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.
State Senator Patty Ritchie met recently with representatives from libraries and library networks in Central and Northern New York. At the meeting, the group thanked the Senator for her support and discussed State Budget funding for libraries.
Last year, Senator Ritchie—who is a member of the Senate Select Committee on Libraries— was able to deliver $161,000 in special funding to 49 area libraries and 2 library networks in the region she represents. The funding was in addition to a $4 million increase in state budget aid for libraries across New York State.
The program honors women’s history in the Empire State by recognizing outstanding leaders and everyday citizens from the present who are making a difference.
“Each and every day, women in our region are doing amazing things and throughout the years I’ve had the opportunity to recognize dozens of them through the New York State Senate’s ‘Women of Distinction’ program,” said Senator Ritchie. “I’m truly excited to once again honor the women of our region who are making a difference.”
Women living in the 48th Senate District, including Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties are eligible for nomination. All nominees will be invited to a local recognition ceremony to be held on May 1st. One individual from each State Senate district will be selected to travel to the Capitol to be honored at a special reception on May 13th.
Senator Patty Ritchie unveiled a comprehensive legislative proposal to strengthen family farming in New York and encourage more young people to pursue careers in agriculture.Speakers at the State Capitol press conference included young farmers Orion and Jessica Behling, of Mexico (Oswego County), NY, who are partners in their family's apple orchard, cidery and you-pick business.Read more about Senator Ritchie's plan by clicking here.
“Young Farmers NY” Encourages New Generation of Farmers, Strengthens NY’s Leading IndustrySenator Patty Ritchie, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today unveiled her “Young Farmers NY” plan to address issues related to the advancing average age of New York farmers and to preserve the future of family farming. The initiative will support and encourage a new generation of farmers and help strengthen the state’s leading industry for decades to come.CLICK HERE TO SEE DETAILS OF THE PLANWATCH VIDEO OF THE STATE CAPITOL PRESS CONFERENCE“Young Farmers NY,” which was announced today at a Capitol news conference, is a series of proposals to smooth the transfer of farmland to the next generation, preserve existing farmland, and help young farmers overcome obstacles to give them a grea
It’s frustrating to know that someone would abuse a program designed to help children and families in need and let people get back on their feet. That’s why reports that some people are using their taxpayer-paid welfare benefits to pay for tobacco, alcohol—even trips to nightclubs—really touch a nerve.
In an effort to recognize local artistic talent in Central and Northern New York, State Senator Patty Ritchie, along with the North Country Arts Council hosted a celebration of the arts Thursday evening in Watertown.
At the event those who have participated in the “Senator Ritchie Celebrates Local Artists” program were recognized. Through the effort, two dozen artists have had their work featured in Senator Ritchie’s Albany, Ogdensburg, Oswego and Watertown offices. The work of past featured artists can be viewed at Downtown Watertown’s Franklin Building or by clicking here.
In addition, at the event, high school students from the Central and Northern New York region were inducted into Senator Ritchie’s local artists program, and in the weeks to come, will have their artwork featured in her offices. Several high school students were also invited to perform in the areas of song and dance.
State Senator Patty Ritchie met with North Country lawmakers Wednesday in Albany to discuss her plan to return unused land at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center back to the community to be used for economic development and job creation.
From the Senate, attendees included Senator Betty Little and a representative for Senator Joe Griffo. From the Assembly, attending the meeting were Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush, Assemblyman Marc Butler, Assemblywoman Addie Russell and a representative for Assemblywoman Janet Duprey.
Local, State Leaders Getting on Board to Return Unused Parcels to Help Create Jobs
State Senator Patty Ritchie announced growing support for her proposal to return 160 acres of unused land at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center back to the community to be used for economic development and to create jobs.
The Senator’s bill, S.6661, was formally introduced in the Legislature today. All three Senators representing St. Lawrence County, including Senator Ritchie, Senator Joe Griffo and Senator Betty Little have signed on as cosponsors.
On Monday night, Senator Ritchie’s plan, which was developed collaboratively with Ogdensburg Mayor Bill Nelson, as well as Ogdensburg’s City manager and City Planner, was officially endorsed by a unanimous City Council.
Members of the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators also unanimously voiced their support during a meeting of that body’s Finance Committee Monday.