosts College Aid to Help Families Struggling with Tuition Costs
New York’s schools would receive $812 million more in state aid, and the aid-cutting “Gap Elimination Adjustment” (GEA) would be eliminated over two years, under the Senate’s new budget plan that also boosts aid for middle class families struggling to pay college tuition costs.
The bipartisan Senate plan (R.4036) includes $541 million in “GEA restoration”—$200 million more than proposed by the Governor, and five times the increase recommended by the Assembly.
Eliminating the aid-cutting GEA was listed as a top priority of school officials in this year’s budget.
“The GEA was a budget gimmick imposed before I joined the Senate, and one that disproportionately punishes rural schools,” Senator Ritchie said. “Eliminating the GEA and getting a fair share for our schools and taxpayers has been a priority for school officials, as it has been for me, and this plan drives more funding to the classroom, and gets us closer to our goals.”
Ritchie ‘Young Farmer’ Plan, Record Ag Funding Wins Bipartisan Support Senator Ritchie’s “Young Farmers NY” plan to secure the future of family farming and encourage more young people to pursue careers in agriculture won bipartisan approval today as part of the Senate’s state budget plan that also included nearly $9 million in new investments in programs to help farmers grow. That amount is the largest increase in support for agricultural research, marketing and education programs in at least six years. Senator Ritchie’s Young Farmers NY plan was modeled on successful programs in other states that are bringing young people back to agriculture.
Bipartisan Support for Shift of Unused Land to Local Control
A plan by Senator Patty Ritchie to create economic growth and new jobs by shifting control of unused land and buildings on the St. Lawrence Psych Center campus from the state to the local community was approved by the Senate Friday.
Senator Ritchie’s proposal to transfer 160 acres of unused campus property—including river frontage—to the City of Ogdensburg was included in the Senate’s version of the new state budget (R.4036), which passed with bipartisan support.
“My plan would create new opportunity for Ogdensburg and the entire North Country for jobs and economic growth, by transforming unused land and buildings for development, housing, industry and recreation,” Senator Ritchie said.
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced that for the first time, her proposal to allow for the registration of increasingly popular Utility Task Vehicles—commonly known as UTVs—has been included in the Senate’s budget proposal.
The measure, which has passed the Senate three times, would authorize the state Department of Motor Vehicles to allow the registration of larger recreational vehicles and in turn, would allow New York State to recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost non-tax revenue, boost tourism and revitalize the economy.
State Senator Patty Ritchie met with SUNY Potsdam Interim President Dr. Dennis Hefner as well as students and staff from the college recently in Albany.
A member of the Senate’s Higher Education Committee and a SUNY Potsdam graduate herself, Senator Ritchie has been a strong advocate for the state’s public education system, including the four colleges located in the district she represents.
Votes NO on Nominees; Backs Reforms in Wake of Flawed ‘Common Core’ Rollout
State Senator Patty Ritchie today voted to oust members of the Board of Regents, citing the flawed rollout of the state’s new Common Core educational standards, and announced support for legislation to increase accountability of the education policy-setting board to students, parents and taxpayers. Senator Ritchie voted to reject the reappointments of three current Regents, James Cottrell of Brooklyn, Wade Norwood of Rochester, and Christine Cea of Staten Island. A fourth Regent, James Jackson of Albany, who served on the board since 2011, abruptly withdrew his name from consideration. “The flawed roll-out of Common Core has created anxiety for students, parents and teachers from every corner of New York, and a resulting outpouring of protest from all across Central and Northern New York,” Senator Ritchie said. “Every single parent, student and educator who has contacted me about Common Core has demanded change from the Board of Regents, and with my vote today I am joining my voice with theirs in calling for increased accountability and reform.”
Senator Ritchie’s Weekly Column From the food we eat to the products we use, not a day goes by that we don’t have a farmer to thank for helping to provide life’s necessities. But, what if there weren’t any farmers? As recent research suggests, that’s a question we should be considering. Farming is our state’s most important industry, it’s also a way of life handed down from generation to generation. But as the recent USDA Census of Agriculture depicted, the average New York farmer is changing. According to the report, the average age of New York farmers is 57.1 years, with two farmers aged 65 and older for each one under 35. In addition, the survey also pointed to the fact that roughly 50,000 acres of farmland were lost in New York in each of the past five years.
State Senator Patty Ritchie recently attended the New York Farm Bureau’s “Taste of New York Reception and Issues Forum.”
The event—which was held at the Capitol—featured locally produced food and drink.
As Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Ritchie has been working to support farmers and recently, unveiled her “Young Farmers NY” plan to encourage more young people to pursue careers agriculture.